British charity said it kept a £10,000 donation from Meghan Markle a secret because they feared her donation could damage the charity’s reputation.
In August last year, Meghan Markle, 39, gifted funds from The Royal Foundation to Nottingham charity Himmah – a community project tackling poverty, racism and social exclusion.
Director Sajid Mohammad told the BBC a decision was made not to speak publicly about the donation because it was feared it could damage Himmah’s reputation.
However after Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan’s bombshell tell-all with Oprah Winfrey, in which they made accusations of racism within the Royal Family, the charity felt they “needed to show solidarity” with the duchess.
He admitted: “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.
“After the interview we realised we’re a poverty and race organisation [and] that we needed to show solidarity.”
The charity said the money from Meghan’s foundation has been put towards stocking the food bank, purchasing equipment and providing vital funds for the Salaam Shalom Kitchen – the only joint Muslim and Jewish community kitchen in the UK.
Reacting to the donation, Himmah’s director joked: “For ages I thought the whole thing was a hoax.
“They kept emailing me and ringing me about the donation saying it was from the Duchess of Sussex and I just couldn’t believe it – I was utterly gobsmacked and hugely humbled that Meghan knew about our charity and wanted to support us.
“It’s an absolutely incredible sum and we’re so very grateful.”
Karen Worth, co-chair and trustee Salaam Shalom Kitchen, said: “We are so delighted and pleased that Salaam Shalom Kitchen has been noticed and chosen by the Duchess of Sussex.
“The money given to us by her foundation will help to continue our important work in Hyson Green area of Nottingham, which is one the most deprived areas of the city.”
The donation came from funds raised for The Royal Foundation from the sale of Together: Our Community Cookbook and the duchess gifted the money so the charity can “continue transforming lives through the power of cooking and food.”