The Duke and Duchess of Sussex didn't get their first choice of accommodation when they lived in the United Kingdom after their 2018 marriage, a new book released by a royal author claims. After requesting a private suite in Windsor Castle, the couple was gifted Frogmore Cottage instead.
It is a well-known fact that the royal residences hold great significance to many members of the royal family. The senior royals live in historic homes across the country, with Prince William recently moving into Adelaide Cottage in Windsor close to Windsor Castle with his family as he takes up his new position as the Prince of Wales.
But The New Royals, written by Katie Nicholl, reveals that Harry and Meghan were not given the residence they initially requested and that the home has been an issue of contention ever since.
The royal author has revealed that the Duke and Duchess were initially hoping for ‘a suite of apartments at Windsor Castle’, but were denied this by the late Queen Elizabeth II who instead provided the couple with Frogmore Cottage.
The cottage was seen as a generous gift to the young couple despite the then-newlyweds desire for the Windsor Suites, the book reveals, with the late monarch hoping they would respect her decision.
The Duke and Duchess retain ownership of the cottage to this day, despite relocating to the United States in 2020 after stepping back as senior royals. The cottage was renovated for the couple shortly after it was gifted to them in 2019, costing £2.4 million and involving months of extensive renovation to turn the original 10 bedroom staff accommodation back into a five-bedroom family home.
Frogmore Cottage sits in the grounds of Frogmore House, a much grander retreat once favored by Queen Victoria.
Situated approximately half a mile away from Windsor Castle it has been a royal home since 1792. The home is now largely open to the public, but, the estate is closed to celebrate royal events such as Harry and Meghan's wedding reception and for hosting grand state events.
For the late Queen to gift the smaller of the Frogmore properties to the Duke and Duchess was significant, however, according to close sources. ‘The cottage was a big deal,’ the late Queen's cousin Lady Elizabeth Anson told book author Nicholl (according to the Daily Mail (opens in new tab)). ‘The Queen's entrance into the gardens is right next to their cottage. It is essentially her backyard, her solitude, and her privacy. She was giving that up in gifting Harry and Meghan Frogmore Cottage. We all thought it was very big of her. She said, “I hope they'll respect it.”‘
The cottage, although not their first choice, held special significance to the couple too, with their engagement photos having been taken in the grounds surrounding the home.
Windsor Castle has been a royal home for over 900 years and was a firm favorite of the late Queen. The home is not only a working palace and center of many formal royal duties but also a private home where she usually spent her weekends and the Easter period – a tradition expected to be upheld by the new King Charles III.
The palace is the largest working inhabitable palace in the world, with around 1,000 rooms, so it may be understandable why Harry and Meghan were initially so adamant about converting some of the rooms into a private suite.
It is thought that the request was denied formally due to the unsuitability of the flat for a growing young family.
The Duke and Duchess now spend the majority of their time in the US at their family home in sunny California however they spent significant time at Meghan Markle's former Los Angeles house as a single couple.
The Sussexes now reside in a private gated mansion in Montecito, Santa Barbara, with Frogmore Cottage kindly lent to Princess Eugenie and her husband in their absence.
The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth's Legacy and the Future of the Crown available on Amazon (opens in new tab).
'Vanity Fair royal correspondent and bestselling author of William and Harry and Kate explores the remarkable life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II and the legacy she has handed down after her death to the next generation.'
Chiana is a junior writer for Homes & Gardens having joined Future plc as a new graduate in 2022 after achieving a 1st class degree in Literature at university. She first became interested in design as a child after spending her summers helping her parents redecorate her childhood home. As a long-time reader of Future’s homes titles, Chiana is constantly finding new inspiration at work as she focuses on emerging trends, how-to’s, and news pieces.
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