Prince Harry and Meghan Markle "Requested to Vacate" Frogmore Cottage Home
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have been requested to vacate their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage, a spokesperson for the couple has confirmed. The royal couple now resides in California with their two children, Archie and Lilibet, after stepping back as working members of the royal family in 2020. Frogmore Cottage, a Grade-II listed 10-bedroom property on the grounds of Windsor Castle in Berkshire, was a gift to the couple from the late Queen Elizabeth II. In 2018-19, the couple refurbished the property at an estimated cost of $3 million, which taxpayers initially covered through the Sovereign Grant. However, a spokesperson for Prince Harry confirmed in 2020 that he had fully paid these costs through a contribution to the grant, as reported by People.
It was reported earlier that the property had been offered to the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who currently resides in the nearby 31-bedroom Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, as per BBC News. The request for the Duke and Duchess to vacate the cottage comes months before King Charles III's coronation in May, which the couple has not revealed whether they'll attend. It is unclear why they have been asked to vacate the property, but reports suggest that it may be linked to Prince Harry's explosive memoir, Spare which was released in January.
The book became the fastest-selling non-fiction book in the UK since records began in 1998 and included claims that Prince Harry was physically attacked by his brother, the Prince of Wales. He also wrote that he and his brother, the Prince of Wales, had begged their father not to marry Camilla, now Queen Consort. The book received mixed reviews, some praising it for its candidness, while others criticizing it for its betrayal of the royal family.
Frogmore Cottage has a varied history. Built in 1792 by Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, the cottage was a place for her and her daughters to escape the court. At the time, it was fashionable for the wealthy to build large homes that were set as idyllic rural cottages. Surviving relatives of Tsar Nicholas II also lived there after fleeing to the UK following the murder of other family members by Bolsheviks in 1918.
Since World War II, the cottage has been used as a home for members of the royal household staff before Prince Harry and Meghan moved in. The couple spent time at the cottage during their trips to the UK and celebrated their daughter Lilibet's first birthday there in June. The couple's spokesperson did not provide any information on where the family will live next, but it is unlikely that they will return to the UK on a permanent basis. Since moving to California, the couple has been actively involved in charitable causes, including mental health advocacy, gender equality, and environmental conservation.