Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's new home in Windsor cost £2.4-million (about R44-million) to renovate, royal accounts showed this week, prompting criticism from anti-monarchy campaigners. Picture: Reuters

Paris - Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's new home in Windsor cost £2.4-million (about R44-million) to renovate, royal accounts showed this week, prompting criticism from anti-monarchy campaigners.

Queen Elizabeth's grandson and his wife moved into Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate before the birth of their son Archie on May 6.

The residence, west of London, had been split into five separate homes but was turned back into one property in a six-month refurbishment ahead of their move-in.

"The property had not been the subject of work for some years and had already been earmarked for renovation," said Michael Stevens, who runs the monarchy's accounts.

"The building was returned to a single residence and outdated infrastructure was replaced to guarantee the long-term future of the property.

"All fixtures and fittings were paid for by their royal highnesses," added Stevens, whose title is Keeper of the Privy Purse.

The cost was revealed as the British monarchy published its accounts for the last financial year.

The monarchy's running costs are paid for using a slice of the profits from the land it owns, with the rest going to the government.

The renovation and rise in overall spending provoked condemnation from campaigners who want to abolish the monarchy.

"This year's increases are outrageous at a time of widespread spending cuts," said Graham Smith, chief executive of the Republic campaign group, as he called for a parliamentary inquiry.

The Frogmore Cottage costs made the front page of several newspapers.

The Daily Mail's royal expert Richard Kay wrote that critics would cite it as Harry and Meghan's "insouciance for public relations and an instinct for extravagance that sits awkwardly with their attempt to position themselves as modern".

AFP