Britain’s Prince Harry has reimbursed British taxpayers for the £ 2.4 million renovation costs of a cottage on the grounds of Queen Elizabeth II’s Windsor estate, the family home he shares with his wife Meghan Markle.
Frogmore Cottage has an Indian connection that dates back to the Raj when it was presented to Abdul Karim as a royal gift by Queen Victoria, then Empress of India, as a token of her affection for her Indian aide and confidante.
In 2018, the Queen presented the cottage to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as a wedding gift.
The couple briefly lived in the cabin with their newborn baby Archie before finally moving to the United States earlier this year when they stepped down as Frontline Royals. A spokesman for Prince Harry confirmed on Monday that he had made a payment into the Sovereign Grant to cover taxpayer-funded cleanup costs, an issue that had been picked up by parts of the UK media.
“The Duke of Sussex contributed to the Sovereign Grant,” said the spokesman.
“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 British residence of the Duke and his family,” the spokesman said.
The announcement comes days after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan signed a £ 112 million deal with streaming giant Netflix to “create content that informs but also gives hope”.
Frogmore Cottage is a Grade I listed historic property given to Queen Victoria Adul Karim, whom the then monarch referred to as her “Munshi” and Urdu teacher.
He was only 24 years old when he came to England from Agra to present Queen Victoria with a special mohar or gold coin on the occasion of her golden jubilee in 1887.
He quickly got close to the aging monarch, who gave him many gifts, including the hut.
“Queen Victoria gave it to Abdul Karim as a special gift. She often visited the hut and had tea with him and his wife. He had decorated the house with many exotic items, including gifts given to him by European kings,” said Shrabani Basu , the author of ‘Victoria and Abdul: The Extraordinary True Story of the Queen’s Most Confidante’.
“There is a sad corner in the story, too. Hours after Queen Victoria’s funeral, the new King Edward VII ordered all letters from his mother to Abdul Karim to be confiscated from his home.
They were burned in a campfire outside Frogmore Cottage and Abdul Karim was ordered to return home, “said Ms. Basu, whose book is the basis for the Oscar-nominated film” Victoria and Abdul “with British stars Judi Dench and Victoria as well as the Indian Actor Ali made Fazal as Abdul.
A popular royal retreat for many years, Heritage Cottage has been converted into a cozy multi-million pound family home for the newly wed royals and is expected to remain their base when they travel to the UK in the future.
It is on the quiet and secluded Frogmore House estate near Windsor Castle, surrounded by 35 acres of lush vegetation and Berkshire countryside. The property has its own man-made Frogmore Lake and is home to the Royal Burial Ground and the tombs of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.