A few months before the coronation of King Charles III. the dispute over his son Prince Harry escalated. "We can confirm that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been asked to move from Frogmore Cottage," said a spokeswoman for Harry and Meghan. The diplomatically barely veiled message from late Wednesday evening confirms the brutal expulsion from Windsor Castle. British media reported the order came shortly after the release of Harry's biography, Reserve, on January 10. The couple was "stunned" was read.
But the conservative British press, which has been taking a hard anti-Harry course for months, is delighted. "Harry's vicious attacks on Camilla could not be forgiven by King Charles - he had to fight back," commented longtime Royals photographer Arthur Edwards in the Sun tabloid. In his book, Harry (38) reveals countless details from the private life of the royals and raises serious allegations against his older brother William (40) and his stepmother Queen Camilla (75). He accused his father's second wife of secretly giving the press private information about him and other family members in order to present themselves in a better light.
With the monarch's word of power, Harry and Meghan's participation in the coronation on May 6 in London should be a long way off. The Telegraph newspaper reported that the deadline for vacating Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of Windsor Castle is after the ceremony. But participation now seems difficult to imagine given the rift. "By taking away Harry's only place of safety in Britain, the king is effectively telling his son that he is no longer welcome home," wrote the tabloid Daily Express.
No more police protection
For Harry, who is always very concerned about the safety of his family, it will not be easy to find accommodation with a similarly high level of security. He no longer gets police protection. Harry is arguing with the British Home Office about whether he can use the police for a fee.
The couple were given Frogmore Cottage as their home after their 2018 wedding from Harry's late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. It underwent a £2.4million (€2.7m) refurbishment, initially at taxpayer expense. The couple later repaid the amount. After Harry and Meghan broke away from the inner circle of the royal family two years later in a dispute, they rarely stayed in Windsor. The couple now lives in the US state of California with their children Archie (3) and Lilibet (1). Most recently, they are said to have stayed at Frogmore Cottage after the Queen's death last September.
Charles (74) reportedly has the backing of his closest family, including heir apparent Prince William, for his son's eviction. "The situation has dragged on for far too long and he wanted to act decisively and quickly," an unnamed source told The Sun of Charles's instruction.
Burn bridges instead of building them?
But there should be dissenting voices, for example from Harry's cousins Eugenie and Beatrice. The step is also controversial in public. Lawyer and commentator Shola Mos-Shogbamimu tweeted about the expulsion: "A weak coward from a father - a cruelty unworthy of a king." Former BBC royals expert Peter Hunt also criticized Charles. "Instead of building bridges, the head of state is setting them on fire," Hunt tweeted. "His son's banishment is cruel, unnecessary and belittling of Charles."
Criticism of the monarch came up just a few days ago when he received EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Windsor Castle after the agreement between London and Brussels in the Northern Ireland dispute. Brexit hardliners and Northern Irish unionists accused Charles of allowing himself to be politicized. Traditionally, British monarchs have had to stay out of politics.
The fact that the king is said to have a new use for Frogmore Cottage is causing a sensation. His brother Prince Andrew should live there in the future, the Telegraph reported. The 63-year-old, who has largely disappeared from public view because of his involvement in an abuse scandal, has to leave his much larger Royal Lodge, which is also on the grounds of Windsor Castle, for cost reasons. Charles cut him namely the high annual allowance. But the fact that Andrew of all people should benefit from being kicked out is a thorn in Harry and Meghan's side, according to "Telegraph". An approximation is likely to make this even more difficult.