- As reported in People, Frogmore Cottage renovations in 2018-2019 cost about $3 million dollars and included significant changes to just about everything in the house.
- Harry and Meghan paid for a portion of renovations themselves, for things that would include cosmetic improvements, "anything moveable," and anything on the grounds.
- The cottage was deemed completed in April, which would have been juuuust before Meghan gave birth.
Oooo I love new house details. This year's Sovereign Grant report just came out (detailing how the British royals have spent funds via U.K. government grant) and for the 2018-2019 year, we got details on those substantial renovations that the originally "dilapidated" Frogmore Cottage had to undergo to be ready for Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and then baby Archie Harrison to move in.
There's no yoga studio or mom-and-baby yoga room (I kind of loved the idea of Meghan and Archie zenning out together, but I get it). Apparently, Frogmore was converted from a single family home into five individual units, so it had to be restored to its "original form" first, which in itself must have been challenging.
There was also apparently a ton of work needed for the heating systems (inefficient, not up to environmental standards), rewiring the electrical system (including a new, upgraded electrical substation), and new gas and water mains. “A very large proportion of the ceiling beams and floor joists were defective and had to be replaced,” added a source talking to People. Apparently all that took about six months, which TBH, sounds really fast to me considering the house must have been at least partially gutted to change everything.
However, despite the substantial work, "'anything moveable' or in the cottage gardens has been paid for by Harry and Meghan themselves." So the couple actually dipped into their own accounts to help pay for the cost—including, probably, that fab vegetable garden the Sussexes added to their home. "All fixtures and fittings were paid for by their Royal Highnesses," said a source. "Curtains, furnishings—all that would be paid separately, paid privately."
The source added, "If a member of the royal family says, ‘We want a better kitchen than you’re prepared to provide with public money,’ then that would fall to them privately and they would have to meet the cost." The same might go for an upgraded wardrobe or bathroom, for example.
We got a sense of how much renovations cost to the public (note that this isn't the total cost, which could be higher): about $3 million, which is actually lower than the cost to Prince William and Kate Middleton's refurb on Kensington Palace in 2014. Royal reporter Chris Ship tweeted that Kate Middleton and Prince William spent £4.5 million (about $5.73 million) at the time.
And Daily Mail royal reporter Rebecca English pointed out that the reports shows that the royals have reigned in spending overall, but that there's always room for improvement. So, the seeming high dollar (or pound) value of the cost of the house to the taxpayer actually isn't too bad (Chris Ship says it's about 4 pence/6 cents for the British taxpayer). Not too shabby!
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