Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Pay Back Taxpayer Money for Their U.K. Home, Frogmore Cottage
In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tells PEOPLE that Harry "fully covered" the renovation costs, which were said to be around $3 million. The costs had originally been paid by the Sovereign Grant, the U.K. fund set aside for royals that is fueled by taxpayers.
"A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by the Duke of Sussex," the statement said. "This contribution as originally offered by Prince Harry has fully covered the necessary renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, a property of Her Majesty The Queen, and will remain the U.K. residence of the Duke and his family.”
The couple — who last week announced a production deal with Netflix worth tens of millions of dollars — moved into Frogmore Cottage in April 2019 shortly before the birth of their son, Archie. The original plan was to pay back the renovation costs in installments. The offer to settle their debts was made "proactively" by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a source tells PEOPLE, adding that the pair wanted to ensure that there was no ongoing drain on public monies as they strive to become financially independent.
“It is an important step that they have wanted to take,” says a source close to them. “It is something they have proactively wanted to do since the word go. They have taken the initiative to do so.”
Following discussions with Queen Elizabeth and other senior members of the royal family as the couple made their exit from the royal family in January, Meghan and Harry said it was their wish to repay the Sovereign Grant funds.
There have been public calls since their multimillion dollar Netflix deal was announced last week that they should settle the amount. The source says today's news is not a reaction to that.
But their financial situation has changed dramatically in the last few weeks, as they moved into their new home in Santa Barbara (which they funded partly with a mortgage) and secured the new Netflix deal.