Harry and Meghan’s UK Home Closing, Signalling Long-Term Move to Canada: Report

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 19: Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex wave as they leave Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House, hosted by the Prince of Wales on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Steve Parsons - …
Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Frogmore Cottage is reportedly being shuttered while staff have been redeployed to other roles across the Royal estates, according to reports, signalling Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will not be living in the UK in any meaningful way.

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last week that they would be stepping back as “senior” royals, they had said that they would split their time between North America and the United Kingdom, with the couple confirming on their website that they “will continue to use Frogmore Cottage” as their UK base.

However, according to sources speaking to the Daily Mail, staff at the property are being moved to other roles in the Royal household. A source said: “The workers are already being offered other roles at Buckingham Palace.

“There is a skeleton staff there all the time, consisting of one cleaner and a house manager. Others work as and when needed.

“This has all come as a bit of shock. They took great pride in working for them and being at Frogmore.”

The newspaper claims that “several” royal sources have said they doubt that Meghan Markle will return to the UK to stay for any longterm period, despite promises the Sussexes will live part of the time in the UK. The duchess has already returned to Canada, having left the day after she and her husband made the announcement.

One source said: “Outside of anything that is being decided between the private offices [the nerve centres of royal operations] and the British and Canadian governments this week, no-one here believes that the duchess will ever really return to the UK in a meaningful way.”

While Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has said that she is “entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family”, the Daily Mail reported she is privately unhappy with the amount of money spent on refurbishing the property, given the short amount of time the couple had lived there. Frogmore Cottage, originally five cottages knocked into one five-bedroom property, was refurbished for the couple at a cost of £2.4 million out of the Sovereign Grant, which is paid for by British taxpayers.

The Monarch and her grandson have notionally agreed to what amounts to a soft Megxit with a period of “transition”, while both parties agree the finer details of the separation. Notable concerns include how and whether members of the Royal Family can engage in commercial ventures and the continuation of taxpayer-funded security when abroad.

Paying to protect the royal couple appears to not only be a concern for Britons, however. A poll by the Angus Reid Institute found that nearly three-quarters of Canadians do not want the couple’s extensive security to come out of the taxpayers’ purse. While an editorial for major Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail said this week: “Canada welcomes people of all faiths, nationalities, and races, but if you’re a senior member of our Royal Family, this country cannot become your home.”

The author continued: “…this country’s unique monarchy, and its delicate yet essential place in our constitutional system, means that a royal resident – the Prince is sixth in the line of succession – is not something that Canada can allow. It breaks an unspoken constitutional taboo.”

“Canada is not a halfway house for anyone looking to get out of Britain while remaining a royal,” the column concluded.

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