Sunday 18 August 2019

Buckingham Palace responds after Meghan and Harry's renovation plans at Frogmore Cottage revealed

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the European Premiere of Disney's The Lion King at the Odeon Leicester Square, London
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the European Premiere of Disney's The Lion King at the Odeon Leicester Square, London
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending Disney's The Lion King European Premiere held in Leicester Square, London. Ian West/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie as they the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie at a charity polo day in Berkshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)
In this official christening photograph supplied by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pose with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor with the Rose Garden in the background at Windsor Castle on July 06, 2019 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Allerton/SussexRoyal)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie as they the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire
In this official christening photograph supplied by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor pose for a photograph with and (L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Ms Doria Ragland, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on July 06, 2019 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Allerton/SussexRoyal)
A general view of Frogmore Cottage at Frogmore Cottage on April 10, 2019 in Windsor, England

Tony Jones

Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex's project manager has asked a local council not to make public landscaping plans for their Frogmore Cottage home due to security reasons.

A part retrospective planning application has been submitted to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, but "national security" concerns have prompted the official to request they remain secret.

Recent royal accounts revealed £2.4 million was spent on Meghan and Harry's grade II listed home near Windsor Castle, turning five properties back into a single residence for the couple and their baby son Archie.

The amount spent was heavily criticised by the organisation Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, but all fixtures and fittings for the home close to Windsor Castle were paid for privately by the duke and duchess.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie as they the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie as they the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire

A letter which appears to have been written on paper headed "Royal Household Property Section Windsor Castle" by project manager Ian Ratcliffe to a council manager responsible for enforcement and conservation has been published by the MailOnline website.

The project manager writes: "We consider that national security could be compromised if public access is given to the plans, other drawings and documents relating to this project, either in the offices of this council or on the council website where they could be viewed and copied."

It is understood the application for external landscaping is an amendment to a previously submitted plan and the work is being funded privately.

Under planning law a retrospective planning application is needed if a change is made that requires planning permission.

If it is refused the local authority can issue an enforcement notice requiring the changes to be reversed.

But it is likely the team carrying out the work on Harry and Meghan's home have been keeping the local authority aware of any changes and the application is a formality.

Read more: Meet Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip - Sweden's answer to Meghan and Harry

Frogmore Cottage, which is owned by the Crown Estate, was a gift from Harry's grandmother the Queen.

A general view of Frogmore Cottage at Frogmore Cottage on April 10, 2019 in Windsor, England
A general view of Frogmore Cottage at Frogmore Cottage on April 10, 2019 in Windsor, England

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The letter that was submitted to the council, and the language that was used, is standard for planning applications for all royal residences. In keeping with the usual process, the details are not released for security reasons.

"This was an amendment to a planning application which was previously approved. The work was privately funded."

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