Daily Mail

Evicting Harry ‘ like ripping off a Band-Aid’ for Charles

- By Rebecca English Royal Editor

KING Charles’s decision to evict Harry and Meghan from Frogmore Cottage was like ‘ripping off a Band-Aid’.

Sources have told the Daily 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 said to be tricky for the King, 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 in their Netflix series and the prince’s memoir – the King and his staff felt they had no choice but to act.

It comes after it was reported yesterday that Charles started the eviction proceeding­s on January 11 – the day after Harry’s highly critical book Spare was released.

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.’ The house has already been offered to Prince Andrew, who is said to be resisting pressure to ‘downsize’ from sevenbedro­om Royal Lodge.

It is understood that before his May 6 coronation, the King is keen to resolve nagging issues remaining around Harry, Meghan and Andrew which have been allowed to ‘drag on’ for far too long.

Buckingham Palace was still refusing to comment yesterday on the decision to ask the Sussexes to pack up their remaining belongings from their five-bedroom cottage by early summer.

It is understood that they had initially been asked to quit when their lease came up for renewal next month, but had been given a stay of execution. However a spokesman for the couple went on the record this week to confirm they had been ‘ requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage’ – a sign of their shock and anger at the move.

The latest twist suggests there are even more doubts over their appearance at the coronation.

There were also questions last night as to whether the Crown Estate, which leases Frogmore to the Sussexes, may end up owing the couple money. Harry and

Meghan were given use of Frogmore in 2018 by Queen Elizabeth amid their fall-out with the Prince and Princess of Wales.

It was originally five, run-down staff residences but was knocked into one large home with a garden initially using £2.4million of taxpayers’ cash. The couple paid for anything over and above basic fixtures and fittings.

But they spent just six months there before moving first to Canada and then California, where they have bought an £11million mansion in Montecito.

Despite statements from Harry that he sees his future in the US, he and Meghan decided to reimburse the Crown Estate for the cost of renovation­s in a deal which included leasing Frogmore for an unspecifie­d number of years.

The couple claimed that it would mean ‘their family would always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom’ as they pursued commercial deals abroad.

More importantl­y, the Sussexes also felt that paying back any public money that had been spent on Frogmore would deflect criticism.

Last year royal officials confirmed Harry and Meghan were fully ‘financiall­y independen­t’ and said the couple’s decision to repay the £ 2.4million represente­d a ‘good deal’ for taxpayers.

According to the Palace’s annual accounts, the lump sum they transferre­d 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.

‘Painful, but once it’s done, it’s done’

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