A former member of Parliament and a current member of the Privy Council — the body that officially advises the monarch — has slammed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for bilking British taxpayers out of tens of millions before running for the Los Angeles hills.
Norman Baker, a former Liberal Democrat for East Sussex and author of “… And What Do You Do?” – a tome critical of the royal family – writes in the Daily Mail that, “From their wedding day to March 31 this year, I estimate the British taxpayer has forked out more than £44 million ($53 million) to provide Harry and Meghan with, it seems, whatever they want.”
After a study of the couple’s finances, an outraged Baker has broken it down for all of us, adding that the bills keep coming even though the couple has moved to the United States. Baker casually points out that while Harry and Meghan may be rich — the couple together are estimated to be worth over $25 million — they aren’t rich enough to afford their lifestyle. Like his Uncle Andrew and Aunt Sarah, Harry enjoys the good life at other’s expense.
The largest bill the taxpayer had to deal with was the couple’s wedding, which Baker says cost a whopping $40.8 million — of which the royals personally contributed just $2.4 million. In comparison, Prince William and Kate’s 2011 wedding cost $24.3 million.
The bill was so high due to security, which is said to have cost over $35 million, but there were other extravagances. According to Baker, the Ministry of Defense ordered 20 new trumpets for $109,000, a PA system, private contractors and flags and banners ordered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) — to the tune of $1.83 million. Then there was also the $1.2 million bill for crowd control barriers, Jumbotron screens and waste management.
After the wedding, the couple were set to move into an apartment in Kensington Palace. But, after the $1.7 million renovation to the 21-room apartment, Harry and Meghan decided to live elsewhere. The queen granted them Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate and so another $2.9 million was spent on sprucing that up. The couple stayed less than six months before bolting for Canada — all the while promising to pay back the taxpayers for the latest renovations. Baker notes: “The couple have said they will repay the renovation costs for Frogmore Cottage. They have offered ($22,000) a month, which is also meant to cover rent. Assuming a rent of ($12,000) a month, it will take them 25 years to repay the renovation costs, and that is without interest or any ongoing maintenance.
Baker also adds that “since the wedding, Meghan is also said to have amassed a ($731,000) jewelry collection (including items gifted to her by Harry and the Queen), a collection larger than the late Princess Diana’s, including a stunning new diamond ring.”
Baker estimates that the cost for Harry and Meghan’s staff – including PR gurus, office staff, secretaries and lawyers – cost British taxpayers an eye watering $721,000 over two years.
“Until March 31, when they ceased to be working royals, the team of up to 15 included a private secretary (who can earn a salary of $177,000 a year), PR director Sara Latham, and a full team of servants including a housekeeper ($36,500) and a nanny,” Baker writes – although he notes the nanny would have been paid from private funds.
The couple have been shamed into flying economy lately, but their tastes bend toward first class. While friends have flown them in private jets, in March 2019, Bakler writes Harry “took a helicopter journey costing an estimated ($6,000) from London to Birmingham and two days later told a crowd at Wembley Stadium to ‘wake up’ and act on ‘the damaging impact our ways are having on the world.’” The couple also have taken trips to Australia and Singapore (not to mention multiple flights to and from Canada and the United States) and overall, Baker estimates their travel cost at $1.2 million.
Due to Harry and Meghan’s love for moving and travel, security costs are overwhelming, and the couple rang up an $8.5 million bill before they quit the monarchy.
While they often flew privately (paid for by celeb pals), “they were always accompanied by protection officers funded by the taxpayer. The bill for this, including business-class travel for the officers (as confirmed by former royal protection officer Ken Wharfe), and any overtime and away-from-home allowances, has fallen to the public,” Baker writes.
Because they moved three times in two years to places outside of London requiring “bespoke” security provisions, the costs ballooned even further. The couple’s several house moves have also pushed up the costs to the public.
“It is much more expensive to provide bespoke security in an exposed location outside London — such as Frogmore Cottage — than it is in Kensington Palace,” Baker writes, adding, “As the couple are keeping Frogmore Cottage as their base in this country, a security detail is believed to remain in place there even though it is unoccupied and there is no sign of the couple coming back any time soon.”
In Canada, their personal security squad stayed in a $1,300 a week Airbnb and they were protected by officers from the Metropolitan Police as well as Canadian Mounties “incurring a bill for both British and Canadian taxpayers.”
While the couple is promising to pay when they make money, Baker writes, “In the deal reached with the Palace, Harry and Meghan have kept their HRH titles but will not ‘use’ them. This is significant as the status provides a mechanism for support — notably financial support from the taxpayer for security — to be provided to them.”
Allowance from daddy
Harry and Meghan are said to be receiving around $2.5 million a year from Prince Charles — who gets his money from the Duchy of Cornwall. All this may seem fine except that Baker writes, “Controversially, Charles is allowed to classify this allowance to Harry as a business expense, which he can set against tax. This means that the public purse continued to support Harry for as long as Charles continued with this approach to funding the Duke.” This would mean that tax loss is an estimated $2.32 million for two years.
It all adds up to a hefty bill the public must pay for a a couple who turned their backs on Britain.
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