The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have accepted a free bike from a British business owner for their son’s birthday.
Prince Archie turned four on May 6, the day of the King’s Coronation.
But while the Duke travelled to London for the ceremony, the Duchess stayed at home in Montecito, California, where she took delivery of the surprise gift.
The red bike was hand-delivered to the family home by Martin Watson, co-owner of Mad Dogs & Englishmen, a bike shop in the US town.
Mr Watson did not hear any more about it, but this week he received a letter.
It said: “On behalf of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, please accept their sincere thanks for the thoughtful gift you sent to Prince Archie for his fourth birthday.
“The bike has brought much joy and is most appreciated by the family. They asked that I convey their gratitude at the lovely surprise.”
The note was signed by Harrison Colcord, a former sales director at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, who is thought to have been recently hired by the couple’s private office. The couple have used the hotel to conduct interviews.
Jennifer Blevins, Mr Watson’s partner, revealed that the bike was a spontaneous decision he made on the day.
“He went and got one of our little Specialized bikes – they’re really nice little bikes – and he’s like, ‘This one’s perfect. It’s got training wheels,’” she told People magazine.
“So he went and got some birthday balloons, and he got some flowers for Meghan and a birthday card, and he said, ‘OK, I’m gonna bike over and take it to their house.’”
On arrival, he was greeted by security, who asked if he had received an invitation from the couple.
“He said: ‘I’m just a British business in town that wanted to give Archie a gift,’” Ms Blevins said.
After running an on-site background check, security allowed him to leave the flowers, card, balloons and bike.
The next day, Mr Watson and Ms Blevins posted a picture of the bike on their company’s Instagram page with the words: “We hope yesterday’s special birthday boy had a wonderful day, surrounded by lots of love, friends and family.
“Martin gifted him a new kid’s bike out of our Montecito shop. We really hope he enjoys it. His little sis can ride as well when she gets a bit bigger.”
Thoughtful and personal
The couple heard no more about it until Wednesday.
“A courier came by our little shop on Coast Village Road and he dropped off that letter,” Ms Blevins said.
“I was making a joke. I said, ‘It better be a thank you letter’ and it really was. I wasn’t expecting that. I had no idea.
“It was so thoughtful because, you know, they took the time to write something personal and not just a generic thank you.”
‘Because he’s British’
After sharing the note on social media, the couple were criticised by some people, who asked why they had not donated the bike to a less privileged child.
In response, they said they donate a lot of bikes and support dog charities.
“This wasn’t a donation – it was a gift. It was a very impromptu gesture by Martin because he’s British and we have a bike shop in Montecito. We thought it would be fun.”
They said they had shared the message because they were “proud and honoured”.
In their Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan, the Sussexes shared video footage of themselves cycling along the seafront and at their home.
In one clip, Harry had strapped Archie into a baby seat on the back of his bike.
While official gifts must be declared, members of the Royal family are allowed to accept personal gifts, as long as doing so does not place them “under any obligation to the donor”.