Meghan Markle and Prince Harry struck deal to live rent free in mansion after paying back taxpayer for £2.4m revamp
PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle allegedly struck a deal with Buckingham Palace to live rent free after renovating Frogmore Cottage.
The couple spent £2.4million of taxpayer cash on the revamp before refunding the money when they relocated across the pond to California.Harry and Meghan have allegedly lived rent-free at Frogmore Cottage for three years[/caption] Frogmore Cottage, the Sussexes’ UK home, on the Windsor estate[/caption]
They were expected to pay a “commercial rate” on rent at the Windsor estate property after stepping down as senior royals in 2020.
But an agreement was made under which the refit cash wiped out any further financial obligations, The Mail on Sunday reports.
With an estimated annual rental value of between £150,000 to £230,000, it means the Sussexes potentially saved £690,000 over the last three years.
A Palace spokesperson said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a contribution of £2.4m to the Sovereign Grant which covered the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage.
“They have fulfilled their financial obligations in relation to the property.
“In line with usual practice for the Sovereign Grant report, the accounting treatment was scrutinised and signed off by the National Audit Office and the Treasury.
“As with any such agreement between landlord and tenant, further details regarding the Sussexes’ tenancy arrangements would be a private matter.”
The lump sum was split into three headings recorded across two sets of accounts, grant reports which outline public spending on the monarchy show.
In the 2020/21 figures, the money is listed as both “rental income” and “recharges for functions and other income”.
The following year, the third instalment appears as “deferred income under current liabilities”.
An accountant, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “This is an accountant’s way of balancing the books.
“They will look at this deal and say, ‘Yes, but there’s still value being had from the rental contract’. So there needs to be value seen in the accounts.
“By allowing the Sussexes to remain in Frogmore Cottage without any additional payments, the Crown gave away value and, as such, should recognise that. They use some of the £2.4m for that.”
Frogmore Cottage became the Sussexes’ official residence in 2019.
They moved in after extensive and expensive refurbishment which transformed the property into a large family home.
But when they stepped down from being senior royals, Harry and Meghan repaid the money spent.
Last month, the pair were evicted – and the keys to the five-bedroom cottage was offered to Prince Andrew.
King Charles began the process of chucking Harry and Meg out just days after his son’s controversial memoir Spare was released.
A source close to the couple told close pal and author Omid Scobie: “It all feels very final and like a cruel punishment.
“It’s like [the family] want to cut them out of the picture for good.”
It has not yet been confirmed if the duke and duchess will attend the King’s coronation in May.Prince Andrew has reportedly been offered the keys[/caption] It is unclear if Harry and Meghan will fly over for the King’s coronation in May[/caption]