The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have finally vacated Frogmore Cottage after being given notice of eviction by the King at the start of this year. Sir Michael Stevens, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, confirmed that Prince Harry and Meghan had left the five-bedroom property on the Windsor estate.
But a senior royal aide insisted that no decision had been taken on who will now move into the house, amid reports that the King would like to persuade his disgraced brother Prince Andrew to downsize from his seven-bedroom Royal Lodge home and live at Frogmore Cottage.
It cost British taxpayers £2.4million to turn the cottage, formerly divided into flats for staff, into a home for Harry and Meghan and after the couple quit official royal duties, they repaid the money in a deal that also covered several years’ rent. It is not clear if the Sussexes have clawed some of that money back after being kicked out.
Sir Michael, the King’s most senior financial advisor, said: “We can confirm that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have vacated Frogmore Cottage.
“We will not be going into any detail on those arrangements here, save to say that as has previously been stated, the Duke and Duchess have paid for the expenditure incurred by the Sovereign Grant in relation to the renovation of Frogmore Cottage, thus leaving the Crown with a greatly enhanced asset.”
The cottage, acquired by Queen Victoria in the 19th century, forms part of the taxpayer-funded Occupied Royal Palaces estate.
Andrew, who plans to refurbish Royal Lodge in the coming months, has the 30-room house on a 75-year lease from the independent Crown Estate.
So far reports suggest the Prince is refusing to move from his home, which he shares with his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.
Earlier this year a source told OK! magazine: “Andrew is adamant that he is staying at Royal Lodge for the remainder of his lease.
“He will not move into Frogmore without a fight. Royal Lodge is his home and he will do everything in his power to remain in the property.”
Following their departure from the Royal Family Harry and Meghan moved into their Montecito home in the US where they live with their two children, Prince Archie, four and Princess Lilibet, two.
Prince Harry reportedly spent three nights at Frogmore Cottage in a recent three-day visit as up until now the couple kept it as their base in the UK.
Meghan and Harry also reportedly stayed at the house during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations last June – along with their two children, Archie and Lilibet.