The family will keep Frogmore Cottage despite moving to California.

By Stacey Leasca
May 21, 2020

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are ready to leave their old life behind. But, before they can really strike out on their own they have to settle a few royal debts. Namely, they have to pay back the taxpayer money they used to build their dream home, Frogmore Cottage.

In January, when the duo announced they’d be stepping down from their roles as senior members of the royal family, they also announced their plans to become financially independent. This meant they’d no longer be taking money from the Sovereign Grant, a taxpayer-funded account that helps the royal family maintain their duties. This also meant paying back the nearly $3 million they used from the grant to renovate their home.

And now, it seems that promise is coming to fruition. According to The Daily Mail, the couple has quietly begun the repayment process. The couple is now on a sort of payment plan,  repaying a reported £18,000 (about $22,000) a month.

While that sum may sound like a lot, The Daily Mail calculated that at this rate it will take the couple more than 11 years to cover the cost, without accounting for interest.

The cost, The Times explained, is part of a “rental plus” agreement. Because the couple gave up their royal lives they are not entitled to the home, but rather, are able to use it under “grace and favor,” meaning they must pay rent. And, in making the payments, the couple shows they at least intend to continue using the home as their base whenever they are actually in the United Kingdom.

However, as Marie Claire noted, those visits may be few and far between. The couple has only visited the United Kingdom for two weeks in the last six months, and little baby Archie has spent less than half his life there. But, something tells us the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aren’t quite homesick just yet thanks to their swanky new American digs.