Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have repaid $4.3 million (£2.4 million) in public money used to refurbish a house on the grounds of Windsor Castle after they signed a contract with Netflix to produce programs.
Frogmore Cottage last year became the official residence of the couple but after they announced in January that they would seek new careers outside the royal family, Harry and Meghan said they would repay the money spent on refurbishing it.
"A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by The Duke of Sussex (Harry)," a representative for the couple said.
"This contribution as originally offered by Prince Harry has fully covered the necessary renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, a property of Her Majesty The Queen, and will remain the UK residence of The Duke and his family."
It was announced last year that Harry and Meghan’s new official residence would be at Frogmore Cottage and that “Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses.”
Frogmore Cottage underwent renovations in 2019 to turn it from five separate properties to a family home for the couple and their baby son, Archie.
Works included the rewiring of electrics, the replacement of ceilings and flooring, along with the addition of new bathrooms, bedrooms and a kitchen.
While officials said fixtures and fittings were ‘substantially’ paid for by Harry and Meghan, the cost to the taxpayer was thought to be immense, given that exterior painting and landscaping needed to be completed on the Grade II listed property.
At the time ITV’s Good Morning Britain ran a poll on Twitter, asking users whether the taxpayer should pay for the redevelopment of Harry and Meghan's official residence.
“NO!! Our NHS, Police and schools are grossly under funded, families are relying on food banks..the list goes on! Taxpayers funding their renovations is abysmal,” was one outraged response.
“I’m very fond of the young Royal couple and think Harry works very hard! However, no way should the tax payer foot this bill,” another agreed. “Frogmore is to be their own private home and between them they have more than enough money to fund renovations themselves!”
In 2014, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also scrutinised for the $8.2 million spent renovating Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace.
And while taxpayers’ have footed the bill for Meghan and Harry’s home renovations, the figure for the refit of Buckingham Palace in 2018 is considerably higher at $60 million. The ten-year refurbishment project is set to cost $673 million in total.
With extra reporting by AAP