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Prince Archie's birthday gift inspires sweet act of kindness from British shop owners

Prince Archie turned 4 on May 6 2023, the same day as King Charles' coronation 

Prince Harry and Prince Archie
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
10 June 2023
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Be kind! That's the vibe for Montecito-based bike shop Mad Dogs and Englishmen — who will be giving away one free bike after gifting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son Prince Archie a bike for his fourth birthday.

The company took to Instagram on June 10 to share the news of the giveaway with fans, and told HELLO! exclusively that they want to "take away all the hostility and the anger" that has come their way in the two days since they revealed their kind gesture. 

View post on Instagram

"There were some people frustrated that we gave a bike to someone of privilege, and I thought, 'This is an easy fix,'" said shop owner Jennifer Blevins. 

"We donate bikes all the time, usually around Christmas, and it's had overwhelming support and now people are also buying our apparel, or are emailing us saying they want to donate for a gift card to give away with the bike for the charity."

The company is now gifting a Banwood Bikes bike, currently on display in their Carmel, California, shop, and to qualify, "you must demonstrate financial need and be a local in one of the communities where our four shops are located." 

"If you are an existing customer of ours or a friend of the shop, you are already aware of our philanthropic commitment to our local communities. We do what we can, when we can. Always have, always will," the post read, before sharing that followers can "recommend someone in need and if they are chosen we can surprise them with this special gift". 

The giveaway will be Saturday June 17. 

Archie running through maze© Netflix
Archie running through a corn maze in California

"If you post anything negative or inappropriate we will delete it and/or shut down comments, so please refrain. Our business thrives on kindness and positive engagement with our followers and the communities we serve," they concluded. 

The negative comments began after Mad Dogs and Englishmen shared a letter they had received from Harry and Meghan thanking them for their "thoughtful gift".

View post on Instagram

"We hope they don’t mind us sharing this lovely thank you letter we received today!" the company captioned the post, which featured the letter. 

"Of course, we're going to put [the letter] in a frame on the wall. I'm going to make photocopies and put them in a frame in every store," Jennfer told HELLO!, adding: "But I am the business owner, and I was just so excited because I'm huge fans of the entire royal family. I'm not a hater of any of them. I love them all and I love that [Harry and Meghan] are in Montecito where we have a shop so it's just fun."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement at Kensington Palace in 2017© Chris Jackson
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now live in Montecito after leaving the UK

But Jennifer also shared the heartache she has faced the last 48 hours, after internet trolls bombarded their social media pages with hate. 

"This has woken me up to understanding the pain they must have felt," said Jennifer.

"I've never really felt a lot of empathy for anybody that I consider privileged or very wealthy or very famous – you've been blessed and this is part of the trade off – but I have a completely different perspective on that now."

Harry and Meghan with Archie and Lilibet at Frogmore Cottage© Netflix
Harry and Meghan with Archie and Lilibet at Frogmore Cottage

"I feel so much empathy for people, particularly in these positions where there's such an extreme love or hate for them," she continued.

"I feel everything that comes at me, positive and negative, and I try to live a very positive life and I feel so much of this toxic stuff on such a deep level and I feel so bad now for anyone in any role, no one deserves that kind of treatment."

 The bike was a child's bike by California-based brand Specialized, and is the Rip Rock Coaster 16 Rainbow Flake in Pink and Turquoise. It retails for $249.99.

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