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Prince Harry warning: Duke and Meghan Markle’s home targeted in royal residence shake-up

Frogmore Cottage ‘should be put to good use’ says expert

Graham Smith told Express.co.uk that questions should be raised as to why Frogmore Cottage is allowed to be left empty while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle live in California. Republic is an anti-monarchist group that campaign for Queen Elizabeth II to be replaced by a democratic, elected head of state.

Mr Smith said: “Frogmore Cottage belongs to the Crown Estate and the Crown Estate has questions to answer about why it allows the royals to use its property.

“The mission of the Crown Estate is to raise funds for the Treasury so they need to explain why they are leaving that property empty.

“And why they allow the Palace to have access to it and gift it to members of the Royal Family.

“Ultimately, all of the Crown Estate properties should be put to good use in the way that is going to bring the best return to the taxpayer.”

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However, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams strongly disagreed with this view.

Mr Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk that the Royal Family is Britain’s greatest soft power asset.

He said: “The taxpayer gets an extraordinary bargain from the Crown Estate which brought in £345 million in 2019/20.

“These are surrendered at the beginning of a reign and in return the Sovereign Grant, 15 percent of their value, is now returned to the monarch.

Princess Eugenie’s Frogmore situation discussed by experts

“Over a decade an extra 10 percent is being spent on refurbishing Buckingham Palace, which had not been done for decades.

“Harry and Meghan have repaid all the costs of the £2.4 million for the refurbishment of Frogmore which came from the taxpayer.

“It is, however, their home when in Britain, which they cannot currently visit owing to the restrictions.”

Mr Fitzwilliams continued: “It is important to stress that though the monarch theoretically owns the Crown Estate, he or she cannot sell it or derive revenues from it, other than that voted by Parliament.

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“Since the amount of the Sovereign Grant, excluding security, is some 74p per person per year, which rises to £1.24p whilst Buckingham Palace is being refurbished, it makes the institution a bargain.

“It benefits Britain financially in several other ways, through tourism, the benefits from royal trips abroad to British business and the interest from the international media is simply vast, something Republic cannot ever explain.

“The monarchy is Britain’s greatest soft power asset.

“They should note the Brand Finance Report of 2017 which said ‘Valued at 67 billion, the Monarchy is Britain’s Greatest Treasure’.”

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