After Buckingham Palace leaked the story about evicting the Sussexes from Frogmore Cottage, the palace has been trying out various excuses for why King Charles is not, in fact, a dogsh-t father and why, actually, it’s a good thing that a 70-something king is petty, vindictive, racist and cruel. At first the excuse was that the Sussexes’ eviction was explicitly because Charles was “spitting mad” about Prince Harry’s memoir (the timeline backs that up). Then the excuse morphed into “well, Charles is just dreadfully concerned about money.” Then the palace blamed the whole thing on Prince William and Kate because they have been demanding Royal Lodge, and this house-shuffle – evicting Prince Andrew from Royal Lodge and putting him into Frogmore- was the only solution. Layered into all of these excuses is King Charles’s all-encompassing self-pity, like he’s terribly aggrieved at being *forced* to be such a dogsh-t father but it’s simply out of his hands. Now Becky English has the latest version of “poor Charles, he simply has to do the difficult thing and be a terrible father.” Some highlights:
Charles & Harry’s relationship: Sources have told the Mail that the monarch has found the implosion of his relationship with his youngest son ‘extremely painful’. The decision to ask the couple to vacate their Windsor home was also apparently a difficult one for the King, particularly as he was keen not to add fuel to the fire of their ongoing row. But after Harry and Meghan’s repeated broadsides at the family over the past year – particularly their Netflix series and the prince’s memoir – the King and his staff felt they had no choice but to act.
Ripping off the Band-Aid: Discussing the decision to start the process, a source said: ‘It was felt that it would be like ripping off a Band Aid. Painful, but once it’s done, it’s done.’ It is understood that the King is particularly keen to sort many of the nagging issues remaining around Harry, Meghan and Andrew before his coronation which have been allowed to ‘drag on’ for far too long.
Will the Crown Estate have to pay the Sussexes? There were also questions tonight, as to whether the Crown Estate, which leases out Frogmore to the Sussexes, might actually end up owing the couple money. Frogmore Cottage was originally five, run-down, staff residences but was knocked back into one large home with a private garden initially using £2.4million in taxpayers’ money. The couple themselves paid for anything over and above basic fixtures and fittings.
The Sussexes paid a lump sum: Last year royal officials confirmed that Harry and Meghan were fully ‘financially independent’ and said the couple’s decision to re-pay the £2.4million on Frogmore represented a ‘good deal’ for taxpayers. According to the Palace’s annual accounts, the lump sum they transferred to cover the refurbishment of their former marital home on the Queen’s estate also included undisclosed future rental costs. But if the Sussexes have paid several years of rent in advance, the sudden termination of their lease has sparked questions in royal circles as to whether they would be owed any money back.
The Sussexes were still paying for upkeep: The couple were also said to be funding the general upkeep of their former home, like maintaining the garden, with the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant effectively acting as the ‘landlord’, undertaking more major works, such as anything needing doing to the outside of the Grade-II listed property. A senior royal source said the rent had been calculated independently and based on market values. ‘I can be confident in saying that this is a good deal for the Sovereign Grant and the taxpayer alike,’ they added.
[From The Daily Mail]
Just last week, Prince Andrew was openly threatening King Charles with a lawsuit if Charles tried to force him out of Royal Lodge without reimbursing him for everything Andrew has put into the property over the years. I hope the Sussexes take the same tack – it’s not simply about the Sussexes needing to be reimbursed for (seemingly) overpaying in advance for their lease, it’s also about the $3 million they put into the property. It’s bonkers. The whole thing is – the argument that these evictions are some kind of cost-cutting measure doesn’t hold water, because the Crown Estates are going to have to reimburse Andrew AND the Sussexes millions of dollars.
As for Charles “ripping off the Band-Aid” – as I said, no one has a deeper well of self-pity than Charles. He believes he’s the victim here, that Harry is so terribly cruel for… writing a book which Charles refuses to read.
Photos courtesy of Cover Images.
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