PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle have renewed their lease on Frogmore Cottage, it’s understood – after the Duke insisted the UK is still “home”. The couple haven’t lived in the Windsor property since 2020 when they left the UK for America, and it’s now being used by Princess Eugenie, husband Jack Brooksbank and their baby August.
However, the Sussexes have reportedly decided to extend their lease when it expires on March 31, the Telegraph reports.Harry, who is close to his cousin Eugenie, uses the home as a base when he returns to the UK.Meanwhile, it’s understood he will also be allowed to continue deputising for the Queen as one of her four Counsellors of State – despite his decision to step back from the Royal Family.
The 37-year-old is a UK citizen, and can continue in the role because he qualifies as being domiciled in Britain – thanks to his old address in Windsor.He told of his desire to return home this week as he battled the Government’s decision to take away his police protection in the UK.Harry is currently suing the Home Office because it removed his full police protection. The prince says he feels “unsafe” when he’s in the UK.
He wants to fund his own Met Police armed bodyguards – but the Government has refused.Lawyers for the Government told the High Court that an offer to pay was “irrelevant” because “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis”.
Insiders said police are not “guns for hire”.Harry is also arguing that his private protection team in the US does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information which is needed to keep his family safe.
Since he left the UK, he has only returned twice – once for his grandfather’s funeral, and a second time to join brother William for the unveiling of a statue dedicated to Princess Diana.Meghan and Archie have not yet returned, and Lilibet has never been to the UK.
A spokesman for the Duke told the newspaper of the decision on Frogmore: “There are no planned changes to the current arrangement.”In September 2020, the Sussexes paid back £2.4million for renovations to the cottage, including rent up to March 2022.It’s reported that details of Prince Harry’s UK living arrangements have unexpectedly become a constitutional matter as a result of his role as a Counsellor of State.
He, Charles, William and Andrew hold the title, which grants them powers to undertake some of the Queen’s duties as her request should she fall temporarily ill.For decades, the job has been little-known to the public – but it’s now a matter of significant concern with Harry’s move and Andrew’s banishment from the royal frontline.
Earlier this year, the Duke of Cambridge was overseas while the Prince of Wales was in isolation with Covid, leaving both out of action.The Duke of York this week paid a reported £12m to Virginia Giuffre to settle his US civil sex abuse lawsuit, and critics have argued he must now be stripped of the role.
Buckingham Palace says Counsellors of State can only be changed through legislation, and the decision would be made by Parliament.The mechanism was last used in 2015, when the Queen went on tour to Malta.