Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may be poised for a lucrative return on their decision to “step back” as senior members of the royal family but doing so might be harder than they anticipated, despite making it clear that “they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives,” as Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement agreeing to a “period of transition” for the couple.
Although many details are yet to be ironed out for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the pair has already indicated on their website that they will also cease from dipping into the Sovereign Grant, a pot of funds set aside by Britain’s Treasury for Prince Harry and Markle to cover a small part of their office costs. Last year, the fund totaled more than £80 million pounds, $104 million.
Prince Harry and Markle also said they still intend to use the public money to pay for official overseas trips carried out by them at the request of the queen and continue to utilize the newly renovated Frogmore Cottage as their base in the United Kingdom, if allowed to.
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The Frogmore Cottage was heavily updated with funding provided by British taxpayers, many of whom have taken to social media to plead for their money back.
Additionally, the Sussexes are said to have potentially been on the receiving end of funding handed over by Prince Harry’s father Prince Charles, who collects a substantial amount of revenue from the Duchy of Cornwall estate established by Edward III back in 1337.
While Prince Charles is barred from selling off any of the assets, he generally accesses the funds for many of his activities, as well as those of his wife Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry and Markle.
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Though it’s unclear if Prince Charles would still be open to helping Harry and Markle after they stop carrying out their royal duties, the income made on the property last year was north of £20 million pounds, $26 million.
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Shannon Felton Spence, a former British government employee, detailed the complicated confusion to Fox News.
Spence drew the closest parallel from the Sussexes to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who themselves work outside the royal family and hold civilian-style jobs that allow them the freedom to earn their own income in lieu of being able to live on royal properties.
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“It ultimately got worked out and they are not considered senior members of the royal family, neither are the rest of the queen’s grandchildren,” Spence explained.
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“So they have jobs — real, professional, paid jobs outside of the royal family but they still live on royal family properties and Eugenie still had a royal wedding,” she continued. “And every once in a while, the queen will call them out to do sort of an engagement, and they’ve kept the title, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. So that is not something that’s unprecedented.”
Spence added: “But in fact, quite recently in the last few months, the Swedish royal household went through a very similar model where the grandchildren that are not direct heirs to the throne in Sweden are no longer hold royal titles and are not expected to do royal life. So, I think that’s the model they’re trying to go [to].”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.