NEWS
01/07/2018 07:05 SAST | Updated 01/07/2018 07:05 SAST

Meghan Markle Drove Up Costs For The British Royal Family By 40 Percent

The increase coincides with her engagement to Prince Harry...

The U.K. royal family seems to have welcomed Meghan Markle into their fold with open arms, but according to The Telegraph, it came at a hefty cost.

Last year, Prince Charles spent $8.61-million (~R118-million) on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry's activities, compared to $6.11-million (~R84-million) in 2016. The 40 percent increase coincides with Markle's engagement to Harry and the date she started carrying out her first official duties, the site reports.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend Royal Ascot Day 1 on June 19 2018.

Prince Charles has always funded the activities and public engagements of his children and their families with his income from the Duchy of Cornwall — a private hereditary estate that has been passed down to the eldest son of each monarch since its creation in 1337.

Specifically, Charles covers his children and spouses' business expenses, which includes wardrobe costs and staff salaries.

According to a number of previous reports, Markle was not supposed to have access to the Duchy of Cornwall fund until she officially wed Harry in May, which is why it was believed that the former "Suits" star paid for her entire royal wardrobe herself following her engagement.

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Meghan Markle attends a reception during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on April 18 2018 in London, England.

If the royal family did bend the rules for Markle, it wouldn't be surprising, since this has happened before. Last year, Queen Elizabeth amended her "no ring, no bring" policy and allowed Markle to be the first fiancée to spend Christmas with her.

Regardless, palace sources did not specify how much money was spent on Markle for her first royal engagements, or what the money was put towards, The Telegraph reports.

However, it is known that transportation to royal outings for Markle, Harry and the Cambridges was covered by the Queen's Sovereign Grant, which is paid by taxpayers.

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Members of the British royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London on June 9 2018.

But Markle isn't the sole reason Charles' spending increased so significantly in the past year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have also taken on more responsibilities in their roles following Prince Philip's retirement last August and the Queen's reduction of engagements.

Plus, the past year has been a whirlwind for the royal family, who had many "moments of great joy," Clive Alderton, Prince Charles' principal private secretary, told The Telegraph.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex became engaged, their wedding itself seemed to me a day when not just the sun shone but Britain itself shone — and right round the world," Alderton said.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that they were expecting another child and the Prince of Wales' third grandchild Prince Louis was born in April."

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge depart St Mary's Hospital with newborn Prince Louis on April 23 2018.

The 2018-19 year for the royal family is also expected to be quite eventful. Not only is Prince William currently wrapping up his royal tour of the Middle East, but his youngest boy, Prince Louis, will be christened in less than two weeks on July 9.

Additionally, Harry and Markle are set to visit Dublin, Ireland in early July and head to Sydney, Australia later this year for the 2018 Invictus Games as part of their first royal tour as a married couple.

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