“It’s substantially completed," a Buckingham Palace source told PEOPLE. "All fixtures and fittings were paid for by their Royal Highnesses... Curtains, furnishings — all that would be paid separately, paid privately.”
The couple began renovating the historic home earlier this year before their son, Archie Harrison, was born in May. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also redecorated the exterior doors, windows and walls, and upgraded the outbuildings. They also changed the landscaping of the garden and added some lighting.
Buckingham Palace said the renovations cost the public £2.4 million (more than $3.05 million), reports the BBC. It was mostly responsible for the Queen's official expenses in the past year climbing 41 percent compared to the previous year, to £67 million.
However, PEOPLE's source said "anything moveable" was paid for by Markle and Harry.
“If a member of the royal family says, ‘We want a better kitchen than you’re prepared to provide with public money,’ then that would fall to them privately and they would have to meet the cost,” the source explained. “If they want that higher specification, they have to pay the extra.”
Rumors that Markle planned to put a yoga studio or a mother-and-baby yoga room turned out to be incorrect.
During the restoration process, there were many surprises the couple encountered. That's one reason why their move to the cottage, which dates back to the 1800s, was delayed in March. They had to replace ceiling beams and floor joists and had to upgrade the outdated heating systems.
"The electrical system also needed to be substantially replaced and rewired, even extending to the establishment of a separate upgraded electrical substation, which was in addition to the main works on the property," the source explained. “And new gas and water mains had to be introduced to the property, replacing the five separate links that were there for the property before and were in a bad state of repair. Overall, the works were conducted over a period of around six months.”
Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, told reporters Monday that the costs to fix the cottage were necessary because it had been "some years" since the property was last worked on. He also said it was part of the Royal Family's responsibility to maintain the royal residencies.
“The Sovereign Grant covered the work undertaken to turn the building into the official residence and home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new family," Stevens explained. "The building was returned to a single residence and outdated infrastructure was replaced to guarantee the long-term future of the property.”0comments
Markle and Harry married in May 2018 and welcomed Archie on May 6. The couple opted not to give him an official royal title, although he will still become a prince when Prince Charles becomes King.
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
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