King Charles’s decision to evict Harry and Meghan from Frogmore Cottage was like ‘ripping off a Band Aid’.
Sources have told the Mail that the monarch has found the implosion of his relationship with his youngest son ‘extremely painful’.
The decision to ask the couple to vacate their Windsor home was also apparently a difficult one for the King, particularly as he was keen not to add fuel to the fire of their ongoing row.
But after Harry and Meghan’s repeated broadsides at the family over the past year – particularly their Netflix series and the prince’s memoir – the King and his staff felt they had no choice but to act.
It comes after it was reported yesterday that Charles started the eviction proceedings on January 11 – the day after Harry’s highly critical book Spare was released.
After Harry and Meghan’s repeated broadsides at the family over the past year – particularly their Netflix series and the prince’s memoir – the King and his staff felt they had no choice but to act
Sources have told the Mail that the monarch has found the implosion of his relationship with his youngest son ‘extremely painful’
Discussing the decision to start the process, a source said: ‘It was felt that it would be like ripping off a Band Aid. Painful, but once it’s done, it’s done.’
The house has already been offered to Prince Andrew who is said to be resisting pressure to ‘downsize’ from seven-bedroom Royal Lodge.
It is understood that the King is particularly keen to sort many of the nagging issues remaining around Harry, Meghan and Andrew before his coronation which have been allowed to ‘drag on’ for far too long.
Buckingham Palace was still refusing to comment today on the decision to ask the Sussexes to pack up their remaining belongings from their five-bedroom cottage at Windsor by early summer.
It is understood that they had initially been asked to quit when their lease came up for renewal next month, but had been given a stay of execution.
However a spokesman for the couple notably went on the record this week to confirm they had been ‘requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage’ – a sign of their shock and anger at the move.
The latest twist in the ongoing war of the Windsors suggests there are even more doubts over their appearance at the King’s coronation on May 6.
There were also questions tonight, as to whether the Crown Estate, which leases out Frogmore to the Sussexes, might actually end up owing the couple money.
Harry and Meghan were given use of Frogmore Cottage in 2018 by Queen Elizabeth amid their explosive fall-out with the Prince and Princess of Wales.
It was originally five, run-down, staff residences but was knocked back into one large home with a private garden initially using £2.4million in taxpayers’ money. The couple themselves paid for anything over and above basic fixtures and fittings.
But they spent just six months in the house before moving to North America, first to Canada and then California, where they have bought an £11million mansion in Montecito.
Harry and Meghan were given use of Frogmore Cottage in 2018 by Queen Elizabeth amid their explosive fall-out with the Prince and Princess of Wales
Despite several public statements from Harry that he now sees his future in the US, he and Meghan decided to reimburse the Crown Estate for the cost of renovations in a deal which included leasing Frogmore Cottage for an unspecified number of years.
The couple claimed that it would mean ‘their family would always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom’ as they pursued lucrative commercial deals abroad.
More importantly, the Sussexes also felt that paying back any public money that had been spent on Frogmore would deflect continuing criticism.
Last year royal officials confirmed that Harry and Meghan were fully ‘financially independent’ and said the couple’s decision to re-pay the £2.4million on Frogmore represented a ‘good deal’ for taxpayers.
According to the Palace’s annual accounts, the lump sum they transferred to cover the refurbishment of their former marital home on the Queen’s estate also included undisclosed future rental costs.
The couple were also said to be funding the general upkeep of their former home, like maintaining the garden, with the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant effectively acting as the ‘landlord’, undertaking more major works, such as anything needing doing to the outside of the Grade-II listed property.
A senior royal source said the rent had been calculated independently and based on market values.
‘I can be confident in saying that this is a good deal for the Sovereign Grant and the taxpayer alike,’ they added.
But if the Sussexes have paid several years of rent in advance, the sudden termination of their lease has sparked questions in royal circles as to whether they would be owed any money back.
The couple agreed to pay up front in the anticipation that they would be returning to the UK regularly despite settling in California to see family and friends.
But the implosion of their relationships with senior royals has meant they have rarely returned in the last three years.
And the decision to terminate their lease, whether they like it or not, could spark an aggressive response. It has been reported that a ‘flurry of letters’ has been passing between the Sussexes team and the Palace in recent weeks.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.