Harry and Meghan’s exit from the UK hasn’t just robbed them of their income from Prince Charles. They missed out on a prestigious advantage.
How Much Do You Estimate to Maintain a Koi Pond? Ditto for separating wet and dry saunas, an elevator and looking after well-maintained rose gardens?
These are questions that Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, may well be able to answer as owners of a California estate that has not only these features but also 13 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a games room and a Japanese-style tea room next to the pond. Namaste.
It turns out that escaping royal life comes at a steep price, literally.
But now in an interesting Sliding doors– As a revelation, it emerged that the renegade couple were eventually to move into one of the Royal Family’s most famous residences, if they hadn’t taken them out of the UK. (And without a bill for a koi pond in sight.)
This weekend, the Mail on Sunday reported that a “radical” overhaul of living conditions for the royal family is planned after Prince Charles becomes king, including that he will avoid moving into the “lavish living quarters” of Buckingham Palace and that the monarch’s private apartment will be “reduced to little more than an apartment above the store.”
The idea that King Charles III is unlikely to inhabit the 318-year-old palace is nothing new, but attention should be paid to the details of what will happen to the rest of the Royal Family’s vast real estate portfolio, at the both those they own personally (like Sandringham and Balmoral) and those owned by the Crown (like Windsor Castle).
It turns out that Harry and Meghan, as part of the plan, had already been selected to move into Clarence House, a sprawling estate. Crazily speculative estimates put its value at over $ 100 million.
The mail reports that “in London, Charles’ official residence at Clarence House was originally reserved for Harry”, but his move to California means that is “no longer on the cards”.
“He is now more likely to be saved for Prince George, Princess Charlotte or Prince Louis.”
(The report also states that “the property’s outdated decor is a drag on young royals,” but that’s nothing the Sussexes couldn’t have addressed by installing a battalion of greige sofas, many Diptych candles and knowing the place to get rid of the ghost of the queen mother hitting her drinks cart.)
While this may not be the largest house (it’s hard to beat the 775 rooms at Buckingham Palace), the symbolism of Harry and Meghan and their family moving into Clarence House would have been significant given of his royal pedigree.
Sitting on the Mall, less than 500 yards from Buckingham Palace, the Georgian Stack was where Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh lived after their wedding (and before her ascension). Princess Anne was born there and later, famously, it was the home of the Queen Mother for almost five decades.
When she died in 2002, it became Charles’ official residence in London and it was there that he hosted foreign heads of state, including former US President Donald Trump.
It was also the location from which William and Kate, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, gave their engagement television interview in 2010.
This Clarence House news brings up an interesting point, which is the list of sparkling, cashless perks that the Sussexes (and their kids) would have enjoyed had they not decided to quit in a mood.
Take the new royal yacht. Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced its intention to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia, to a resounding refrain of âeh?â.
Buckingham Palace was quick to make it known that it had no interest in this very expensive floating PR disaster, a source telling the Times: âCharles doesn’t want it. William is not interested in it.
Still, Mr Johnson has plowed, and the $ 280 million tinnie will leave and be operational by 2025, according to the Telegraph, in which case the Royal Family will be able to use the Floating Gin Palace for official business.
Even before it gets out of the slipway, the flagship will immediately become the most exclusive yacht in the world.
If Harry and Meghan had stayed in the royal fold, they too probably could have used the 125-meter giant when they were on the move to represent Her Majesty.
No matter how many times Jeff Bezos or Roman Abramovich might lend the Sussexes their maritime monstrosities, nothing will rival the prestige of setting foot on this addition to the British naval fleet.
Likewise, there is the jewelry situation.
One of the great unknowns of the House of Windsor is how extensive its collection of sparkling gemstones is, given that it includes (as with their properties) both pieces belonging to the family and those belonging to the crown. (Only a small selection of the most historically significant pieces are on display at the Tower of London.)
The Queen lends coins to female royals for life with the understanding that no one else is allowed to wear them.
She regularly makes more pieces in recognition of her hard work – for example, when the Queen loaned Kate of Bahrain diamond and pearl earrings (which had been given to Her Majesty for her wedding) to wear to the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh in April.
We will never know what sparklers the 95-year-old monarch might have planned to lend to the Duchess of Sussex.
While Meghan has inherited a number of pieces that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales, including diamond butterfly earrings, an aquamarine ring (and possibly the matching bracelet) and a gold Cartier watch, it is highly unlikely, if not nearly impossible, that she will ever have access to this treasure trove of priceless coins.
After staging her dramatic release, this royal collection could very well be banned from Meghan.
But what about the Crown art collection, which is said to be one of the largest in the world? Why, I’m glad you asked.
Members of the Royal Family are permitted to borrow coins from the 7,500-coin collection, which includes Old Masters, for their walls.
In 2016, William and Kate made headlines when Barack and Michelle Obama visited them in their apartment in Kensington Palace and official photos revealed that one of the pieces they had chosen from the collection was a 17th century Dutch painting known as The Negro page.
Once again, diving into this cave of Aladdin artwork is now out of the question for Harry and Meghan.
Then there is the matter of the tens of millions of pounds potentially lost.
Prior to Megxit, the couple’s personal expenses – yoga mats, organic hummus and the like – were covered by Prince Charles through his Duchy of Cornwall estate to the tune of around $ 4.6 million per year.
While Prince William will inherit the Duchy of Cornwall when Charles ascends the throne and assumes the title of Prince of Wales, it seems unlikely that the new king would, in this scenario, have suddenly cut off his youngest son and the forced to fend for itself.
In fact, as King Charles will have access to the Duchy of Lancaster, which is valued at over $ 1 billion and generated $ 43 million in revenue in 2020.
That is, even when the inevitable upheaval strikes at Buckingham Palace, if Harry and Meghan had stayed put and fled to learn how to live an authentic life and take private jets, this type of financial support would have continued.
Talk about money for jam.
Of course, in this scenario, the Duke and Duchess would have nothing to do with the estimated $ 180 million more they would earn through their various business ventures. However, they also wouldn’t have found themselves forced to find the cash to finance their luxurious lifestyle.
According to Debretts, “Money is the oil that greases the wheels of society, but oil is a sticky and dirty substance and we have to clean our hands of it before we go out in good company.”
Absolutely, but that’s easy to say for someone who doesn’t have to find the batter to run a koi pond for the rest of their life.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of major Australian media titles.