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Harry and Meghan’s £2.4m home renovation sparks backlash | UK News

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Campaigners have called for a parliamentary inquiry to be launched after it was revealed that £2.4m of taxpayers’ money was spent on refurbishing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s home.

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, questioned why the funds had been “thrown” at Meghan and Harry’s Frogmore Cottage residence while public services were under financial pressure.

The building underwent major work to turn five properties back into a single residence for the couple and their baby son Archie. All of the fixtures and fittings were paid for privately by the duke and duchess.

Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the new home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
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Frogmore Cottage had to be renovated because it was split up for staff

The multimillion-pound bill was revealed as part of the annual royal accounts.

Graham Smith, from Republic, said: “An MP spending taxpayers’ money on a private home would probably not be an MP for much longer.

“The general funds of the Treasury should not be spent on individual members of the royal family at all – even if we had all the money to spend on public services it should not be happening.

“The point about public services is it is particularly galling that they’re allowed to get away this whilst public services need money.”

Mr Smith said Republic would be asking its supporters to write to MPs to urge them to launch an inquiry into the issue of spending on the royal family.

Sir Michael Stevens, keeper of the Privy Purse, who is responsible for monarchy’s accounts, said: “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“The building was returned to a single residence and outdated infrastructure was replaced to guarantee the long-term future of the property.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.”

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Kensington Palace had previously insisted reports that the renovation works would cost between £2m and £3m were too high, with the estimates closer to £1.5m.

A royal source said the major work included replacing defective wooden ceiling beams and floor joists, and updating inefficient heating systems. The home needed substantial new electrical rewiring – including its own electrical sub-station – and new gas and water mains were installed. Some work is still to be completed such as repainting the outside of the building.

Frogmore Cottage, which is owned by the crown estate, was a gift from Harry’s grandmother. The royal source said: “The Queen has been informed of the progress of the project, throughout the project.”

The palace said an allowance is provided for a new kitchen, bathroom and other features during renovations, up to a certain specification, but if a higher quality is wanted it is paid for privately.

Prince Harry and Meghan's son Archie will be less than four weeks old when the president visits
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Prince Harry and Meghan’s son Archie will move into Frogmore

Details have not been given about the fixtures, fittings and furnishings paid for by Harry and Meghan inside the early 19th-century building.

The details came out as the accounts for the Sovereign Grant, which funds the monarchy’s official expenses were released.

They show the monarchy cost taxpayers £67m during 2018-19 – an increase of almost £20m on the previous financial year.

A large amount of the rise was due to refurbishment work at Buckingham Palace and maintaining other royal properties.

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