It’s been a long six months but the renovations on Frogmore Cottage are “substantially completed” — which means Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and baby Archie no longer have to live out of boxes and suitcases and can start living normally again.
It was announced in late November that Harry and Meghan were moving out of Kensington Palace and into their new house and official residence, gifted to them by the Queen. But Frogmore needed to undergo a massive refurbishment, transforming five units of staff accommodations to a proper home fit for a Royal Family. According to People, the interior of the historic home was overhauled first before the property’s exterior was attended to and, overall, it was a costly project. Buckingham Palace released the figures of how much taxpayers paid through the Queen’s annual Sovereign Grant and it was around the $3-million mark. And that’s just for the standard stuff! If Harry and Meghan wanted to upgrade the rooms, anything deemed too expensive for the public to provide would have to come out of their pockets.
“All fixtures and fittings were paid for by their Royal Highnesses,” a source told People. “Curtains, furnishings — all that would be paid separately, paid privately. If a member of the Royal Family says, ‘We want a better kitchen than you’re prepared to provide with public money,’ then that would fall to them privately and they would have to meet the cost. If they want that higher specification, they have to pay the extra.” Funnily enough, it wasn’t fancy extras that upped the cost; if you’ve ever renovated an older property or seen a home reno show where the focus is an older home (like, say, a mid-1800s cottage), then you know surprises often come with them.
“A very large proportion of the ceiling beams and floor joists were defective and had to be replaced,” the insider detailed. “The heating systems were outdated and inefficient and were not to the environmental standards that we would expect today. The electrical system also needed to be substantially replaced and rewired, even extending to the establishment of a separate upgraded electrical substation, which was in addition to the main works on the property. And new gas and water mains had to be introduced to the property, replacing the five separate links that were there for the property before and were in a bad state of repair.”
The home improvements, while costly, are all part of a bigger picture and just a drop in the bucket of the Queen’s $55-million plan to conserve all the royal palaces. It was just a few years ago that Prince William and Duchess Kate spent millions on both their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, as well as their apartment in Kensington Palace, so the Sussexes are in good company. Nutshell? The work that needed to be done will “guarantee the long-term future of the property,” Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse told reporters at Buckingham Palace, which means a safer, more modern home for Harry, Meghan and Archie.
Frogmore now sports redecorated exterior doors, windows and walls along with new landscaping and extra garden lighting. But contrary to previous reports, the renos did not include a yoga studio or a mother-and-baby yoga room with a floating floor, reports People. Details of the rest of the cozy home’s interior have yet to be released, which means we’ll just have to patiently wait until Meghan’s Vogue spread comes out.