Meghan Markle and Harry ordered to hand over their finances for ‘independent scrutiny’

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spent £2.4million renovating Frogmore Cottage before they moved there after their wedding in May 2019. Since leaving the Royal Family the pair have repaid the cost of the renovations and are also understood to have paid an undisclosed amount to cover the rent of their UK base.

But Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, an anti-monarchy organisation, has demanded the couple disclose just how much money was spent on the property.

He has also called for a review of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s involvement with Frogmore Cottage, which was given to them by the Queen and is owned by the Crown Estate.

He said: “What we have is a family taking advantage of their position (in relation) to public property.

“They’re working out their own finances, doing their own books and then reporting their own finances – there needs to be independent scrutiny.

“I think the Crown Estate has questions to answer about allowing the royals to use the property in this way, and why they are not more open about the financial transactions that go on in relation to the houses they let the royals have.”

It comes after a royal insider said Meghan and Harry have made a “substantial contribution” to cover refurbishment and rent for the Windsor Cottage.

The senior palace source told the Independent: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made a substantial contribution to the Sovereign Grant that covers refurbishment and rental obligations for Frogmore Cottage.

“The reporting method for this contribution has yet to be determined and will have to be agreed by the National Audit Office before appearing in next year’s accounts.”

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Reuters report the rent payment has been set at a commercial rate.

A source told the news agency: “They have fulfilled their current obligations, their debt obligations in relation to Frogmore Cottage, and they have made a payment that will recognise that they have paid for the rental of that property for a number of years.

“There will be a point in the future when they would be expected to make further payments.”

Frogmore Cottage has been a point of controversy for the couple, as Britons demanded they repaid the £2.4million after they announced they would be quitting as senior royals.

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They recently paid back the sum, after signing a lucrative deal with US streaming giant Netflix that is rumoured to be worth more than £100million.

Meghan and Harry now live in Santa Barbara California with their 16-month-old son Archie.

They have kept Frogmore Cottage, the Grade II- listed property in Windsor, as their UK base.

Royal accounts have just revealed Meghan and Harry’s tour to Southern Africa last September cost the taxpayer nearly £246,000.

The flights for the official visit came to nearly a quarter of a million pounds and were the most expensive royal journey of 2019-2020, according to the royal financial records.

The visit was approved by the Foreign Office and helped to highlight the work of numerous charities.

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