Prince Harry pays back cost of renovating Frogmore Cottage

Daniel O'Mahony
·4-min read
Meghan seen wearing Princess Diana's aquamarine ring: Getty Images
Meghan seen wearing Princess Diana's aquamarine ring: Getty Images

The Duke of Sussex has paid back the £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money used to renovate Frogmore Cottage.

A spokesman for Harry confirmed the duke 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 multi-million pound Netflix deal, 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.”

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 and start paying commercial rent as part of the plans drawn up when they quit as senior working royals in March.

The couple faced a public backlash when the cost of refurbishing the Grade-II listed property close to Windsor Castle fell to the taxpayer.

The home, which is owned by the Crown Estate, was a gift from Harry’s grandmother the Queen.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, heavily criticised the amount spent at the time, and said following news of Harry’s payment that he should have paid the bill from the start.

Graham Smith of Republic said: “Harry should have paid this bill from the outset, rather than expecting the taxpayer to stump up the cash.

“They’ve now paid for the refurbishment while continuing to use the home whenever they stay in the UK.

“Their statement claims the cottage is the Queen’s property, which is untrue.

“It belongs to the Crown Estate, which is there to raise revenue for the Treasury, so we have a right to know what rent they are paying for the place.”

He added: “Harry and Meghan have ended their active involvement in royal duties and now live in the US, yet still expect the British taxpayer to provide them with luxury accommodation, always available for whenever they choose to visit.

“Perhaps they should get a loyalty card with Travelodge and save the taxpayer more wasted money.”

The major building project at Frogmore Cottage involved turning five properties back into a single mansion.

All fixtures and fittings were paid for privately by the duke and duchess.

Work on the property in Berkshire overran and it was reported that Harry and Meghan made constant design changes, meaning the builders fell behind schedule.

The £2.4 million bill included structural work, rewiring and flooring, among other costs.

A source said the couple will still base themselves there with their son Archie when visiting the UK.

“It’s still the plan for Frogmore Cottage to be their main family home in the UK,” the source said.

They added that the couple would have been back to visit had it not been for the coronavirus outbreak.

Harry and former Suits actress Meghan, who have recently bought an £11 million house in Montecito, Santa Barbara, are now based in the US as they pursue a life of personal and financial freedom away from the monarchy.

The couple’s new Netflix deal to produce a range of films and series for the streaming service is reported to be worth 100 million dollars (£76 million).

Jonathan Shalit, chairman of the talent agency InterTalent, has predicted it could even be worth up to 250 million dollars (£190 million) through bonuses.

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

The payment of the bill was made possible thanks to the couple’s multi-million pound Netflix deal, a source said.

Graham Smith of Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said: “Harry should have paid this bill from the outset, rather than expecting the taxpayer to stump up the cash.

“They’ve now paid for the refurbishment while continuing to use the home whenever they stay in the UK.

“Their statement claims the cottage is the Queen’s property, which is untrue.

“It belongs to the Crown Estate, which is there to raise revenue for the treasury, so we have a right to know what rent they are paying for the place.”

Reporting by Press Association

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Cost of Harry and Meghan's Frogmore Cottage renovations revealed