Harry and Meghan Frogmore eviction ‘just the start’ of King Charles’ plans to slim down monarchy
King Charles III has put into motion his plan to slim down the monarchy, with the eviction of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from Frogmore Cottage signalling “just the start”, it has been reported.
The monarch, who is set to be crowned alongside Queen Consort Camilla in just six weeks, reportedly wishes to end subsidised rents for members of the royal family over the next five years.
The expectation for royals to fund their own homes apparently also extends to working royals, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal, and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
One source was quoted as saying that the King “is not some sort of housing association for distant relatives”.
It comes after reports that the Duke of York may have to move out of his current residence, the Royal Lodge, with the King offering him the keys to Frogmore Cottage instead.
Sources close to Buckingham Palace told the Evening Standard that vice-admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, master of the household, and Sir Michael Stevens, keeper of the privy purse, will be put in charge of a period of transition after the coronation.
Meanwhile, Camilla will reportedly ensure the royal household will adhere to the “Clarence House way” of operating.
One senior figure was quoted as saying: “It is not about cuts, it is about getting the best value for money from those on the payroll. Sometimes less is more.”
Charles is reportedly preparing to reduce the number of royals who are financially dependent on the crown, particularly if they are not prominent members of the monarchy.
The report said that he is keen for the funds from the Duchy of Lancaster and the sovereign grant to be spent “more effectively” and wants to attract more talent to his workforce by offering competitive salaries and pensions.
The source warned that “staff cutbacks” have already begun, adding: “The buzz phrase is: ‘Value for money.’”
Subsidised palace accommodation and apartments dubbed “London pads” are being used by some members of the extended royal family, but Charles apparently wants to change this so that these properties can be used by outsiders.
“Properties will be let at commercial rates going forward and to people outside the family,” the source claimed. “Where it is in a palace environment they will of course be security vetted.”
It was also reported that those members of the extended family who cannot afford where they are living should “cut their cloth”. One such example may be Andrew, who has reportedly told friends that he would not be able to afford the cost of maintenance at Royal Lodge if the King cuts his £249,000 annual allowance.
A senior source told the newspaper: “A lot of practices that have evolved during the last reign will be changing. The King is not heartless or reckless, but if family members are not part of the core family and not working for the crown, it is fair for them to house themselves and fund themselves.”
It has previously been said that Charles will not “leave his brother homeless or penniless” or “deprive the Sussexes of a base in the UK”, as alternative accommodation for each party has been reportedly recommended.
After he was understood to have offered Andrew the keys to Frogmore Cottage, the King also reportedly offered Prince Harry and Meghan Markle an apartment in Buckingham Palace that used to belong to Andrew.
Charles has long been an advocate for a slimmed-down monarchy. Even before the late Queen Elizabeth II died last September and he ascended the throne, royal biographer Angela Levin said that the King has wanted to trim down the monarchy “for a very long time” in order to “save costs and make people be worth the money that they get from the taxpayer”.
In a 2021 interview, she said that the late Queen kept members of the extended family together for “sentimental reasons”. However, royal author Gyles Brandreth said if the King does slim down the monarchy into a “leaner machine”, there would be “less to gossip about”.
The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.