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The Prince of Wales continued to support the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a "substantial sum" in the months after they stood down as senior royals, Clarence House has said.

Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey his family "cut me off financially" in the first quarter of 2020.

A Clarence House spokesman said Prince Charles continued to fund the Sussexes until that summer – but they were now financially independent.

The Sussexes have yet to comment.

The comments by Clarence House were made as the annual royal accounts were published.

Accounts for the Sovereign Grant show the monarchy cost the taxpayer £87.5m during 2020-21, an increase of £18.1m on the previous financial year.

Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has revealed its proportion of ethnic minority staff (8.5%) for the first time.

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Funding for both of Prince Charles's sons – the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex – and their families contributed to a £4.5m bill for the prince, his Clarence House financial accounts showed.

Harry and Meghan were still listed as receiving money from Charles's Duchy of Cornwall income, despite quitting the monarchy at the end of March last year.

The funding bill – plus other expenditure, including Prince Charles's capital expenditure and transfer to reserves – dropped by around £1.2m in the financial year after the Sussexes stopped being senior royals.

A senior Clarence House spokesperson said: "As we'll all remember in January 2020 when the duke and duchess announced that they were going to move away from the working royal family, the duke said that they would work towards becoming financially independent.

"The Prince of Wales allocated a substantial sum to support them with this transition.

"That funding ceased in the summer of last year. The couple are now financially independent."

During the couple's interview with Winfrey in March, Harry said "my family literally cut me off financially" in "the first quarter of 2020".

Quizzed about the timeframes, the Clarence House spokesperson said: "I wouldn't acknowledge that they are dramatically different. All I can tell you are the facts."

Harry and Meghan signed multimillion-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify, with the duke telling Winfrey he secured these to pay for his security.

He said he had what Diana left him – £7m at the time – and "without that we would not have been able to do this".

'Must do more'

Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has said it "must do more" and is "not where it would like to be" in terms of diversity.

The Royal Household has revealed in its annual financial accounts for 2020-2021 that its proportion of ethnic minority employees stands at 8.5%, with a target of 10% for 2022.

In the UK, around 13% of the UK population is from a minority ethnic background, according to the latest 2011 Census data.

A total of 8.5% of Buckingham Palace staff are drawn from ethnic minorities. That compares to 13% of the UK's population at the time of the 2011 census and just under 40% of the population of London, where the majority of staff are based.

"Could do better" is Palace's own verdict. "We recognise we are not where we want to be", said a senior Palace source; next year's target is 10%.

But change may be hard to achieve. While public funding has remained steady, the extra money the monarch made from things like paid visits to the palaces fell by half.

A £10m shortfall was covered by cutting back on some events like garden parties and by a recruitment freeze.

Without new faces it is difficult to change the profile of household staff; and the Palace reckons that Covid restrictions will hit its supplementary income for some time to come.

The Sovereign Grant is funded by profits from the Crown Estate – a multibillion-pound property portfolio that ranges from London's Regent Street to Ascot Racecourse.

The estate is managed by an independent organisation, with any profit paid to the Treasury for the benefit of all UK taxpayers.