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Harry and Meghan's new home renovation cost taxpayers £2.4m

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter

Taxpayers picked up a £2.4m bill for the six-month renovation of Prince Harry and Meghan’s new country home in Windsor, royal accounts show.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved out of Kensington Palace, where Prince William and Kate live, earlier this year before of the birth of their first child.

The new property, near Windsor Castle, went through extensive renovations before they moved in, with five properties turned back into a single home for the couple and their baby son Archie.

Called Frogmore Cottage, the Sussex Home is on the grounds of Frogmore House, where they held their wedding reception last year.

But the couple used their own funds to pay for all fittings and fixtures in the property.

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They are reported to have installed a mother-and-baby yoga room complete with a sprung wood floor, according to the Press Association. They may have also added a new luxury kitchen and bathroom.

The latest figures show the monarchy cost the taxpayer almost £20m more in 2018-19 than the previous year.

The data on Sovereign Grant, which pays for the Queen and her household’s official expenses, was released by the royals on Tuesday. It added up to a £67m bill to the taxpayer over the year.

Updating parts of Buckingham Palace and maintaining occupied royal palaces accounted for much of the increase.

Keeper of the privy purse Sir Michael Stevens, who is responsible for the monarchy’s accounts, explained the cost of the Frogmore Cottage renovations.

“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,” Stevens said.

“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.”

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 08: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth at 05:26 on Monday 06 May, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan with their newborn son. Photo: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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“The building was returned to a single residence and outdated infrastructure was replaced to guarantee the long-term future of the property,” he added.

“Substantially all fixtures and fittings were paid for by Their Royal Highnesses.”

A royal source told Press Association the major work on the couple’s cottage included replacing defective wooden ceiling beams and floor joists, as well as outdated and inefficient heating systems.

The home is also said to have needed substantial new electrical rewiring, including its own electrical sub-station.

The renovation took around six months and was largely completed a few months before Harry and Meghan’s son Archie was born on 6 May. Some works are not yet finished, including repainting the outside of the property.

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