Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Wealthy Montecito Neighbors Warm Up To Royal Couple

Prince Harry whispers to Meghan Markle as they watch a dance performance by Jukebox Collective in the banqueting hall during a visit to Cardiff Castle
Ben Birchall / Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s neighbors in their wealthy Montecito community in Southern California have warmed up to the celebrity couple, and are even rather protective of them, L.A. Magazine reported.

Being members of the British royal family comes with near-incessant attention from the press. However, since they resigned as senior members of the royal family and moved across the Atlantic Ocean, Harry and Meghan have been continuously bedeviled by paparazzi. Eager photographers hounded the pair in their Vancouver, British Columbia, home — and again when they moved into a Beverly Hills mansion — so much so that they sued to keep photographers’ drones and helicopters from flying over their home.

They’ve since purchased a multi-million-dollar house in Montecito, where they’ve found some degree of relief for two reasons. For one thing, so many privacy-minded individuals live in the community that photographers eventually learn that they’re not going to get much in the way of juicy pictures.

One neighbor, speaking anonymously, said that for now, there are still paparrazi helicopters flying over the home, but they expect it stop soon, noting that when another famous resident moved in, and the paparazzi eventually lost interest in this celebrity.

“Listen, when Oprah bought her house here, the choppers buzzed for about two weeks and then never came back. After a while, they just get bored,” the person said.

prince harry and meghan markle at an event in wales
  Geoff Pugh / Getty Images

It’s a sentiment shared by royals columnist Richard Mineards, who also lives in the area.

“Lately, we’ve had Ariana Grande, Natalie Portman, and Gwyneth Paltrow. We have George Lucas and Larry Ellison of Oracle—the fifth-richest man in America. So they’re in good company,” he said, adding that so many famous people live in the area that no one gives Harry and Meghan a second look.

Not only is the Montecito neighborhood generally successful at thwarting paparazzi, but it also seems that the community has come to be rather protective of their newest residents. In August, a headline in the local newspaper read, “Montecito Vows to Keep Tabloid Culture Across Pond.”

Similarly, the community has come to the couple’s defense and has vowed to protect them as much as they can.

Meanwhile, the couple appears to have avoided being spotted out and about in town, save for the odd bicycling trip. However, locals expect to see them soon at town hotspots such as Pierre Lafond, a French restaurant known to be a favorite of Harry’s cousin, Princess Beatrice.