Meghan Markle and Prince Harry could be due a ‘refund’ after being evicted from Frogmore Cottage after spending £2.4 million on renovations and apparently paying rent in advance.
King Charles has advised the Sussexes to vacate the five-bedroom mansion on Tuesday in a dramatic move reportedly prompted by repeated broadsides at Queen consort Camilla in the Duke’s memoir, Spare.
The decision was supported by both his wife and the Prince and Princess of Wales, it is understood.
However, it has now raised questions about whether the Crown Estate, which Frogmore leases to the Sussexes, could ultimately owe the couple money.
The Sussexes were given use of Frogmore Cottage by Queen Elizabeth in 2018 amid their explosive row with William and Katherine.
King Charles (left) has advised the Sussexes (seen right, in Frogmore) to vacate the five-bedroom mansion on Tuesday
Originally five dilapidated staff residences, it was initially converted into one large house with a private garden using £2.4million of taxpayers’ money.
More than half of Britons support Prince Charles’s decision to evict the couple
More than half of Britons support Prince Charles’ decision to evict Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from Frogmore Cottage, research shows.
One in three thinks the decision is ‘completely fair’ and 49 percent think it should have been done sooner.
The survey of 1,000 adults found that 44 percent believe Meghan Markle is responsible for King Charles’ decision, which he reportedly reached in January.
But six in 10 think Harry and Meghan will use the eviction to win public sympathy.
A spokesperson for research firm One Poll, which carried out the investigation, said: “It appears that Harry and Meghan’s relationship with the British public is as strained as it is with the royal family.
The couple now have their base in Los Angeles, so it could be that the royal family is just trying to reallocate that space to someone who will make more use of it.
“But the palace is tight-lipped at the moment, so it’s hard to guess what their real motives are.”
The pair paid for everything but the basic equipment themselves.
At the time, the couple was said to be “relieved and delighted” to pay taxpayers back for the renovations.
“They are ‘very relieved and very happy’ that they were able to pay off the debt so quickly,” a source close to them told Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl.
“This has been a proactive move and something they wanted to do from the start.
“There was no requirement (from the Queen) for them to pay back the money, but it was important to them that they did, and after the Netflix deal they were able to do so. I think this is a very important moment for them.’
The source added: “They are now in their forever home, it’s the start of their new life and they are very much looking forward to everything to come.”
However, they only spent six months in the house before moving to North America, first to Canada and then California, where they bought an £11 million mansion in Montecito.
Despite several public statements from Harry that he now sees his future in the US, he and Meghan agreed to reimburse the Crown Estate for the cost of renovations in a deal that included leasing Frogmore Cottage for an indefinite number of years.
The pair claimed it would mean ‘their family would always have a place to call home in the UK’ as they pursued lucrative commercial deals abroad.
More importantly, the Sussexes also believed that repaying all government money spent on Frogmore would avert continued criticism.
Last year, royal officials confirmed that Harry and Meghan were fully “financially independent” and said the couple’s decision to pay back the £2.4 million on Frogmore was a “good deal” for the taxpayer.
According to the palace’s annual accounts, the lump sum they transferred to cover the renovation of their former marital home on the Queen’s estate also included undisclosed future rental costs.
Harry and Meghan were given Frogmore Cottage when they married the late Queen in 2018
King Charles has reportedly decided to evict Harry and Meghan from Frogmore Cottage over his son’s repeated attempts at Queen Consort Camilla
The couple would also fund the general upkeep of their former home, such as the upkeep of the garden, with the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant effectively acting as the “landlord” and undertaking more major works, such as everything that was done on the outside of the house had to be done. the monumental building.
A senior royal source said the rent was calculated independently and based on market values.
“I can say with confidence that this is a good deal for both the Sovereign Grant and the taxpayer,” they added.
But if the Sussexes have paid several years’ rent in advance, the sudden termination of their lease has led to questions in royal circles as to whether they should be refunded.
The couple agreed to pay in advance with the expectation that they would regularly return to the UK, despite settling in California to see family and friends.
But the implosion of their relationships with senior royals has meant they’ve rarely returned in the past three years.
And the decision to end their lease, whether they like it or not, can provoke an aggressive response. It has been reported that a ‘flurry of letters’ have been exchanged between the Sussexes team and the Palace in recent weeks.
Roya Nikkhah, editor of The Sunday Times, has insisted that the couple expects at least some of the money they spent on Frogmore to be repaid.
“I’m sure the bean counters at Buckingham Palace would have taken that into account,” she told True Royalty TV’s The Royal Beat.
“I don’t think Buckingham Palace would cancel them, evict them and not take into account that there is still a certain period on the lease.
Harry and Meghan extended the lease last year and I’m sure they want that money back.
The house has already been offered to Prince Andrew, who is said to be resisting pressure to downsize the seven-bedroom Royal Lodge.
“I don’t think that will be a problem – it’s more about the optics. It is interesting that the king and Buckingham Palace would have known what it would have looked like optically.
‘It more or less implies that the king doesn’t care about the optics of that decision. It’s his decision; he makes it and has done it.’
Harry told Anderson Cooper, who presents the US TV news program 60 Minutes, in January that Camilla’s willingness to engage in relations with the British press made her “dangerous” and that “it would leave bodies in the streets.”
He also referred to her as “the villain” in television interviews.
Sources have told the Mail that the monarch found the implosion of his relationship with his youngest son “extremely painful”.
The decision to ask the couple to move out of their Windsor home was apparently a difficult one for the King as well, especially as he was not keen on fueling their ongoing quarrel.
Discussing the decision to start the process, a source said: ‘It was felt it would be like taking a Band-Aid off. Painful, but once it’s done, it’s done.’
The house has already been offered to Prince Andrew, who is reportedly resisting pressure to downsize the seven-bedroom Royal Lodge.
It’s clear that the king is particularly keen to sort out many of the nagging issues surrounding Harry, Meghan and Andrew before his coronation, which have been allowed to ‘drag’ for far too long.
Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on the decision to ask the Sussexes to pack up their remaining belongings from their five-bedroom cottage in Windsor for early summer.
It is clear that they were initially asked to quit when their lease was up for renewal next month, but were granted a stay of execution.
However, a spokesperson for the couple specifically confirmed this week that they had been ‘asked to leave their home at Frogmore Cottage’ – a sign of their shock and anger at the move.
The latest twist in the Windsors’ ongoing war suggests further doubts about their appearance at the King’s coronation on May 6.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.