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Prince Harry and Meghan’s $14.7m home’s $4.4m running costs

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion in California could cost as much as $4.4million a year to run.

The pair are thought to have purchased the sprawling property, which sits on 5.4 acres of land, from a Russian businessman with a $9.5million mortgage after the price was knocked down by more than $10million.

The ‘palatial’ 14,563-square-foot home, located in upscale Montecito, was bought for $14.65million on June 18.  

The seller is believed to be Russian tycoon Sergey Grishin who bought it for more than $25million in 2009 and had tried to sell the home for up to $34million.  

It took almost five years to build and features a library, office, spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, a gym with a stripper pole, game room, arcade, theater, wine cellar and five-car garage. 

But the mansion comes with eye-watering bills of its own which could stretch as high as $4.4million per year… so what exactly makes their new property so expensive? 


Harry and Meghan bought the luxury property after securing a $9.5million mortgage, it is believed, implying that they made a down-payment of more than $5.2million.

At typical interest rates provided by Bank of America, the couple would have to pay $40,000 a month or $480,000 a year in order to repay the mortgage over 30 years.

Annual property tax is estimated at $68,000 and the costs of security and utilities for the huge mansion will also come with hefty bills.

The couple have bought the property despite still owing the British taxpayer £2.4million ($3.1million) for the renovation of Frogmore Cottage, their former home near Windsor Castle.

The pair have agreed to pay £18,000 ($24,000) a month to repay the cost of refurbishing the cottage, and royal expert Ingrid Seward said on Wednesday that the new expenditure was ‘not going to be looked at very favorably’.

Reports said yesterday that Harry and Meghan purchased the home with help from Prince Charles, but a source told that the couple ‘feel proud to have struck out on their own and they are saying they bought it without any help from his family.

‘They do have a mortgage, but they see this as their own place, free from relying on anyone else – a proper family home,’ the source said.

At their peak Harry and Meghan’s combined wealth had been estimated to be around $43million.

After changing hands in 2009, the home was listed by Sotheby’s six years later for $34.5million, but had no takers.

Eventually it was relisted for $16,975,000 in January this year, and sold to the Sussexes for $2,325,000 less than the asking price.

Finance technology firm SmartAsset estimates that a $14.7million home in Montecito, California would be liable for around $68,000 per year in property tax.

The tax is based on the purchase price of the home, but is also affected by other variables such as the rate of inflation. 

The couple have bought the property despite still owing the British taxpayer £2.4million ($3.1million) for the renovation of Frogmore Cottage, their former home near Windsor Castle.

The pair have agreed to pay £18,000 ($24,000) a month to repay the cost of refurbishing the cottage, and royal expert Ingrid Seward said on Wednesday that the new expenditure was ‘not going to be looked at very favorably’. 

Harry and Meghan have not revealed what kind of staff they will employ, but a full-time staff of cooks, gardeners and housekeepers would come with a hefty bill.

Christopher Baker, who runs a firm that supplies domestic staff in California, told the Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that a staff for A-list celebrities can cost $200,000 to $300,000 per year, or even more. 

In February this year it was revealed that Harry and Meghan were axing 15 staff and closing their Buckingham Palace office – in a sign that the couple and their son Archie were unlikely ever to return to live in the UK.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex broke the news to their team in person in January following the announcement that they were stepping down as senior working royals.


According to cost-of-living database Numbeo, utility bills for a 900 sq ft home in Santa Barbara County are typically around $200 per month. 

Harry and Meghan’s mansion is more than 10 times larger, suggesting a possible bill of at least $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year. Justin Rubinstein of real estate firm Compass told Business Insider last year that utility bills of $2,000 to $3,000 a month were typical for large mansions. 

‘Landscaping is always important because who wants to spend $10 million on a house and have an unappealing facade or front yard?’ Mr Rubinstein said. ‘Depending on the size of the property, this can easily eclipse $100,000 per year.’ 

The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool.

It also boasts a two-bedroom, two-bath guest house, perfect for Meghan’s mother Doria, who is acting as one-year-old Archie’s nanny. Doria has already been to the house, TMZ reports.

According to Zillow, the house has been updated with the latest Lutron lighting systems and Crestron, including iPad control.

The property is located on a private road in a luxury and secluded estate in Montecito.

Mr Rubinstein says owners of large homes should think about setting aside money for maintenance emergencies, because ‘eventually, there will be a flood, or an electrical issue, or a roof repair’.

‘Whether you save money each month for that, or you just risk it and wait for something to happen, it’s definitely an invisible cost.’

Jennifer Leahy, of Douglas Elliman, which sells properties costing up to $9million in Connecticut, said that houses around 12,000 square feet or larger can incur costs of around $10,000 a month in upkeep.  

Reports earlier this year claimed that Harry and Meghan had hired  $9,000-a-day security firm GDBA to protect them in Los Angeles.

If GDBA were hired for 365 days a year at that rate, Harry and Meghan would be left with a $3.3million bill for security alone. 

GDBA is run by Gavin de Becker, a security expert and former presidential adviser who was previously hired by Jeff Bezos as a private investigator.

