Ever since their royal exit, the Sussexes have been doing their best to transition to life in American—and now that includes settling any debts. While originally paid for by a Sovereign fund, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Frogmore Cottage repayments have reportedly begun. The effort marks an important gesture to British taxpayers, some of whom initially criticized the Duke and Duchess for using public funds to refurbish the historic estate in 2019.
In case you’re new to the drama: Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, came under fire in the months before they announced their plan to step back from the royal family due to their Frogmore property (among other things). At the time, the couple approved renovations for a cottage on the Frogmore Estate using money from the Sovereign Grant, a public fund by British taxpayers to support senior members of the royal family. And that seemingly included structural redesigns, as it reflected “the Monarchy’s responsibility to maintain the upkeep of buildings with historical significance,” according to the Sussexes’ site.
The couple moved into the cottage following Baby Archie’s birth, but they weren’t there for long. By Jan. 2020, they’d announced their royal exit strategy—including plans for keeping the cottage as their home in the UK. “Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen,” they wrote on their website. “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.”
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“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 For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
Since then, Buckingham Palace released a statement noting Meghan and Harry’s plans to repay the funds. “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,” reads the Queen’s message from Jan. 2020. But details about that repayment have been unclear until now.
The Sussexes have reportedly already started repayments—and they are expected to keep paying them for the next 11 years, according to Marie Claire. The total refurbishment cost to Frogmore Cottage is estimated at approximately £2.4 million (or $3.05 million), meaning that they will pay around £18,000 (roughly $22,000) a month for over a decade. Here’s hoping those new jobs in California work out for them.