This week, royal watchers were given their annual gift — the 100-page Sovereign Grant report which details every cent of taxpayer money the royals spent the previous year.

(You can read it here if you are a masochist.)

It makes for very dull reading (such as finding out the Palace has finally digitised all HR documents — page 23) except when you get to the juicy bits about how much it has cost the British taxpayer for the renovation of Frogmore Cottage.

It turns out the bill for transforming the rundown building - which used to be five apartments - into a slick home for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex came with quite the hefty price tag - NZ$4.58 million - though they did pay for fixtures and fittings themselves. (Compared to the NZ$8.6 million that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent redoing apartment 1A at Kensington Palace before they moved in 2014.)


Many commenters are getting their Marks & Spencer knickers in a twist over the fact that the taxpaying hoi polloi have just essentially funded Harry and Meghan's new kitchen.

However, what is more interesting is that this report lays out in cold, hard figures, for the first time, how much the much-reported feud between the Sussexes and the Cambridges has cost the public.

Over the past six months, we have seen Harry and Meghan extricate their lives from that of Kate and Wills, both personally and professionally, and that has actually cost a fortune.

READ MORE: Harry and Meghan leave their joint charity foundation with William and Kate

Meghan and Harry are striking out on their own. Photo / Getty Images
Meghan and Harry are striking out on their own. Photo / Getty Images
William and Kate are now flying solo. Photo / Getty Images
William and Kate are now flying solo. Photo / Getty Images

The new office — NZ$375,000

Earlier this year it was announced Meghan and Harry would be setting up their own royal office, which will look after all their events, philanthropic projects, communications and Post It note needs.

To run the show, they hired former Hillary Clinton staffer Sarah Latham who is said to be on about NZ$267,000 a year along with a number of other staffers. (Communications staff salaries are around NZ$54,000 each, so it all adds up.)

Let's also not forget the cost of new stationery, a website and reimbursing (I'm guessing) Kensington Palace for all the Post-It notes Harry took on the way out.

Even assuming they have only hired Sara plus two other people (and it is highly unlikely they have so few people looking after their engagements) that brings the total to NZ$375,000.


The extra security — NZ$1.43 million

Kensington Palace might look like a genteel, squat pile that comes with a gift shop but the joint is surrounded by slightly terrifying levels of security. Again, if Meghan and Harry were living there, that vast police presence would have been responsible for keeping them safe when they were tucked up in their cashmere PJs on the couch.

But, a new house comes with new security demands thus they need their own raft of police officers to secure Frogmore Cottage and to ensure that no stray journalists wander into their backyard. The Daily Mail reports that around 20 police officers guard Frogmore at a cost of about NZ$1.43 million.

The trees — NZ$38,100

The public can be so annoying can't they? Always trying to peer through wrought iron fences and see over shrubs (or at least that's what I have done when I have been in the vicinity of Kensington Palace). The Sussexes are planning a "large-scale planting program" to create a screen of foliage to shield Frogmore Cottage at a cost of about NZ$38,100.

The travel costs — unknown

Windsor to Buckingham Palace, where Harry and Meghan's office is based, is about a 50-minute drive, heinous London traffic notwithstanding. Regularly making this journey, with full security compliment in tow, will again add to the bottom line.

One option to beat the commute would be to take a chopper and one would assume that every now and then, the Sussexes will avail themselves of the helicopters that are at the royal family's disposal, fuel bill and carbon footprint be damned.

Remember when, earlier this year, Harry decided to take an NZ$11,500 helicopter to visit Birmingham days before he spoke out about climate change? That went down like a vegan sausage at a shooting lunch.

The bottom line — NZ$375 million

Add this all together and you get … NZ$3,756,827.

Those are millions that could still be sitting in the Sovereign Grant bank account (online banking password: corgis4eva) if Prince William and Prince Harry's relationship was a little more harmonious.

With (nearly) duelling royal overseas trips planned for the second half of this year (they are said to be being scheduled only weeks apart), the price tag for letting the boys do what they fancy is only to get bigger.

Lucky that revenue from paying visitors tramping around royal properties was up this year — the Queen is really going to need it.