Prince Harry and Meghan Markle only lived at Frogmore Cottage for a few short years, but their stint made a huge impression on the property itself as well as the Sussexes’ reputation. The duke and duchess made major renovations to the home that totaled in the millions before ultimately deciding to move to the United States and stepping back from their roles as working royals. In the months and years afterward, a common cry from the tabloids demanded the royal couple pay back those funds. So how are Harry and Markle’s finances in regard to Frogmore Cottage?
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s Frogmore History
A few months after their 2018 marriage, in November, Prince Harry and his then-newlywed bride Meghan Markle announced that they’d be moving from Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace, where Harry had lived since 2013, into Frogmore Cottage. The home was gifted to the couple upon their wedding by Harry’s doting grandmother Queen Elizabeth.
At the time, Markle was pregnant with the couple’s first child, Archie. To prepare the home for their growing family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex poured about £2.4million, or $3.1 million, into renovations and refurbishments on the property. Originally five homes, the renovations combined them into one. This was paid out of the Sovereign Grant, a taxpayer-fueled fund set aside for use by the royal family.
Expensive Renovations Spark Backlash
At the beginning of 2020, Harry and Markle announced that they would be stepping back from their roles as working royals. Even before that announcement, there’d been dozens of tabloid stories decrying the Sussexes’ renovations and demands for them to pay back the funds. Afterwards, the cries grew even louder as outraged commentators blasted the pair for completing the million dollar renovations before essentially quitting their jobs.
By September 2020, however, those critics were silenced after Markle and Harry repaid the Sovereign Grant the full amount. The couple still owns the home, but pay the Sovereign Grant to rent the property, which is their U.K. home base. They also let royal relatives, like Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie, her husband Jack Brooksbank, and their son August, stay at the property during their long absence.
As a result of both the couple’s previous repayment of the renovation costs, as well as the money they continue to pay as rent, Frogmore Cottage has become a “great deal” for the British taxpayer, a palace source recently reported.
The rent, the senior royal source continued, was “calculated by reference to market valuations for a property of that nature,” meaning the Sussexes are paying a fair amount by market standards. The source concluded, “I can be confident in saying that this is a good deal for the Sovereign Grant and the taxpayer alike.”