The subject of exactly how many homes the British monarch owns has often been the cause of a raised eyebrow – as, over many years, there has invariably been a spare house or country pile lying around and available for any family member deemed in need.
However, that looks set to change with the arrival of King Charles on the throne. National press reported last week that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been asked to vacate their British home near Windsor Castle, and now the Times of London reports other family members will receive the same news.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were informed in January they would no longer have access to Frogmore Cottage, their post-marital home in the UK, although it has been intimated they will be permitted to stay there, should they decide to travel to the UK for Harry’s father’s Coronation in May.
Now it seems the new King plans to phase out subsidised rents for other family members, as a way of reducing costs and raising alternative revenue.
London’s Evening Standard newspaper quotes a royal household figure saying: “It is not about cuts. It is about getting the best value for money from those on the payroll. Sometimes less is more,” while another reportedly said, “The King is not some sort of housing association for distant relatives.”
The Times reports that the plan under the new monarch is for the properties to be let at commercial rates and made available to people outside the royal family, in line with Charles’s long-known desire for a “slimmed-down monarchy” as he begins his reign.
Royal figures are housed all over the country, with several benefiting from grace-and-favour apartments in London’s St James’s Palace. The King’s siblings Anne, Andrew and Edward all have country piles to their names, too. Anne and Edward are considered “working royals” which might mean they get to keep their pads, while Andrew, the disgraced Duke of York, has already been informed his desired return to public life won’t happen – meaning he has no real case to stay in the luxurious Royal Lodge in Windsor, where he has lived for two decades.