The Duke of Sussex received some happy birthday news today when he was given the green light to complete his dream home – with the planting of a ‘privacy hedge’.
Work on the gardens at Frogmore Cottage, the new permanent home of Harry – who turns 35 today – Meghan and Baby Archie – included a £4,000 ‘outdoor seating and cooking area’ complete with hand-built BBQ, is ‘very nearly finished’, according to a Royal Source.
The couple had applied for retrospective planning consent for parts of ‘external landscaping works’ in the garden after using a different design to the one approved by the council.
The patio deck area also has a hand-built BBQ in it so keen cooks Harry and Meghan can rustle up something delicious for their family and friends
And the new design is understood to include a ‘privacy hedge’ thicket of new trees to shield the house from a nearby public footpath, as well as an organic vegetable plot within a kitchen garden, the Sunday Express reported.
The ‘privacy hedge’ is also likely to further shield the couple’s home from a path which is open to the public for three days a year when Frogmore House is open.
Meghan and Prince Harry have also incorporated a £4,000 ‘outdoor seating and cooking area’ into their designs.
The patio deck area is where the hand-built BBQ will be housed, so keen cooks Harry and Meghan can rustle up something delicious for their family and friends.
The new design is understood to include a ‘privacy hedge’ thicket of new trees to shield the house from a nearby public footpath. The hedge is also likely to shield against a path which is part of the gardens of Frogmore House and is open to the public three days a year.
The plans were only finally approved by Windsor and Maidenhead Council on Friday night and the couple had been waiting for two months for the decision.
The couple will now not be forced to reverse the work at their pad by reversing what had already been completed.
The exact details of the changes made to the original application are unclear because large parts have been redacted – which will add further to the growing secrecy row faced by the couple.
Sources have insisted that the couple’s new entertaining and cooking space is ‘cosy’ rather than grand, rather like the house itself (pictured: Frogmore Cottage)
The decision had taken so long that the council had breached their own deadline, which passed on Wednesday.
Royal builders now have three years to complete the work.
Outdoor kitchens – some costing tens of thousands of pounds – are hugely fashionable now, even in England where the weather can be slightly less predictable than California.
But sources have insisted that the couple’s new entertaining and cooking space is ‘cosy’ rather than grand, rather like the house itself.
A royal source said: ‘Living in the countryside, the Duchess feels that the outside is just as important as the inside especially in the summer when relaxing in the garden.
‘As part of the large scale development of Frogmore Cottage, it was suggested that the Duke and Duchess wanted a cosy outdoor area where they could entertain guests and allow them to relax.
‘It is perfectly placed so it is in keeping with the special listed character of Frogmore Cottage and looks out onto a lovely countryside garden, complimenting the orangeries.
‘The area includes a new patio deck with hand built outdoor BBQ. Cosy outdoor seating also gives give them a perfect place to host their family and friends.
‘Works to the property are very nearly finished. They have been living in a bit of a building site this year.
‘It’s understood that the outdoor seating area an BBQ cost up to £4,000 to install.
‘It’s not overly grand, though. Quite cosy really. It’s somewhere to cook and hang out with their friends.’
The royal couple moved into the Grade II listed Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate in April ahead of the birth of their first child Archie after an extensive £2.65 million renovation funded by £2.4m from the taxpayer and £250,000 from themselves, according to sources.
Harry and Meghan, pictured with Baby Archie in July, had Frogmore Cottage gifted to them by the Queen
The building had been divided into separate homes for royal household staff so required a massive rebuilding programme.
The further £250,000 of their own money has gone on fixtures and fitting – including the BBQ and seating area.
The cottage has been gifted to them by the Queen, whom they now visit regularly with their baby son Archie when she is at Windsor Castle.
Under planning law, a retrospective planning application is submitted to the council if a change is made to a property that requires planning permission and approval has not been sought.
A local authority can also request that a retrospective planning application is submitted for the work that has already carried out.
However, it does not mean that planning permission will automatically be granted and the application will be treated in the usual way.
An aerial view of Frogmore Cottage where Harry and Meghan live. The royal couple moved into the Grade II listed Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate in April
If the retrospective application is refused, the local authority can issue an enforcement notice which could require the couple to reverse any changes made to Frogmore Cottage.
Under the plans revealed by a well-placed royal source last month, the plans include provision for a Tennis or Badminton Court at the couple’s Windsor home.
There are also said to be plans for exterior painting and landscaping, the installation of security lights and the planting of £20,000-worth of fast-growing shrubs and trees.
Frogmore Cottage is located near of Windsor Castle, the Queen’s summer residence, and St George’s Chapel, where Harry and Meghan tied the knot in May as millions around the world watched on TV.
Royal sources say that the royal estate is a ‘very special place’ for the couple.
A spokesman for the couple at Buckingham Palace said they were unable to comment ‘on the layout and contents of Their Royal Highnesses’s official residence and private home’.
Sources stressed, however, that ‘outdoor entertaining spaces’ are privately funded by the couple.