I hate the feeling of “owing” money to anyone. In my life, I’ve barely ever borrowed money from anyone besides a bank. And the relief I felt when I paid off my car! I just hate the feeling. In the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s case, it wasn’t even that they really *owed* anyone anything. Frogmore Cottage was “given” to them as a “gift” by the Queen. Frogmore is part of the Windsor Castle complex, which is part of the Crown Estates, meaning it’s not really private property owned by the Queen.
When the Queen gave the H&M Frogmore Cottage, it was known that the cottage was a bit dilapidated and that renovations would need to take place, much like the Cambridges taking over Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1, which also needed a big reno. Most of the updating on the cottage was structural, but the tabloids made it sound like this little cottage was some kind of gold-plated castle and Meghan was personally billing British taxpayers for her diamond-encrusted toilet. So when H&M were negotiating their Sussexit, they promised that they would “pay back” the costs of the Frogmore renovations. As far as I know, they volunteered to pay it back, yet the “when will they pay it baaaaack” cries have been heard for months now. Because how dare Meghan have a toilet and a bed and a roof which does not leak! Anyway, the Sussexes paid that sh-t back.
When the Sussexes announced plans to step back as working members of the royal family earlier this year, the couple made it clear that they also wanted complete financial independence from The Firm. And now, just five months since their March 31 departure, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have achieved exactly that after Prince Harry fully repaid the £2.4 million ($3.1 million) spent converting Frogmore Cottage into a family home. A representative for the couple tells BAZAAR.com, “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 U.K. residence of The Duke and his family.”
Buckingham Palace also confirm that the amount was recently repaid in full to the Sovereign Grant, the British government and tax-payer supported purse that funds the royal family and their professional endeavors.
“There was never any expectation or request from the Royal Family or the Crown Estate to repay this but they have felt it was important to do so and this is why they proactively offered to repay as soon as the move was announced,” a source close to the couple tells BAZAAR.com. While installments may have been an option, the duke, adds the source, was eager to repay the money in full. The £2.4 million costs spent in 2018 covered the structural renovations needed to turn Windsor Estate’s Grade II-listed Frogmore Cottage back into a liveable family home, after it had previously been converted into staff apartments several decades ago. All interior refurbishments, including appliances and decorative elements, were already privately covered by the couple.
Prince Harry’s repayment means that the Sussexes now have full financial independence. Despite offers from Prince Charles to provide financial support from his Duchy of Cornwall estate, a separate source close to the couple tells BAZAAR.com that they are “not taking anything” from the Prince of Wales. “They want to be completely independent.”
Yep. I hate that they even had to do this though. I hate that the Queen didn’t just come out and say “the cottage and the renovation were given as gifts.” I imagine there would still be tantrums from the assortment of racists and dumbasses, but at least someone would have underlined the f–king point that this was meant as a gift, just as Anmer Hall was a gift to the Cambridges, just as Kensington Palace Apt. 1 was a gift to the Cambridges, just as the Royal Lodge was a gift to Prince Andrew, and on and on. I also enjoy the fact that Harry was like “Frogmore is still our place in England, even if we’re barely going to be there.” That, as the kids say, is a flex.
The “shifting goalposts” thing is already happening too. Now those same salty douchebros are “demanding” that Harry & Meghan give up more sh-t, like their titles. Ugh.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.