The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been asked to vacate their British base of Frogmore Cottage, their spokesperson has confirmed. The Grade-II listed 10-bedroom property, located in the grounds of Windsor Castle in Berkshire, was a gift to the couple from the late Queen.
Prince Harry and Meghan refurbished the property, owned by the Crown Estate, at an estimated cost of £2.4m in 2018-19. The cost was initially covered by taxpayers through the Sovereign Grant before being repaid in full by the Duke. It is believed that Buckingham Palace asked the couple to leave the property in January 2021, days after Harry published his memoir, Spare.
The cottage has a rich and varied history. Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, had it built in 1792 as a place for her and her daughters to escape the court. At the time it was fashionable for the wealthy to build large homes disguised as idyllic rural cottages. Surviving relatives of Tsar Nicholas II also lived there after fleeing to the UK, following the murder of other family members by Bolsheviks in 1918. Since World War Two, the cottage is believed to have been used as a home for members of royal household staff, before Prince Harry and Meghan moved in.
The couple now live in California with their two children, Archie and Lilibet. They quit life as working royals in 2020 and left the UK shortly afterwards. It was earlier reported that the home had been offered to the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who lives in the nearby 31-bedroom Royal Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, Berkshire. Reports in recent weeks suggested that King is to cut Andrew’s annual grant which could leave him unable to afford his home’s running costs.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s departure from Frogmore Cottage follows the release of Harry’s explosive memoir, Spare, which included claims that he was physically attacked by his brother, the Prince of Wales, and that he and his brother begged their father not to marry Camilla, now Queen Consort. Prince Andrew stepped down as a working royal in 2019 after a controversial Newsnight interview about allegations that he had sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre. He has repeatedly denied the allegations and paid an undisclosed sum to settle the civil sexual assault case Ms Giuffre brought against him in February 2022.