Back in April, it was confirmed that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had relocated from Kensington Palace and their shared residence with the Cambridges to Frogmore Cottage in the countryside.
Located in Home Park, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, Frogmore House was given to the couple by Queen Elizabeth. It’s located about an hour outside London’s city center (for a bit more privacy for baby Archie and his parents), and a 50-minute drive from the other half of the “Fab Four” and their 20-room (!!) apartment at Kensington Palace.
Originally, it was reported that Meghan and Harry's interior renovations alone had cost the British taxpayers more than $3.9 million. Now, with the release of the royal family's financial statements today, it's understood that these renovations cost just over $3 million. So where did that money go?
First, a little Frogmore House history: The ten-room home is surrounded by lush grounds and has been a royal residence for more than 300 years. It’s where Harry and Meghan took their official engagement portraits one year ago. It also happens to be the same location where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex held their second private wedding reception.
According to the new financial reports, the royal family spent £2.4 million (more than $3 million) of public funds on upgrades to the interior, which was originally in "poor condition" and included five smaller separate houses that needed to be joined into one. (And, for perspective, this is actually $2.7 million less than the Cambridges spent on updating Kensington Palace's apartment 1A for Kate, William, George, Charlotte and Louis.)
Specifically, this money went to:
- floating floor in the kitchen (not for a yoga studio, as previously speculated, but because the original timber floor in the kitchen could not be removed and the new floor had to be placed on top of it)
- replacement of defective ceiling beams and floor joists
- new gas and water mains
- new updated electrical system
- new bathrooms and kitchen
- new "eco" heating
- establishment of four bedrooms and a nursery (the building being returned to a single residence from five separate apartments)
Also, the report notes that Meghan and Harry paid for all of the furniture and interior decoration themselves over a certain allowance. "Substantially all fixtures and fittings were paid for by their royal highnesses," the Queen’s Treasurer, Sir Michael Stevens, told reporters.
Back in March, Vanity Fair released a report stating the home received $50,000 in soundproofing (the home sits under the Heathrow airport flight paths) and music systems (Prince Harry wants to blast those lullabies, you guys).
Next step: renovating the outside of the home. Now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have adjusted to life with their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will renovate the exterior of Frogmore Cottage.
The new renovation will focus on the exterior of the cottage and will include upgrades to the doors, windows, walls, gutters and outbuildings. The duke and duchess will also re-landscape the garden, so little Archie has an outdoor space once he’s walking wobbling on two feet.
And perhaps a few small grape trellises? Markle's gonna need a glass of the good stuff after all this uproar over renovations...