We may be footing the bill, but the public have been kept in the dark about the details of a multi-million-pound refit to Prince Harry and Meghan’s new home.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to move into Frogmore Cottage, in the grounds of the Windsor Estate, after it was given to them by the Queen.
The couple, who are expecting their first child in April, are likely to arrive from Kensington Palace in the spring.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to move into Frogmore Cottage, in the grounds of the Windsor Estate, after it was given to them by the Queen
Meghan and Harry, who are expecting their first child in April, are likely to arrive from Kensington Palace in the spring
The 19th century cottage has been used as rented accommodation for members of the royal staff and had fallen into disrepair.
Now a planning application for the Grade II-listed building has been lodged with the council ahead of the move by Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37. But security concerns mean the plans have been kept private.
A ‘special note’ on the application states it contains ‘sensitive information’ and that the usual plans, architect’s drawings and other documents have not been made public.
Similar levels of secrecy surrounded plans for renovations at Anmer Hall in Norfolk before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge moved into the Georgian manor on Sandringham Estate.
Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, which is located near Frogmore House on the Frogmore Estate, will be the new residence of Harry and Meghan from early 2019
The 19th century cottage has been used as rented accommodation for members of the royal staff and had fallen into disrepair
Harry and Meghan held their wedding reception at Frogmore House, which overlooks the two-storey, stucco-faced cottage, and their engagement pictures were taken in the grounds.
It is understood that Harry and Meghan hope to turn Frogmore Cottage into a five-bedroom family home, with space for a nursery and a live-in nanny. They currently live in two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said the costs of any substantial building work would be covered by the Sovereign Grant, which is ultimately funded by the taxpayer.
Decorative work inside the cottage is expected to be paid for by Harry and Meghan, whose wedding cost the public purse £3.4million.
The newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, leaving Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House
Frogmore is currently divided into five flats, meaning there would be space for separate accommodation for Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland
Frogmore is currently divided into five flats, meaning there would be space for separate accommodation for Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
The 62-year-old former social worker is expected to be a ‘hands-on’ grandmother, and to stay with the Sussexes on a regular basis.
Frogmore is also less than half a mile from Windsor Castle, meaning the new baby’s great-grandmother the Queen would be close at hand.
Officials from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have already approved a planning application to refit the cottage and install two ‘orangery’ extensions.
The Royal Family – including Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Charles – in the grounds of Frogmore House, Windsor, Berkshire
The plans, approved in July, also included permission for a bedroom to be built above a studio in the grounds of the cottage, meaning it could potentially be used as a luxury ‘granny flat’.
A further planning application was submitted in October after it was announced that the duchess was pregnant, and it has yet to be approved.
The application seeks the council’s permission for internal and external works at the cottage, and ‘landscaping’ in its grounds but no further details have been made public.
A note on the file states: ‘The the application contains sensitive information and therefore the public register is not accompanied by any forms, drawings or supporting documents. The application will be advertised in the usual way but there is no additional information that is publicly disclosable.’
A planning officer who approved the first application noted that parts of the cottage and the studio had fallen into disrepair.
The official said original features including fireplaces had been removed and internal stud walls added to divide the cottage into five rented units, used by Royal Household staff.Security is expected to be stepped up before Harry and Meghan move in.