Great Britain

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘have cost British taxpayer £44m’, claims royal author

AN AUTHOR who penned a scathing book on the royal family says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have cost taxpayers more than £44million in just two years.

Writer and former Lib Dem MP Norman Baker claims Brits have forked out a fortune on the couple from their wedding day two years ago up until March 31 this year, when the pair stepped back from royal life.

But Mr Baker, writing in the Daily Mail, has suggested the true figure could actually be much higher.

Here's where he claims the millions went.

£2.4m - Frogmore cottage refurb

Meghan and Harry lived in Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace when they were first married.

During their stay, a year-long programme of works - reportedly costing £1.4million - was carried out at the much larger Apartment 1 nearby.

It is likely the work would have been carried out regardless.

However, the couple decided to move itno Frogmore Cottage within the Windsor Castle estate instead.

The renovations needed to turn it into a family home came in at £2.4million.

The newlyweds moved in during early summer in 2019, but stayed for less than six months before heading to Canada.

They say they will repay the renovation costs for Frogmore Cottage at a rate of £18,000 a month, which will also cover rent.

Mr Baker claims that, assuming a rent of £10,000 a month, it will take them 25 years to repay the renovation costs.

That figure is without interest or ongoing maintenance.

£600,000 - Staff costs 
Until March 31, when they ceased to be working royals, the couple had a team of 15.

Employees included a private secretary, on a salary of £146,000 a year, a PR director and a full team of servants including a housekeeper earning £30,000 per annum.

Office staff would have been paid for by the Sovereign Grant.

The couple also employed a nanny from their private funds.

Most of their staff were no longer required when the couple moved to Canada, so there may well have also been redundancy payments.

In Canada, is it suggested the couple have a whole new team, including PR firms, household staff and lawyers.

UK taxpayers are unlikely to be footing the cost for the new team.

£7m - Security costs 

The couple enjoy travelling around the world together.

In February 2019, Meghan flew to New York for a baby shower widely reported to have cost several hundred thousand pounds.

She disputes that figure.

Last August, Meghan and Harry spent a weekend with George and Amal Clooney at their villa in Italy.

They have also visited Elton John's villa in the South of France.

On many occasions, celebrity friends paid for their private jets, although the royal pair are always accompanied by protection officers.

Both the security detail themselves and their business class travel will be paid for by the taxpayer.

As Meghan and Harry are keeping Frogmore Cottage as their UK base, a security detail is believed to remain in place - despite the fact that the property isn't occupied.

Mr Baker suggested that cost alone could be £5million a year.

The bill for the ongoing security falls to Thames Valley Police.

When the Sussexes moved to Canada, protection officers from the Metropolitan Police had to go as well to work alongside the Mounties, incurring a bill for both British and Canadian taxpayers.

£1.9m - Tax saving of Charles gifts 

Since the wedding, it has been claimed that Prince Charles is giving Harry £2.3million a year.

He is expected to do so for at least a year.

The funding comes from the profits from the Duchy of Coenwall, established in the 14th century to provide an income stream for the heir to the throne.

Prince Charles is allowed to classify this allowance to Harry as a business expense, which he can set against tax.

£1m - Travel bill

In March 2019, Prince Harry took a helicopter journey costing an estimated £5,000 from London to Birmingham.

Last August, the Duke racked up four flights in private jets in 11 days.

In 2018/19 the couple flew to Australia and Singapore at a cost of £81,002, as well as a trip to Norway which cost £22,880.

Mr Baker estimated £400,000 each for their travel in the two years of their marriage, with a slight increase to take account of trips to travel to and from Canada.

£33.5m - Wedding

The total bill for the wedding is estimated to be £33.5million.

This is an increase of £1.5 million on the previously reported cost, which was calculated by wedding company Bridebook.

The revised figure now includes sums incurred by the Department for ­Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Of the new total, the royals reportedly contributed only about £2million — leaving the taxpayer to pick up 94 per cent of the cost.

The vast majority of this went on security, which has been estimated at £30million.

The DCMS's bill of £1.5million covered items including a £232,810 PA system, £128,714 for private contractors and £14,081 for flags and banners.

The taxpayers of Windsor and Maidenhead saw their council splurge more than £1million on crowd control barriers, big screens, stewarding and waste disposal.

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