He wasn’t being literal.
When Prince Harry joked at their first ever Royal Foundation forum this February that he and brother Prince William (and by association, their spouses Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton) were “stuck together for the rest of our lives” he meant as partners in the organization they set up in 2009 to champion the causes they are both equally passionate about, as members of The Firm, dedicated to representing their beloved grandmother Queen Elizabeth II in all aspects of their public life. But not, as it turns out, as neighbors on the sprawling grounds of Kensington Palace.
Because on Saturday, Harry and Meghan’s expected post-wedding real estate bump was announced and, to the surprise of many, it’s not leading them to the residence’s 21-room Apartment 1, just a stones throw from the four-story spread William and Kate share with Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and 8-month-old Prince Louis, but rather some 25 miles away to the Queen’s Windsor Estate.
And while it would be easy to continue the narrative that started when it was revealed the two brothers intended to divide up their two courts into the House of Cambridge and the House of Sussex, the idea that Harry is at war with his sibling simply isn’t true. Nor is Meghan begging her husband to put some physical distance between her and Kate. The two duchesses are admittedly quite different and likely not destined to become besties, but getting along has never really been a problem no matter how many stories are written about their supposed battle for the spotlight.
Rather, the issue is with London—more specifically with in-the-spotlight existence city life would mean for Harry and Meghan’s heir, due to make his or her appearance some time next spring. While pictures of Harry’s childhood romps with his 27-months-older bro would suggest that their Kensington Palace childhood was quite idyllic, the problem lies in the fact that there is photographic evidence at all.
Quite simply, a source tells The Daily Mail, Harry is keen “to escape the goldfish bowl of royal life.”
As recently as this fall, the 34-year-old seemed okay with signing up for more, a source telling The Daily Mail there were “multiple” home options available for the couple looking to upgrade from their quaint, but small, two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage. The list included the reported Apartment 1, with the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester happy to downsize to a smaller Kensington property.
But after he and Meghan, 37, returned from their first major royal tour—16 straight days of posing for cameras, answering intrusive questions and shaking countless hands at their pre-event walkabouts—they revealed they’d reached their decision, telling aides to start plans on the renovation of Windsor’s 20-room Frogmore House.
The site of their May wedding reception, the country spread is no doubt “a very special place for their royal highnesses,” as the palace said in a statement. But that’s just one reason the cottage appealed to the expectant pair. While there were practical considerations (the UK paper noted renovating historical Apartment 1 could cost somewhere in the neighborhood of the $5 million-plus spent to bring William and Kate’s pad up to snuff), the main factor was the well-being of their future Lord or Lady.
After all, George and Charlotte spent their earliest years at Anmer Hall in the far more remote village of Norfolk, a choice William was able to make for his family due to the 10-bedroom spread’s proximity to his gig as an air ambulance pilot and his grandmother’s blessing. “William is very grateful,” a friend told Vanity Fair back in 2016. “It’s enabling him and Kate to raise their family in a way that’s as close to ordinary as they can get.”
But fully committing to royal life last fall meant giving up some of that peaceful anonymity, William’s role as king-in-the-making meaning it was more important for him to maintain a London residence. Even in their new, far more public digs, William and Kate have remained committed to giving their brood as normal a childhood as is possible for a trio of title holders. A green space adjacent to their palace home gives the tots a place to run around, but should they wish to have a little more legroom at nearby Kensington Gardens, they open themselves to prying, curious eyes and photographers’ lenses.
Prince Harry Meghan Markle, Duchess of SussexJohn Stillwell/PA Wire
“The Cambridges have their garden in the back, which is nice,” a source told The Daily Mail, “but there is no real other space for children to play in.” By contrast, Frogmore House at Windsor “is secluded, peaceful, tranquil and, most importantly, private,” said the source. “No one will see them coming or going.”
Plus it comes with one very enthusiastic review. Having grown up in Windsor alongside older sister Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, who now shares a Kensington home with new husband Jack Brooksbank, regaled Harry and Meghan with tales of her happy memories. “It was actually Princess Eugenie who convinced them to make the decision,” a source revealed to Us Weekly, “as she had such a wonderful, peaceful childhood on the grounds of Windsor.”
And that’s precisely what Harry and Meghan are hoping for their future brood. Speaking to Elle in 2015, Meghan waxed on about being raised in a picturesque area of Los Angeles, describing her neighborhood as “leafy and affordable.” And though she will be bringing up her child some 5,000 miles and an ocean away, she’s still hoping to replicate that quaint slice of suburbia. “They want their children to grow up in as normal an environment as possible,” shared the source.