• Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not use their HRH titles as they ‘step back’ from royal duties, including official military appointments, and will no longer receive public funds for royal duties.
• They will create a new semi-permanent base in Canada, North America, but Frogmore Cottage in Windsor WILL remain their UK home – and the couple wish to REPAY the £2.4 million renovation costs for Frogmore Cottage.
• ‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,’ says The Queen.
• Buckingham Palace says all changes will take place in spring 2020
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, moved into their new Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, in April 2019 ahead of the birth of their first child, Archie. The Grade II listed property is owned by Her Majesty the Queen. On 8th January 2020, the couple announced they would be stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family with plans to balance their time between the UK and Canada in North America. But Frogmore Cottage WILL continue to be Harry & Meghan’s official residence, the couple have confirmed.
Harry and Meghan will pay back the cost of the £2.4 million refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, and they will pay the running costs and rent going forward. All changes will take effect in the spring, an official press release from the Queen and Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
This comes as Harry and Meghan announced plans to ‘become financially independent’ and balance their time between the UK and North America.
Harry and Meghan explained earlier in January: ‘Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.’
Frogmore Cottage was renovated with £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money, official royal accounts previously revealed, but expenses related to fixtures and furnishings were funded privately by Harry and Meghan. The renovation was funded by the Queen through the Sovereign Grant; an allowance paid annually by the government in support of the Queen, including expenses to maintain official residences and workspaces.
‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose to move to Windsor for various reasons. Their previous residence of Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace could not accommodate their growing family. The option of Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace was estimated to cost in excess of £4 million for mandated renovations including the removal of asbestos. This residence would not have been available for them to occupy until the fourth quarter of 2020. As a result, Her Majesty The Queen offered The Duke and Duchess the use of Frogmore Cottage, which was already undergoing mandated renovations, and would be available to move in before the birth of their son.
‘The refurbishment cost equated to 50 per cent of the originally suggested property for their proposed official residence at Kensington Palace. It is for these reasons, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose Frogmore Cottage as their Official Residence.’
A statement from Buckingham Palace confirmed that the renovation costs would be repaid: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved into their new abode last spring from their two-bedroom house, Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace.
The royal couple were due to get the keys to Frogmore Cottage – situated in the grounds of Windsor Castle’s Home Park in Berkshire – in March 2019, but layout changes reportedly caused delays as builders continued to work round the clock to complete the renovation. The move out of London to Frogmore Cottage marked a big step for the couple, after the Queen agreed to the creation of a new Household for Harry and Meghan.
The Queen also gave permission for the couple’s new Household Office to be based at Buckingham Palace. This ‘long-planned move’ ensured that ‘permanent support arrangements for The Duke and Duchess’ work were in place as they started their family and moved to their official residence at Frogmore Cottage’.
Read the full statement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex below:
‘After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.
‘We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.
‘We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.’ – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The Grade II listed, two-storey, stucco-faced house with a parapet was a 10-bedroom property divided into five units (previously home to members of the royal staff), but it has now been completely renovated into a modern family home for the royal couple.
Meghan and Harry were reportedly working with A-list interior designer, Vicky James on the renovation. Vicky founded the interior design studio, Charles & Co, in 2016 with James Corden’s wife, Julia, after working as Global Head of Design at exclusive private member’s club, the Soho House Company, for 20 years. The Duchess of Sussex is said to be a big fan of both Soho Farmhouse (the Cotswolds outpost of the private member’s club) and James’ work for the Clooneys and Beckhams.
Several internal walls have been knocked down at Frogmore Cottage and there is said to be five en-suite bedrooms, a huge kitchen diner, a Gone With The Wind-style double staircase and a yoga room.
The couple are said to have ordered alcove bookcases to go alongside new fireplaces and vanity units. Builders on cranes were spotted putting in chimney liners for log burners, and the Sussexes are also said to have opted for a £50,000 eco boiler and replaced Frogmore’s windows with childproof panes.
It’s also been reported that Harry and Megan were creating a vegetable plot in the garden to grow their own herbs, fruit and veg.
As a housewarming gift, the Queen reportedly offered the couple their pick from the Royal Art Collection to make their Windsor cottage feel more homely.
One of the largest private art collections in the world, drawings by Leonardo de Vinci, along with works by Canaletto and Michelangelo all feature. In fact, there’s thousands of sculptures, paintings, sketches and textiles, some dating back as far as the Restoration in 1660, in the royal vaults. To make picking the perfect piece that much easier, the Queen reportedly drew up a list of paintings for Harry and Meghan to choose from.
And in terms of baby Sussex, reports suggest the nursery at Frogmore Cottage has been decorated in a gender-neutral, white and grey colour scheme, using Organic and Natural Paint Co vegan paint infused with essential oils to create a calming space.
Frogmore cottage sits in the north of Frogmore House estate; about half a mile south of Windsor Castle. Built in about 1680 by Charles II’s architect, Frogmore Cottage has been a royal residence since 1792.
Its peculiar name was given because of the frogs which have always lived in the low-lying marshy area. In 1923, the Queen’s parents – the future George VI and Queen Elizabeth – even spent part of their honeymoon there.
The grounds boast impressive picturesque landscape gardens, most of which was created in the 1790s by Queen Charlotte’s staff.
Harry and Meghan hold fond memories of Windsor having tied the knot in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in May. They held their wedding reception at Frogmore House, and their engagement photos were also taken here. A spokesperson told The Telegraph: ‘Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate.’
Previosuly, the Queen said Frogmore House ‘holds a special place in my family’s affection’, revealing that it remains a ‘wonderfully relaxing environment’ for her and her family.
The Mausoleum, where both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried, are within the grounds. The royal burial ground is also at Frogmore.
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