The Royal Household just published its annual financial statement, called the Sovereign Grant Report, to show how the portion of the Queen’s money provided by taxpayers is being used. This year, that money included about $3 million used to renovate the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new home, Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle.
The royal couple renovated the interior of the historic home earlier this year in anticipation of the arrival of Archie Harrison. More recently, they’ve attended to the outside of the property, redecorating the exterior doors, windows and walls and upgrading some of the outbuildings — while also re-landscaping the garden and adding some extra garden lighting too.
While the British taxpayer has paid for the overall renovation costs through the Queen’s annual Sovereign Grant, “anything moveable” or in the cottage gardens was paid for by Harry and Meghan themselves.
“All fixtures and fittings were paid for by their Royal Highnesses,” says a source. “Curtains, furnishings — all that would be paid separately, paid privately.”
Kate Middleton and Prince William also spent a chuck of the Sovereign Grant on renovations when they moved into their current home at Kensington Palace. It was revealed in 2014 that more than $5 million was spent transforming offices into an apartment for the Cambridges, with work including electrical services, new heating, hot and cold water, the removal of asbestos and a “simple redecoration.”
Like Meghan and Harry, Kate and William also dipped into their own pockets for a new kitchen and furnishings.
A source tells PEOPLE, “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. If they want that higher specification, they have to pay the extra.”
Over the past six months, Frogmore Cottage was converted from five small dormitory-style units to a five-bedroom home. Outdated heating and electrical systems were replaced, and new gas and water mains were introduced to the property.
In addition, “a very large proportion of the ceiling beams and floor joists were defective and had to be replaced,” adds the source about the mid-1800s cottage. (Contrary to past reports, there is no “floating floor” yoga studio.)
The end result is that Harry and Meghan now have a cozy — and very private — home to raise Archie.
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While the $3 million construction costs may seem high for a newlywed’s first pad, it’s all part of the wider $55 million spent by the Queen to conserve the royal palaces over the past 12 months.
This conservation work is largely funded by an annual $63 million Sovereign Grant given to the Queen by the U.K. Government to maintain the royal palaces on behalf of the nation — a role that she and the rest of the royal family take extremely seriously.
“The property had not been the subject of work for some years and had already been earmarked for renovation in line with our responsibility to maintain the condition of the occupied Royal Palaces Estate,” Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse told reporters at Buckingham Palace on Monday.