Royal News

HUGE cost of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Africa tour revealed

This week, royal accounts revealed that the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex’s Africa tour cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds. The news comes as it emerged the Queen could see a £35 million shortfall in funding.

The trip, which included a tour of Botswana and South Africa, cost taxpayers £245,000.

Accounts also revealed that Her Majesty is facing a £35million gap in funding.

However, she has reportedly said she would not rely on a Government bailout.

Sir Michael Stevens, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: “We have no intention of asking for extra funding and will look to manage the impact through our own efforts and efficiencies.”

It has also recently emerged that the monarchy is expected to lose £15million over the next three years due to a drop of income from the Royal Collection Trust.

The dramatic drop is due to plummeting numbers of visitors to the royal estate including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Figures from the Sovereign Grant show that the Royal Family cost the taxpayer £69.4 million in 2019-20.

This was a significant increase from the £2.4million of the previous financial year.

David McClure, author of The Queen’s True Worth, told Sky News: “At the moment, people are feeling a bit sorry for the palace because they’ve got a big black hole in their pocket due to COVID.

“But one should equally remember that in the last nine years, the Sovereign Grant has really gone up and up and up.

“It’s actually gone up by two-thirds in the last nine years and if you look at inflation, inflation has only gone up 20 percent, so they really have had a rise income in the last decade or so.

“Now it’s sort of flattening out and plateauing so yes, they have a problem but they’ve really had good times for the last nine years or so.”

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It comes after the Sussexes announced that they repaid the full £2.4million spent on renovating their UK home, Frogmore Cottage.

A senior place source, told Sky News: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made a substantial contribution to the Sovereign Grant that covers refurbishment and rental obligations for Frogmore Cottage.

“The reporting method for this contribution has yet to be determined and will have to be agreed by the National Audit Office before appearing in next year’s accounts.”

The decision to pay back the sum came after the couple signed a £75million five-year deal to make TV shows for US streaming giant Netflix.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for the couple said: “A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by the Duke of Sussex.

“This contribution, as originally offered by Prince Harry, has fully covered the necessary renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, a property of Her Majesty The Queen, and will remain the UK residence of the Duke and his family.”

The Duke and the Duchess have been urged by MPs and the British public to repay the costs after they stepped back as senior royal.

After they announced their intention to quit royal life, the couple moved to Los Angeles with son Archie.

Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said: “Harry and Meghan still expect British taxpayers to provide luxury accommodation, always available for whenever they choose to visit.

“Perhaps they should get a loyalty card with Travelodge and save the taxpayer more wasted money?”

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