Harry and Megan's house renovation paid for with £2.4m of taxpayers' money

Harry and Megan
Harry and Megan

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Frogmore Cottage has been renovated with £2.4 million of taxpayers' money, royal accounts have revealed.

Harry and Meghan's country residence, close to Windsor Castle, underwent major work to turn five properties back into a single home for the couple and their baby son Archie - with all fittings and fixtures privately paid for by the duke and duchess.

It is likely they installed a luxury kitchen and bathroom and it has reportedly been fitted out with a mother-and-baby yoga room, complete with a "floating" or sprung wooden floor that replaced Victorian floorboards.

Accounts for the Sovereign Grant, which funds the Queen and her household's official expenses, show the monarchy cost the taxpayer £67 million during 2018-19 - an increase of almost £20 million on the previous financial year.

A large amount of the rise was due to work updating the decades-old services at Buckingham Palace and maintaining the occupied royal palaces.

The Core Sovereign Grant which helps fund the work of the Queen and her household, and pays for other activities like official royal travel, increased by £3.6 million to £49.3 million.

Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, who is responsible for monarchy's accounts, said of Frogmore Cottage: "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.

"The Sovereign Grant covered the work undertaken to turn the building into the official residence and home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new family.

"The building was returned to a single residence and outdated infrastructure was replaced to guarantee the long-term future of the property.

"Substantially all fixtures and fittings were paid for by Their Royal Highnesses."

A royal source said the major work on the couple's cottage included replacing defective wooden ceiling beams and floor joists, outdated and inefficient heating systems were updated, the home needed substantial new electrical rewiring, including its own electrical sub-station, and new gas and water mains were installed.

The renovation took around six months and was completed a few months before the Harry and Meghan's son Archie was born on May 6, but some works remain to be completed, such as repainting the exterior.

Frogmore Cottage, which is owned by the Crown Estate, was a gift from Harry's grandmother, who was kept updated on the work.

The royal source said: "The Queen has been informed of the progress of the project, throughout the project."