Let the royal wedding madness begin! 

OK, we're still some 10 days away from the much-hyped "Wedding of the Century," but charitable gifts for Prince William and Kate Middleton are already making news — and a huge difference for organizations. 

As I reported earlier, the couple set up a charity gift fund in lieu of gifts benefiting 26 nonprofits. "“These causes are close to their hearts and reflect the experiences, passions and values of their lives so far," the site reads. "Having been touched by the goodwill shown to them since their engagement, they have asked that anyone wishing to send them a wedding gift consider doing so in the form of a donation to the fund.”

Australia yesterday announced that it was giving $25,000 in the royal couple's name to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Australia. This is a departure (and a welcome one, I imagine) from the "20 handcrafted silver platters in a box made from Australian blackwood" that the country gave in honor of the nuptials of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  

The New Zealand government will reportedly offer a gift of a similar size in William and Kate's names to charities involved in relief efforts for the earthquake that struck the country earlier this year. 

In the land of pop culture, singer George Michael has recorded a charity cover of Stevie Wonder's "You and I (We Can Conquer The World)" and made it available as a free download on his website. In return for not charging, Michael is requesting that fans donate what they can to the Royal Charity Fund. 

"I want Will and Kate to know that this is a genuine gift, not a promo exercise," he said. "It's a gift that they'll be able to turn into many, many donations."

And finally, in a demonstration of the lengths people will go to for royal collectibles, a PEZ dispenser bearing the likeness of William and Kate sold at auction last week for $13,360. The candy company said the cash will be donated to the Starlight Children's Foundation, a charity supported by the Middleton family. The buyer was from Connecticut.

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Royal wedding charity giving heats up
As the April 29 date approaches, gifts benefiting organizations that are supported by William and Kate begin to roll in.