Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have repaid £ 2.4million (around $ 3.16million) in public money that was used to renovate their residence on the grounds of Windsor Castle, a said the couple on Monday.
The announcement comes days after Harry and Meghan, who have lived in Los Angeles since March, signed a deal with Netflix for an undisclosed amount to produce films, shows and documentaries.
The renovation of their British residence, Frogmore Cottage, became a major point of criticism when the couple decided to leave the frontline royals earlier this year.
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Some critics have accused them of wanting to escape royal duties while retaining some of the perks – namely living in the historic residence after it was refurbished with £ 2.4million of UK taxpayer money.
The couple have already said they will repay that money. And on Monday, a spokesperson said they had made a contribution that “fully covered the costs of necessary renovations” of the chalet, which “would remain the British residence of the Duke and his family”.
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The money was repaid in something called the “sovereign grant,” which is the money that is generated by a vast state-run property empire. The government gives members of the royal family a share of that, about $ 100 million a year, to run their affairs. The Newly Independent Sussexes no longer receive this.
While Meghan was wealthy throughout her acting career long before meeting Harry, her husband’s estimated net worth of $ 40 million is largely due to legacies from the Queen, the Queen Mother and her late mother, Princess Diana.
The couple shocked the world in January with their decision to step down from royal duties to pursue a “revised role” and “a more independent family life.” Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, is still sixth to the throne, and he and Meghan will retain their royal ‘HRH’ prefixes, without actively using them.
It has been a dramatic turnaround since their marriage in 2018. The image of a biracial alien woman welcomed into the cradle of white and traditionalist Britain has been heralded as a historic moment.
The atmosphere quickly disintegrated, with the couple and their supporters calling out what they saw as toxic coverage in the UK press which they said often turned into racism and sexism.