Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are facing calls to return the large amount of money that was used to renovate their official residence as they now want to move to North America and be ‘financially independent’ from the royal family.
Members from the Privy Council have criticized Prince Harry and Meghan, asking what sort of financial independence the couple wants from the family while maintaining their claim to a newly-refurbished royal residence.
It all started when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex expressed that they have decided to ‘step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent.’
However, the couple added that they will ‘continue to use Frogmore Cottage 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 UK.’
In the previous two years, between November 2018 and March 2019, ‘five residential units’ of Frogmore Cottage were renovated to set up an ‘official residence’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The renewal of the palace for the couple cost about £2.4m($3m) which were paid from the Sovereign Grant, an ‘allowance’ given to monarchs by the government based on profits generated by the Crown Estate.
Suggesting that it’s not just Frogmore Cottage for which the couple would need to rely on royal sources, Graham Smith, CEO of campaign group Republic, said: “It’s not just Frogmore Cottage – they’re going to be relying on the Metropolitan Police to provide security.
“And they are going to be relying on their official title to cash in and make a profit on those official titles that they hold.
“I certainly think they owe the taxpayer a refund. They have spent £2.4m on refurbishing their house on the taxpayer.”
He added: “It was going to be their home and now they’ve decided to live elsewhere so we need that money back.
“They need to abandon their claim to that house.”
Another privy counselor and former Liberal Democrat minister, Norman Baker, demanded the same from the couple by saying: “The taxpayer has spent millions on Frogmore Cottage for the couple on the understanding that Harry and Meghan intended to be working royals.
“Now they have changed their minds, Harry should repay the money spent on the house to the taxpayer.”
He added: “As he is worth at least £20million($26m) and probably much more, and Meghan is a millionaire in her own right, they can easily afford to do so.
“In general the royal family is far too large and expensive so it needs to be slimmed down.
“In that sense Harry and Meghan’s decision to give up senior royal status is welcome. We need others in the royal family to follow suit and reduce the massive cost to the taxpayer.”
A former member of Labour Party, Emma Dent Coad, said that it’s time for the young couple to ‘show that they mean what they say by reimbursing the public purse for the renovation of a home that they’re never going to live in.’
She said that while there are people whose ‘heating and plumbing doesn’t work,’ Prince Harry chose to spend ‘£2.4m on renovating somewhere they’re not going to live in.’
“They should reimburse that as a gesture of faith to show us they mean it and it’s not just empty words,” she stated.
The 65-year-old further said: “Given that they’re both millionaires, I’m not sure what they mean. Are they stepping back from the family, or just the job?
“And are they going to leave it all behind? If so, I’d like to go to their garage sale. I know someone who’d like a look at Meghan’s dresses.”
After the announcement of the royal split, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle launched a website of their own called ‘Sussex Royal’ and declared that from now on, they will not receive any amount from ‘Sovereign Grant.’
Speaking of Frogmore Cottage, their website read: “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 percent 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.
“Expenses related to fixtures, furnishings, and fittings at the official residence – which is owned by Her Majesty the Queen – were funded privately by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen.”