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Buckingham Palace struck a deal with Harry and Meghan to let them live at Frogmore Cottage rent-free

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex struck a deal with Buckingham Palace to pay no further rent on Frogmore Cottage after refunding the £2.4 million taxpayers paid for its refurbishment, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

It had been reported that the Sussexes would pay a ‘commercial rate’ for the five-bedroom mansion on the Windsor estate. But Palace officials last night confirmed that the lump-sum payment wiped out the couple’s rental obligations as the increased value of the property following the work was taken as ‘rent in lieu’.

A Palace spokesperson said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a contribution of £2.4 million to the Sovereign Grant which covered the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage. They have fulfilled their financial obligations in relation to the property.

‘In line with usual practice for the Sovereign Grant report, the accounting treatment was scrutinised and signed off by the National Audit Office and the Treasury. As with any such agreement between landlord and tenant, further details regarding the Sussexes’ tenancy arrangements would be a private matter.’

But last night one critic reacted angrily to the emergence of the deal.

Norman Baker, a former Cabinet Minister and Privy Counsellor, said: ‘It is outrageous that Harry and Meghan should be able to live in a huge house on these terms while regular people struggle to put food on the table.’ He is now demanding to know how many Royal Family properties are rented out below the market rate.

Buckingham Palace announced in November 2019 that the Sussexes would have Frogmore Cottage as their official residence. They moved in the following spring after renovation work transformed it from a series of separate cottages into one large family home.

But when they stepped back from Royal duties to become ‘financially independent’, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying it was Harry and Meghan’s ‘wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home’.

Source of data and images: dailymail

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