Prince Harry and Meghan have been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage


LONDON – Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have been asked to give up the royal residence gifted to them by Queen Elizabeth II.

“We can confirm that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been asked to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage,” a spokesman for the couple said in an email.

It is unclear why the couple are now being asked to leave their five-bedroom home in Windsor. But the request comes ahead of the May coronation of Harry’s father, Charles III, and a major government review of the royal family’s finances. Frogmore Cottage is part of the Crown Estate, meaning it technically belongs to the King.

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In a “world exclusive”. Frogxit, the Sun tabloid, citing unnamed sources, said the house had been offered to Prince Andrew, who lives in a large royal estate in Windsor. The newspaper also said the king plans to cut his younger brother’s state stipend. A spokeswoman for Andrew did not respond to emailed questions from The Washington Post. Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

As a practical, day-to-day thing, giving up Frogmore wouldn’t be a big deal for Harry and Meghan. Now they are no longer “working royals”, their home base is in California, and although they regularly stay at home during their visits to Britain, those trips are infrequent.

But Harry has publicly said he wants to mend his family relationships – even if his memoirs leak private conversations and publicize family feuds. This ouster may cast further doubt on whether he will be welcomed back into the fold.

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It is not clear whether Harry and Meghan will visit Britain in May for the coronation, and if so, where they will stay.

Harry is suing the British government over his security arrangements while in the country. Although he travels with his own security, he prefers to pay specially trained British police officers who have access to UK intelligence. Meanwhile, the government has resisted setting a precedent where individuals can pay the police.

In his memoir, “Spare,” Harry recounts asking his grandmother, the Queen, for help after he and Meghan found their accommodation at Nottingham Cottage in London too small. The Queen recommended Frogmore, which she said was lovely but “a bit of a building site” at the time. Harry described it as “charming, full of energy” and told the Queen it was a “dream come true”.

He and Megan began renovating the property — and they created a public controversy using $3.2 million in taxpayer money. They repaid the money after announcing in January 2020 that they were stepping down from their jobs as members of the royal family.

If Frogmore moves to Prince Andrew, his living arrangements will drop a notch.

Andrew was thrust into the royal wilderness last year amid a lawsuit filed by an American who alleged he was forced to have sexual encounters with her when she was a teenager. Andrew did nothing wrong, but settled the case. The queen stripped him of his titles and patronage.

But he stayed at the Royal Lodge, three miles from Windsor Castle. Although the couple is divorced, he has lived there with Sarah Ferguson since 2004. The Queen’s corgis have lived there since her death in September.

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In his memoirs”Spare,” Harry describes the Royal Lodge as “one foot in another world” with “dizzying high ceilings” and a “cobbled driveway that meanders quietly through lush gardens.”

The Sun tabloid reported that Andrew’s “annual £249,000 stipend is to be cut so he can no longer cover the costs of the Royal Lodge”. The newspaper said Andrew was opposed to moving from a 31-bedroom lodge to a five-bedroom cottage.

Charles has long signaled that he wants to scale back the monarchy, and people are watching to see if that translates into a more modest lifestyle for the royal family.

The British government is also in the midst of a review of the formula for the taxpayer-funded “sovereign grant” – done every five years. The money is used for the royal family’s working expenses, salaries of staff, palace renovations and travel expenses. Any changes to the formula are expected to take effect next month.

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