MEGHAN MARKLE and Prince Harry could face eviction from Frogmore Cottage after buying their Californian mansion, an expert has claimed.
Meghan and Harry purchased a lavish mansion in Santa Barbara, California, for $14.7million (£11.2million) on June 18. With a $9.5million (£7.2million) mortgage, the pair have secured 5.4 acres of land from a Russian businessman who knocked more than $10million (£7.6million) off the original selling price for them. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to continue repaying the UK taxpayers for their renovation works on Frogmore Cottage at £18,000 a month as well.
This Windsor residence, which the couple insisted on keeping as their UK base during the Megxit negotiations, cost the public purse £2.4million to renovate back in 2019.
Yet, tax expert David Lesperance told Express.co.uk this week that the property does not officially belong to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Mr Lesperance explained that it belongs to the Crown Estate instead — even though the Queen gave it to the couple as a wedding present.
The tax expert said: “Harry thought, ‘Well I know this is going to look bad, because you or the trust made this amount of money to allow us to [renovate] here’.”
He added that it was therefore “probably a smart thing” for the couple to repay their costs on Frogmore Cottage.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Frogmore Cottage (Image: Getty)
Meghan and Harry during one of their last royal engagements in March (Image: Getty)
Still, they were not legally “obligated” to do so as the property is not officially theirs, but, as Mr Lesperance remarked: “That looks good to their fans.”
He then said they could “absolutely” be evicted from the property as a result.
He continued: “Assuming that they don’t have a lease, it would be like a normal landlord-tenant situation.”
He also explained, in a White Paper published earlier this year which explored Harry and Meghan’s decision to relocate, that “any tax liability for capital gains or property tax are the problem of the landlord not the tenants”.
Frogmore Cottage was a wedding gift from the Queen (Image: Getty)
The “capital gains” could also include those from the £2.4million renovations, according to Mr Lesperance.
Royal commentators have been doubting how much time Harry and Meghan will actually spend in Frogmore Cottage, seeing as they have now put down permanent roots in Santa Barbara.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex agreed to spend the majority of their time in North America after the Megxit negotiations, and it is not known when they may next return to the UK.
Harry and Meghan are also being financially supported by Prince Charles for their first year outside of the royal fold.
He is believed to be paying their extensive security bill so that they could start repaying their renovation costs for Frogmore Cottage.
Meghan and Harry asked to keep Frogmore Cottage as their UK residence during Megxit negotiations (Image: Getty)
Meghan and Harry havfe been keen to maintain a sense of privacy when raising their son Archie (Image: Getty)
However, it is thought that the two purchased their new mansion in California on their own.
A source told DailyMail.com that the pair “feel proud to have struck it out on their own and they are saying they bought it without any help from his family”.
The insider added: “They do have a mortgage but they see this as their own place, free from relying on anyone else — a proper family home.”
The family have been pursuing privacy since the start of Harry and Meghan’s relationship.
Meghan and Harry initially relocated to Canada but soon moved to California (Image: Getty)
Prior to moving into Frogmore Cottage, they lived in Kensington Palace estate but decided they wanted to raise their son Archie away from the public eye, so moved to Windsor.
However, Santa Barbara is considerably more exclusive, approximately two hours out of Los Angeles.
The couple have been hoping to achieve financial independence ever since they broke away from the rest of the Firm and have since signed up to the same high-profile public speaking agency as Barack and Michelle Obama.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK