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Prince Harry sidesteps wedding guest list controversy

LONDON — Prince Harry avoided a potential diplomatic tangle over the guest list for his wedding to the American actor Meghan Markle on Wednesday, saying plans had yet to be finalized.

Asked on a BBC radio program whether he would invite former US President Barack Obama, Harry said a guest list had not yet been put together.

There has been speculation in the UK media that the White House might take offense if the couple decides to invite Barack and Michelle Obama, with whom they are friends, but not President Donald Trump.

Harry was asked whether his friendship with Obama warranted an invitation to the wedding while guest-editing a BBC radio program for which he had taped an interview with the former US President.

“We haven’t put the invites or the guest list together yet so who knows whether he’s going to be invited or not. I wouldn’t want to ruin that surprise.”

Harry has become close to the Obamas through their support for the Invictus Games, an event for injured servicemen and women that was started by the UK royal in 2014.

The Prince conducted the interview with Obama for BBC Radio 4’s Today program while he and the former US President were in Toronto, Canada, for this year’s Games. It was broadcast Wednesday as Harry guest edited the flagship BBC radio show.

The Prince and Markle, who announced their engagement last month, have set May 19 as their wedding date. The ceremony is to be held in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, west of London.

UK newspapers have already begun speculating over who might be on the guest list, which could bring together an intriguing mix of British and showbiz aristocracy.

The wedding is expected to be a smaller affair than that of Harry’s brother, Prince William, in 2011. He and his wife, Catherine, had two receptions in Buckingham Palace: a traditional lunch for over 600 guests, which was hosted by the Queen and included dignitaries and officials, and a more intimate evening party for roughly 300 friends and family.

As fifth in line to the throne, Harry is likely to have more freedom over who he invites and how the event is staged.

St George’s Chapel was most recently the scene of the wedding of Peter Phillips — son of Princess Anne and cousin to Harry — who married Canada-born Autumn Kelly there in 2008.

Harry and Markle spent Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, as well as other family members, at Sandringham, the Queen’s country estate in rural Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London.

Asked on air Wednesday how his first Christmas was with Markle, Harry said they had had an “amazing time” and a lot of fun with William and his family. “Oh it was fantastic, she really enjoyed it. The family loved having her there,” he said of his fiancee.