The firm offers ‘highly trained, highly screened’ security guards who control access to the homes of the rich and powerful, boasting that its thousands of clients include ‘over 90 of the world’s most prominent families and at-risk individuals’, said to include Tom Hanks and Madonna.

Actor Michael J. Fox describes GDBA as a ‘secret service for famous people’.

De Becker is thought to be close friends with Oprah Winfrey, the chat show host who is also a confidante of Meghan. 

Earlier this year the couple had been holed up in a Beverly Hills mansion owned by Hollywood tycoon Tyler Perry with their son Archie after moving over from Canada, DailyMail TV revealed. 

A source also said the Sussexes have experienced ‘unimaginable’ levels of intrusion from the press while living in the Beverly Hills mansion during the coronavirus pandemic, including paparazzi-operated drones illegally flying within 20 feet of their house to snap photographs.

At least five such incidents have been reported to the LAPD.

By Will Stewart for MailOnline 

The shadowy Russian ‘Scarface oligarch’ who sold Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new home in Santa Barbara is a Moscow tycoon who claims to be at war with the mafia and top Vladimir Putin officials.

Sergey Grishin, 54, who is believed to be worth $500million, has made extraordinary boasts about ‘robbing’ the Russian banking system – including a scam with disappearing ink. 

Based in Los Angeles, the banker has begged Donald Trump for a US passport, saying he needs it to stay safe from Russians who are after him.

His complex relations with glamorous women – including a Russian described by the Gazprom-owned NTV channel as a ‘porn webcam model’ – have led to a number of legal clashes, including alleged death threats.

Grishin has a degree in Physics but his first business venture in Moscow reportedly involved home-baked cookies and hot dogs.

Nicknamed the ‘Scarface oligarch’ due to his earlier purchase of the ‘Scarface’ estate – where Tony Montana got blown to bits and Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein also stayed – he made several videos on his private Gulfstream jet which purported to confess to involvement to financial machinations in the Reds-to-Riches 1990s in Russia.

He wanted to explain how ‘a single person like me can cause the collapse of the Russian banking system’, apparently as a come-on to the US authorities. 

His aim seemed to be to coax a US passport from the Trump administration by implying he had inside knowledge of Russian wrongdoing which would be of interest to the FBI.

In one video filmed on his jet, he claimed he made Russian bankers use a Polish-designed pen to write cheques for $2million.

The special ink could then be made to vanish, allowing him to rewrite the cheque for $250million, he claimed.

This scam was earlier blamed on the Chechen mafia, he claimed.

The larger alleged robbery involved financial manipulations via Estonia at the time when the Soviet Union was collapsing into chaos, he said.

He has praised Trump and his slogan about making America great again, but made clear he wanted a US passport because: ‘I want to be safe.

‘I am kind of under fire right now by the criminal world of Russia…by the top government officials of Russia, too. ‘

In his video message he did not explain the alleged threats from the mafia or Putin’s officials but said: ‘I don’t like this…I hate this. I do not deserve this.’

In fact, surprisingly little is known about the Grishin.

In 2008, Finans magazine dubbed him ‘one of the most mysterious Russian bankers’, who made his first money in selling electronics and petrol.

He has been married at least three times, according to the Russian media.

His latest bride was Anna Fedoseeva, in her late 30s, who worked at an events agency and organised one of his birthday parties.

She moved from St Petersburg to California and ‘he started showering her with presents’, according to one account.

‘Her life turned into a fairy tale – Bentley, furs, expensive hotels and resorts.’

They married in March 2017 and split up 11 months later, amid demands for a return of his ‘gifts’ say reports.

His lawyer Alexey Melnikov, later said: ‘My client has spent over $5million on her, the exact amount is hard to establish since the presents were bought at different times for rubles, US dollars, euro and Swiss francs. Over this time they had traveled to a lot of places.’

There followed legal action in which he demanded the return of an alleged loan from Anna and her business partner Jennifer Sulkess.

They started legal action accusing him of death threats and false imprisonment.

He posted a picture of his bloodied face claiming he had been the subject of domestic abuse.

The oligarch later met former model Ekaterina Loginova and began a relationship with her, it is reported in Russia.

But later he filed a criminal lawsuit against an assistant who has worked for him for 25 years, Svetlana Grachyova, and Loginova.

He accused them of defrauding him while they countered that the banker allegedly threatened them with murder, jail and accused them of a lesbian plot, say reports in Russia.

Loginova was quoted as saying: ‘Grishin invited me, my eight-month-old son and my mother to live with him in the USA, and soon he proposed to me, giving me an expensive ring worth several million rubles.

‘He said he wanted to get married.’

She said: ‘In the summer of 2018, Grishin suddenly left for Moscow, explaining to his bride that he wanted to sue his ex-wife Anna Fedoseeva.

‘After his return, he began to behave extremely aggressively and completely inadequately.

‘Although before that, I heard strange things from him, for example, that he would become the next president of the United States.

‘But after this trip, he went off the rails: every day I heard how he would punish his ex-wife, put her in prison.

‘Frightened by the hatred and cruelty emanating from Grishin, I packed my things and returned to Moscow with my child and mother.’

An earlier wife Anna Grishina also became locked in legal dispute at the end of their relationship, it was reported in Moscow. 

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