Prince Harry and Meghan to pay back Frogmore cottage bill... but it will take them 11 years
London - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are paying £18,000 (about R404 000) a month rent for Frogmore Cottage to repay taxpayers for the £2.4-million spent on renovations.
But it will take an estimated 11 years to repay the refurbishment bill for their empty UK house, assuming a 0 percent interest rate and no charge for keeping use of the property.
Prince Harry and Meghan, currently residing in an eight-bed villa in Los Angeles, reportedly started paying the fee last month for their cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
In January, after the pair’s revelation that they were quitting their royal duties, the couple said they still wanted a home in England and they "shared their wish to repay" the national expenditure on the house’s renovation.
But estimations for a person seeking to pay off such a sum over the same period – along with continued access to a similar property – suggest it could cost an estimated £30 000 a month.
On Saturday the TaxPayers’ Alliance said that the couple were getting an easy deal and they should pay back the money spent on them promptly.
Its chief executive John O’Connell said: "The jet-setting millionaire pair should be asked to pay back into the public purse at a commercial rate, whatever that rate may be, just like every other private citizen would be expected to."
Over 11 years, one month, and ten days, the total amount paid will reach the £2.4-million the couple spent on the eco-friendly renovations.
If they were to pay a market rent and maintenance cost, as well as repaying the money spent on renovations, the actual cost could be twice as high.
An 11-year repayment loan from Lloyds Bank for £2.4-million – using a five-year fixed rate mortgage deal – was yesterday being quoted at £19 638 a month.
Editor of Majesty Magazine Ingrid Seward said: "The couple are in a bit of a Catch 22. If they had to pay all £2.4-million back now, Prince Charles would end up paying for it."
The duke and duchess were criticised for their decision to step back from the Royal Family so soon after the Queen had converted the row of cottages near Windsor Castle into a wedding present for the couple.
The couple, who celebrate their second wedding anniversary this week, have reportedly spent only two weeks at Frogmore Cottage over the last six months.
After leaving the UK, the couple stayed briefly in a £10-million hideaway in Canada before making their move to Los Angeles in March.
The house – in the exclusive Beverly Ridge Estates – boasts acres of landscaped grounds and a swimming pool. It is owned by Hollywood tycoon Tyler Perry, 50, who the couple reportedly met through their mutual friend Oprah Winfrey.