A British charity says it initially kept Meghan Markle's $13,000 donation a secret in case she damaged its reputation

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A British charity says it initially kept Meghan Markle's $13,000 donation a secret in case she damaged its reputation
Meghan Markle in January 2019.Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
  • When Meghan Markle donated about $13,000 to Himmah, the grassroots organization kept it quiet.
  • However, the charity changed its mind after watching the duchess discuss racism with Oprah Winfrey.
  • The duchess donated to the Nottingham charity - which tackles racism and Islamophobia - in August.

The UK charity Himmah said it initially kept Meghan Markle's $13,000 (£10,000) donation secret over fears that she would damage its reputation.

It was the duchess and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey, which CBS aired earlier in March, that made the organization realize it had to "show solidarity" toward the couple, its director, Sajid Mohammad, told BBC News over the weekend.

Himmah - a grassroots organization that tackles racism, poverty, Islamophobia, and social exclusion in Nottingham - received the duchess' donation of about $13,000 (£10,000) in August through funds from The Royal Foundation, the charity the Sussexes previously shared with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

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The money went toward stocking the food bank and providing funds for Salaam Shalom Kitchen, the only joint Muslim and Jewish community kitchen in the UK, BBC News reported.

"The reason we didn't go public is the trustees took a view that she was like Marmite and there could be reputational issues - people not liking our charity because they don't like her - so we decided to keep the donation secret," Mohammad told BBC News.

He added that "after the interview we realized we're a poverty and race organization" and "that we needed to show solidarity."

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Harry and Markle told Winfrey that their son, Archie, had been the subject of racist conversations in the royal family.

"In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time we have in tandem the conversation of he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born," Markle said.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement after the interview that the allegations were "concerning."

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"While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately," the statement added.

Mohammad told BBC News that he initially thought Markle's donation, made via email, was "an elaborate hoax" - and that he "actually cried" when he realized it was real.

He added that the trustees and volunteers were "completely moved by the very kind and generous and gracious words of the duchess."

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Himmah and representatives for the Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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