Turning Frogmore Cottage into a royal residence for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has cost taxpayers £2.4million, and it is still not finished. It means the expense of refitting the property from five separate flats into one big five-bedroom family house is over 10 times the cost of the average UK home. Buckingham Palace officials say further costs are expected in 2020 as extensive work on the outside of the building continues. The costs are funded from the public purse through the Sovereign Grant, which totalled £82.2million last year – equivalent to £1.24 for every person in the UK. That was nearly double the previous year's cost of 69p for every man, woman and child, which was up from 65p the year before.
The huge increase is due to the massive £369million 10-year renovation of Buckingham Palace. A total of £32.9million of taxpayer funds for the Palace renovation was allocated last year – the equivalent of 50p per person. But the cost of creating a new home for Prince Harry, 34, wife Meghan, 37, and month-old son Archie has added up to 81 times the average UK salary. It does not include lavish furnishings chosen by the couple before they moved in at the end of April. Also, what's not included is the cost of extensive plans, also funded from the Sovereign Grant, which were already completed before they decided last September that they would make the house in Windsor their home.
Mark Delaney, 57, a builder and decorator who is homeless in the town, said: “That money could have been used to transform the empty buildings in Windsor into places for the homeless to sleep. “There are scores of empty rooms in Windsor Castle.” A royal source said the major work on Frogmore Cottage included replacing defective wooden ceiling beams and floor joists, fitting £50,000 of soundproof windows and updating outdated and inefficient heating systems. Palace officials said the home needed substantial new electrical rewiring, including its own electrical sub-station, and new gas and water mains.
Further renovations to the exterior walls, including painting the building, could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, under Palace rules, the Royals do not have to declare any expenses spent on the property that comes in under £350,000. It comes as the cost of Harry and Meghan’s star-studded wedding at Windsor Castle last year continues to be a mystery as Prince Charles’s household Clarence House has refused to give a breakdown. Royal sources have suggested Charles’s 'non-official expenditure' increase of £155,000 – up 5.2% to £3.16 million – could have included spending on the lavish occasion.Read More