Harry and Meghan’s house renovated with £2.4m of taxpayers' money

Harry and Meghan’s house renovated with £2.4m from taxpayer

The house was done up before the birth of baby Archie

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Frogmore Cottage has been renovated with £2.4m of taxpayers' money, royal accounts have revealed.

Harry and Meghan's country residence, close to Windsor Castle, underwent major work to turn five properties back into a single home for the couple and their baby son Archie - with all fittings and fixtures privately paid for by the duke and duchess.

Accounts for the Sovereign Grant, which funds the Queen and her household's official expenses, show the monarchy cost the taxpayer £67m during 2018-19 - an increase of almost £20m on the previous financial year.

A large amount of the rise was due to work updating the decades-old services at Buckingham Palace and maintaining the occupied royal palaces.

The Core Sovereign Grant, which helps fund the work of the Queen and her household, increased by £3.6m to £49.3m.

Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, who is responsible for monarchy's accounts, said of Frogmore Cottage: "The property had not been the subject of work for some years and had already been earmarked for renovation in line with our responsibility to maintain the condition of the occupied royal palaces estate.

"The Sovereign Grant covered the work undertaken to turn the building into the official residence and home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new family.

"The building was returned to a single residence and outdated infrastructure was replaced to guarantee the long-term future of the property.”

Frogmore Cottage can be found near Windsor Castle

However, the CEO of anti-monarchist group Republic called the figures “disgraceful”. 

Graham Smith told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I compare it to MPs’ expenses because they are spending public money on their own private house and when MPs were caught doing that, they were in all sorts of trouble.

“The Queen has a job to do being head of state and if she does it well, then good luck to her. 

“But, it does not then mean that we owe her and her grandchildren private houses from the taxpayer.”

Harry and Meghan moved from their Nottingham Cottage home in the grounds of Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage, a Grade II listed Victorian building in Home Park near Windsor Castle, ahead of the birth of their son Archie.

A royal source said the major work on the couple's cottage included replacing defective wooden ceiling beams and floor joists, outdated heating systems were updated, and the home needed substantial new electrical rewiring.

The renovation took around six months and was completed a few months before Harry and Meghan's son Archie was born on May 6, but some works remain to be completed, such as repainting the exterior.

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