The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have vacated Frogmore Cottage, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were gifted the five-bedroom property from the late Queen Elizabeth while they were still working members of the Royal Family but when they stepped back from official duties and moved to California, they agreed to refund the £2.4 million taxpayers had spent on refurbishing the abode.
And the palace has confirmed they have left the Crown with “a greatly enhanced asset” with the renovations they funded.
Speaking at the yearly Sovereign Grant account briefing on Royal finances, Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: “We can confirm that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have vacated Frogmore Cottage.
We will not be going into any detail on those arrangements here.
“Safe to say that, as has previously been stated, the Duke and Duchess have paid for the expenditure incurred by the Sovereign Grant in relation to the renovation of Frogmore Cottage, thus leaving the Crown with a greatly enhanced asset.”
With regards to who will reside there next, the official said: “I have nothing to add.
“Any future occupancy will be determined and communicated in next year’s report.”
There had been reports of the disgraced Prince Andrew moving there.
Harry and Meghan – who have children Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two, together – moved into the property in spring 2019 after extensive work transformed it from a number of separate properties into one large family home.
However, when they stepped back from royal duties the following year with plans to be “financially independent”, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying it was the couple’s “wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home” and they later said they would continue to pay a “commercial rate” of rent for the property.
Accounts showed they paid five months’ rent before handing over the £2.4 million lump sum in September to cover the refurbishment costs.
Official reports for the Sovereign Grant – which detail public spending on the royal family – showed the sum was listed as both “rental income” and “recharges for functions and other income” in the 2020/21 figures, and the following year the final part of the money was listed as “deferred income under current liabilities”.
Former Cabinet Minister and Privy Counselor Norman Baker had blasted the deal.
He said: “It is outrageous that Harry and Meghan should be able to live in a huge house on these terms while regular people struggle to put food on the table.”
Meanwhile, the annual briefing also revealed that the heating has been turned down at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences to cut emissions.
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