The long Labor Day weekend here in America was already full of increasingly hysterical British media reports about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Netflix deal. Then, on Monday, the Sussexes confirmed to the press that Prince Harry had “paid back” the renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, and so we’re dealing with two (connected) media tantrums at once. The two stories are clearly connected in many ways – while Harry has his own money (inheritance from his mother’s estate), I do think he likely used some of the Netflix money to “pay back” the Sovereign Grant. The stories are also connected because of the British media’s reaction to both: completely unhinged, utterly grasping to make some kind of negative, nasty argument about *anything*. So it is with Richard Kay, the depth of whose despair cannot be understated. Kay was practically crying when he wrote his column about how the Frogmore expenditures were merely a cudgel to beat Harry & Meghan and the real anger was about how the British people always felt like they owned Harry. Or something.
How Harry saw the criticism: For more than a year, it has been the millstone around Prince Harry’s neck, a gold‑plated slice of taxpayers’ largesse that reeked of privilege and entitlement. But to Harry and Meghan, the £2.4 million of public money — our money — that was lavished on renovating Frogmore Cottage, only for it to be shuttered and abandoned along with the rest of their royal lives, represented something far more intrinsic. He saw it as a chain that shackled them to the land of his birth, inhibiting their efforts to be truly free of the Royal Family and — crucially — of their media critics.
Kay accidentally tells the truth: In Harry’s eyes, the money was not a loan from a generous nation pleased to be helping this young royal couple find its feet after their joyful wedding, but rather a stick with which to beat them. So paying back every penny to the public purse, having previously offered to do so at the rate of £18,000 a month (a deal of such indulgence it would have taken them 11 years to repay the debt), is highly significant. In the short term, it is designed to silence the drumbeat of criticism to which they perceive they are subject. But will it really end what they complain of as unjustified ‘public interest’ in their new lives?
The Sussexes divorce from Britain is permanent: What it does do, however, is signal that their divorce from Britain is permanent, while removing any pretence that they might still have a future role in the Royal Family.
Was it really about Archie?? Harry could, of course, have avoided this whole sorry saga before it ever became an issue. With an estimated fortune of £20 million inherited from his mother’s estate and trust funds from the Queen Mother, he could have afforded to pay for the renovation …read more