Following the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are leaving Kensington Palace, and will no longer be neighbours with Kate Middleton and Prince William, work has reportedly already begun to renovate their new home.
Over the weekend, Kensington Palace confirmed the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's move to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor in a statement, revealing that, "Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate. The Duke and Duchess’s official office will continue to be based at Kensington Palace." As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married at Windsor Castle back in May 2018, it makes sense that it's a special location for them both and that they'd want to build their family home there.
Harry & Meghan will keep their Cotswold pad as their “country home” while Frogmore Cottage will be their main official home.— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) November 23, 2018
Full story here...https://t.co/vKVvPIpw1n
According to the Daily Mail's royal correspondent Rebecca English, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are wasting no time in getting their new cottage ready. As English writes, "Work, it can be revealed, has already started on the 'cottage', turning it from five separate staff flats into a five (not ten, as previously reported) bedroom home for Harry, Meghan, their two dogs and, eventually, their new baby."
Apparently, the countryside setting has been a big draw for the couple, who reportedly don't want their child growing up in the "goldfish bowl" that is Kensington Palace.
But as the property is fairly old — the Grade II-listed Frogmore was built between 1680 and 1684, and designed by Charles II's architect, Hugh May — it needs updating before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry can move in. Rebecca English describes Frogmore Cottage as a "somewhat run-down employee quarters," and it's thought that the renovations will be pretty costly to bring it up to standard. And as anyone who's ever watched HGTV knows, a build rarely comes in under budget.
According to The Telegraph, the cottage will be modified to include a spa, a yoga studio, and a nursery, with English revealing in the Daily Mail that space will also be created to host Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, and to house "a nanny and police protection officer." In contrast, Meghan and Harry were reportedly offered the Kensington Palace apartment next door to Kate Middleton and Prince William's, which was said to include up to 21-bedrooms. Frogmore Cottage is a much more modest property by royal standards, especially as it needs to accommodate so many people.
The cost of the Frogmore Cottage renovations is already a point of contention as Harry and Meghan aren't paying themselves — the money is coming from the Sovereign Grant, which is funded by taxpayers in the United Kingdom, and covers certain Royal Family expenses. As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are working royals, the cost of renovating their home is an allowable, if potentially large, expense. However, the Daily Mail points out that "Any fixtures and fittings and decorating over and above essential work will be met by the couple themselves."
One of the most costly aspects of the update will probably revolve around Frogmore Cottage's current lack of security. Evening Standard describes how "The house is currently protected only by a low metal gate and fence with a 'Private' sign hanging on it." With two high-profile members of the royal family moving in, and their new baby, public access to the property will need to be prevented.
But with the work already underway, Meghan and Harry could be in their new home sometime in the new year, with the Evening Standard revealing that "A planning application has been lodged" to make extensive changes to the property, although further details weren't yet available.