Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were all smiles in Los Angeles on Tuesday, going on a very rare pap stroll after news came out that Harry’s father King Charles had ordered them to vacate their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage. The photos served as a public signal that they aren’t bothered by Charles’ surprise move and remain happy in California. But behind the scenes, royal reporter Omid Scobie reports for Yahoo! UK, the couple was “left stunned” by Charles’ decision, per sources.
While Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the news to Scobie, Meghan and Harry’s rep confirmed to People yesterday that, yes, the couple had been asked to vacate the property. Meghan and Harry had a long-term lease on it and had repaid the full cost of renovations. Frogmore Cottage was given to them as a wedding gift by the late Queen.
The details Scobie got from his sources paint a picture of just how much of a blow the decision is to Meghan and Harry, along with the greater implications it has for their safety while in the U.K.
One source said, “Harry and Meghan have until early summer to vacate. Initially they were given just weeks, but now they have at least until after the coronation.” Scobie noted invitations for the coronation have not been sent out yet, so it’s unclear whether Harry and Meghan will attend.
A friend of the couple called it “cruel punishment,” particularly amid reports that Charles offered his disgraced brother Prince Andrew the property.
“It all feels very final and like a cruel punishment,” the friend said. “It’s like [the family] want to cut them out of the picture for good.”
Andrew wasn’t the only royal who considered moving into the property. Scobie reported that, at one point last summer, even Prince William considered moving his family there before taking Adelaide Cottage nearby. “The optics [of Kate and William moving to Frogmore Cottage] would have been terrible though,” a source said.
Charles didn’t offer Harry and Meghan an alternative U.K. property.
Meghan and Harry losing Frogmore Cottage means the duke and duchess no longer have access to one of their safest spaces in the U.K. Scobie pointed out that the property has higher security there, due to its location on the Queen’s Windsor estate, as it is protected by the Met’s Royalty and Specialist Protection Unit.
Harry is currently in court, trying to fight for the right to pay out of pocket for police protection since the royal family revoked his and Meghan’s right to it after they stepped back from their working royal family roles for good in 2021. (Police protection is taxpayer-funded for working royals, and they have intel on threats that private security does not.) Harry has spoken about how, given the threats against him and his family, he does not feel safe bringing his children over to visit.
Still, Scobie pointed out that Charles losing the opportunity to see his grandchildren, Meghan and Harry’s Archie and Lilibet, isn’t enough to make him back down from the eviction. Time will tell what the greater implication will be on Harry and Meghan’s future with the family, and whether it affects their decision to attend or skip Charles’ coronation.
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.