Prince Harry pays back the £2.4m owed for renovating Frogmore Cottage
7th September 2020

Prince Harry pays back the £2.4million owed to Royal Household for work on Frogmore Cottage thanks to the ‘$150m’ Netflix deal he and wife Meghan Markle signed

  • The duke’s spokesman said bill paid in full by contributing to Sovereign Grant
  • Payment made possible thanks to couple’s new multi-million pound Netflix deal
  • Spokesman confirmed the property will remain the family’s UK residence 

Prince Harry has paid back the £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money he and Meghan Markle used to renovate Frogmore Cottage thanks to the multi-million pound Netflix deal struck by the couple.

A spokesman for the Duke of Sussex today confirmed he had paid the bill in full by making a contribution to the Sovereign Grant.

The payment was made possible thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new Netflix deal, reportedly worth some $150m, a source said.

Harry’s spokesman said: ‘A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by the Duke of Sussex.

‘This contribution as originally offered by Prince Harry has fully covered the necessary renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, a property of Her Majesty The Queen, and will remain the UK residence of the duke and his family.’

Prince Harry has paid back the £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money he and Meghan Markle used to renovate Frogmore Cottage thanks to the multi-million pound Netflix deal struck by the couple

Last year’s royal accounts showed the cost of the renovations at the cottage – paid for from taxpayers’ money – was £2.4 million

The huge sums the Sussexes have taken from the taxpayer:

Frogmore Cottage:

News broke that the couple would take a staggering £2.4million from the Sovereign Grant to pay for updates to the Windsor home in April last year.

The 19th century property was converted into five smaller staff houses and needed to be turned back into a single home.

Ceilings and floors were replaced along with the addition of new bathrooms, bedrooms and a kitchen. 

It emerged in January Harry had offered to pay back the public money during the Megxit summit at Sandringham in Norfolk as they finalised their split from the Royal Family.

Now, some eight months later, it has emerged the bill will be paid in full, largely thanks to the couple’s new Netflix deal, according to sources 

Security:

Harry and Meghan agreed in March to pay for the cost of their security personally – which could see them fork out around £4million a year.

A spokesman for the couple confirmed on March 30 they had decided to meet the burden met by British taxpayers and fund the cost of their protection out of their own pockets after stepping down as senior working royals.

Their security personnel will reportedly consist of former SAS soldiers at a cost of £400 per operative per day.

Support from Charles:

Prince Charles will continue to pay for the upkeep of his son and daughter-in-law for the first 12 months of their new life out of his private funds, not the Duchy of Cornwall.

But it is understood this money will not be used for their protection.

Last year’s royal accounts showed the cost of the renovations – paid for from taxpayers’ money – was £2.4 million.

Harry and Meghan agreed to pay back the money as part of the plans drawn up when they quit as senior working royals in March.

The couple signed a high-profile deal with streaming giant Netflix last week for their new yet-to-be-named production company to make documentaries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming.

A documentary on Princess Diana could be included among the haul, it was claimed over the weekend, though Royal sources have warned it could ‘fuel tensions between Harry and William’. 

The Duke and Duchess said they planned to create programmes that ‘inform but also give hope’ and make ‘impactful content that unlocks action’.

The couple, who are now living in Los Angeles, are expected to concentrate on behind-the-camera roles as producers rather than necessarily star themselves.  

The deal intensified calls for Harry and Meghan to pay back the seven-figure sum spent sprucing up Frogmore Cottage and now it appears the pair have bowed to the growing pressure.

The house was extensively renovated for the couple after their marriage in May 2018, with the intention of it being a family home for son Archie.

But they have since left to live in America, where they have purchased a £14.7million mansion in California.

A pledge was made by the couple to reimburse taxpayers for renovating their briefly lived-in Windsor home, which they have insisted on keeping as a British base despite the move to Los Angeles, as part of their deal to quit as working royals.

But they were left apparently cash-strapped after being unexpectedly stripped of their Metropolitan Police security team following their decision to relocate to North America earlier this year, says a source.

Harry, in particular, had believed ‘up until the very last minute’ that he would be allowed to keep them because of his position in the order of succession and the threat to him as a former frontline Army officer.

But the issue became a political football after the authorities in Canada, where they were living at the time, made clear they would no longer support Britain in providing round-the-clock protection after the couple stood down as working royals.

The Sussexes’ decision to flee to LA, which made the situation even more complicated and costly, saw the Home Secretary step in, forcing them to back down.

That meant hiring private security guards at an estimated cost of up to £4million a year, which had not been budgeted for by the couple.

As a result, they had to ask Prince Charles to bear the cost of their security if they were to have any chance of clearing their Frogmore debt.

Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Frogmore House, Windsor. The UK home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex 

This is the sprawling £14.5million Tuscan-style villa that Prince Harry and Meghan and their son, Archie, have called home since moving to Los Angeles from Canada in March

The couple are already being heavily funded by the future king for the first year of their new life until they start earning their own income.

Recently it was reported that the couple began paying back the money spent on Frogmore in April. They gave up their Met Police protection around the same time.

The Sussexes were initially said to be paying monthly instalments of almost £18,000 – a combination of rent for the property and an unspecified payment towards the building costs. 

However, the entire bill has now been paid, reportedly thanks to the windfall the couple will receive as part of the Netflix deal. 

A source told the Daily Mail back in May: ‘They had fully expected that British taxpayers would continue to foot the bill for their protection but then the rug was pulled from under their feet and they had to ask Prince Charles to step in. That’s the reason why they are now able to start paying back the Queen and the Crown Estate, who met the cost of the building work out of public funds.’

The source also claimed the couple’s final bills soared because they included costly designs for work that wasn’t even carried out.

‘One of the biggest costs at Frogmore was that they flew in a designer from the US to design the garden,’ the source revealed. ‘Meghan also wanted a tennis court. There are already tennis courts nearby in Home Park. But it would have meant them coming out of the garden and being seen, which she didn’t like.’

The house had fallen into a dire state of disrepair after it was split into five apartments for courtiers.

Before the Sussexes moved in, it was refurbished to their exacting standards.

Meghan, 38, had even chosen eco-friendly, toxin-free and vegan paint for the redecoration, which was reportedly overseen by designer Vicky Charles, who was responsible for the interiors of Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, a hotel and private members’ club popular with celebrities. 

 

The Sussexes initially had to ask Prince Charles to bear the cost of their security if they were to have any chance of clearing their Frogmore debt

The cottage was thought to be a popular home for the couple due to its seclusion.

It lies in the grounds of Frogmore House, a favourite royal retreat for more than 200 years within Windsor Castle’s Home Park, and where the Queen’s parents, George VI and the Queen Mother, spent their honey­moon.

And it is a bastion of privacy, with an armed police guard at each gate (there are at least seven) into the estate.

Moreover, all aircraft are banned from flying below 2,500ft over the area and drones are prohibited to ensure no aerial photography.

Indeed, during the two years Meghan lived in the UK, she and Harry were never photographed at Frogmore, and were only caught on camera unofficially on a handful of occasions.

The couple were free to come and go as they pleased, living a close-to normal life. Meghan enjoyed shopping for flowers and would often walk around the grounds of Frogmore and the private park with Archie strapped to her in a papoose.

However, a friend who has visited Frogmore said back in May: ‘It’s not as luxurious as you’d expect. It’s very tasteful because Meghan has great taste, but it’s all very White Company. Clean lines and neutral colours.

‘It was done on a budget – a big budget, admittedly – but it’s not quartz and marble everywhere. There are subway-style tiles in the bathroom and it’s comfortable and homely.

‘It’s a long, thin house so not as grand as people may imagine.’

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