Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s U.K. home is at the center of a jaw-dropping plot twist in an ongoing royal saga.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed to Fox News Digital that the couple has been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage, suggesting a further fraying of ties with the British royal family amid preparations for King Charles III’s coronation.
“We can confirm The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage,” a spokesperson for the couple said in a statement.
Just before the news broke, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were spotted by photographers having a rainy night out in Los Angeles. They were all smiles at San Vicente Bungalows, a members-only club that bans cellphones and photos.
“Their eviction from Frogmore Cottage has serious implications for the Sussexes,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Fox News Digital. “No one considered that this was one of the royal family’s options.”
“Harry and Meghan thought they could attack the institution with impunity and for financial gain,” he said. “They were obsessed with controlling the narrative and with the trailers and contents of their six-hour Netflix docuseries followed by the publication of Harry’s memoir ‘Spare’ and the television interviews surrounding it, they seemed to be doing just that.”
Frogmore Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle west of London, had been intended as the couple’s main residence before they gave up royal duties and moved to Southern California. The Sun newspaper reported that Harry’s father, the king, started the eviction process on Jan. 11, the day after the publication of Harry’s explosive memoir.
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Disclosures Harry made in “Spare” deepened the rift between him and his family. The book included his account of private conversations with his father, and his brother, Prince William.
“This is a clear indication of Harry and Meghan no longer being welcome in Windsor due to their revelations and intrusions upon the privacy of many other members of the royal family,” royal expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital. “This has huge implications and messaging as a demonstration of how the ball is being played now upon being lobbed into the court of King Charles III.”
“He and Prince William are said to have not spoken to them since they dished damaging allegations during their Netflix documentary in December,” she shared. “That’s when the plans were put in place and swiftly enacted right after the release of ‘Spare.’ It has far larger consequences than Harry and Meghan just having to buy their own U.K. residence if they ever chose to return.”
According to U.K.’s House and Garden, Frogmore Cottage is a 10-bedroom residence built at the direction of Queen Charlotte, the subject of Netflix’s fictionalized “Bridgerton” spinoff, in 1801. The Grade II-listed property sits on the 33-acre Frogmore estate near Windsor Castle. Its name is a nod to the numerous frogs that occupy the grounds, which were even referenced by Queen Victoria in a journal entry.
“We noticed an immense number of little frogs, hardly bigger than a bluebottle fly, hopping and crawling all over the grass and paths,” she wrote. “I observed it first yesterday, but much more today, and especially near the cottage — quite disgusting… the paths had to be swept over and over again.”
The home, originally called the Double Garden Cottage, served as a retreat for Charlotte’s daughters. Some of its notable residents from over the years include Henry James Sr., Victoria’s personal secretary Abdul Karim and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia. The cottage was later separated into five living units and, for a time, housed Windsor estate workers, Vogue reported.
“Don’t let the name fool you… Frogmore Cottage is closer to a mansion than a cottage!” Kinsey Schofield, the host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, told Fox News Digital. “It has a unique history. It used to be five separate apartments for individuals that worked at Windsor Castle. But with beautiful renovations… the home is now a spacious manor.”
Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the British prince in 2018. Six months after their royal wedding, it was revealed that the couple would set up a home at Frogmore. A Buckingham Palace statement confirmed that the couple had accepted the gift of Frogmore from Queen Elizabeth II.
At the time, the Sussexes were living in Nottingham Cottage, or “Nott Cott,” which appeared in the couple’s Netflix documentary. In the series, Markle, 41, recalled how the modest two-bedroom residence on the grounds of Kensington Palace took Oprah Winfrey by surprise.
“We were living on palace grounds,” said the former “Suits” star. “Kensington Palace sounds very regal – of course, it does, it says ‘palace’ in the name, but Nottingham Cottage was a small [house].”
Frogmore may have been a major upgrade, but it was also described by several reports as a “fixer-upper” and required renovations. It had been divided up into offices, which meant that extensive work was required to turn it into a family home, Vogue reported. The Sussexes moved in shortly before the birth of their son Archie in May 2019.
“It was transformed during the renovation with new windows, chimneys, staircases replaced, and many high-tech upgrades by Harry and Meghan into a single residence in 2019,” Fordwich explained. “The major renovations included replacing ceiling beams and floor joists and replacing, rewiring the electrical system, and installing new gas. Outside Meghan added two orangeries, a vegetable garden and a yoga studio.”
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Soundproofing was also essential, Fordwich alleged, pointing out that London’s Heathrow Airport, known as the world’s busiest two-runway airport, is located six miles away. She said “triple-glazed windows” were added to block out jet noise. A nursery with eco-friendly, non-toxic paint was also included.
The couple lived in Frogmore for several months before announcing they were stepping back as senior royals in 2020. Royal accounts for 2019 showed that $3.2 million was spent renovating the cottage. The costs had originally been paid by the Sovereign Grant, the U.K. fund reserved for the royal family that is fueled by British taxpayers. The couple agreed to pay back the money as part of their royal exit. In September 2020, a spokesperson for the couple announced that Harry, 38, “fully covered” the renovation costs.
After the couple relocated to California, Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank moved into Frogmore before the birth of their son August in February 2021. A source said at the time, “Frogmore Cottage continues to be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s residence in the U.K., and they are delighted to be able to open up their home to Princess Eugenie and Jack as they start their own family,” People magazine reported.
“Princess Eugenie and her growing family have honestly spent much more time in the home since Harry and Meghan left,” said Schofield. “It is where Eugenie quarantined to be closer to her parents.”
In May 2022, it was reported that the queen’s granddaughter and her family would split their time between the U.K. and Portugal.
When the Sussexes returned to the U.K. in June 2022 for the queen’s Platinum Jubilee, they stayed at Frogmore. It was there that their daughter Lilibet celebrated her first birthday.
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Following the eviction report, “Finding Freedom” author Omid Scobie reported that Frogmore was “needed” for “someone else” – Harry’s uncle Prince Andrew. A source told Scobie that the couple has until early summer to vacate.
“The king is looking to downsize,” said Schofield. “He doesn’t want the royal family to be seen as wasteful or indulgent in a cost-of-living crisis. This is around the same time that the original Megxit negotiations started in 2020. I think their lease came up and the king simply decided not to renew it because it was a beautifully renovated home just sitting empty 99% of the year. That is wasteful.”
“There are reports that the king plans on turning Buckingham Palace, as well as other royal family homes, into museums,” she shared. “This will generate revenue that will help pay for the upkeep of such historic architecture. Old buildings are expensive to repair. Expensive to maintain. Additionally, it adds the element of education. Teaching tourists the history. Which helps to solidify his family’s legacy.”
“Prince Andrew doesn’t need a huge home all to himself,” Schofield continued. “His daughters are grown. He is no longer a working royal. Despite a smaller, respectable venue seeming like the obvious solution, I have heard that Prince Andrew is struggling with this idea.”
Andrew’s annual allowance of nearly $300,000 is being cut in April, The Telegraph reported. Friends of the 63-year-old claimed this will make it difficult for the duke to maintain Royal Lodge, a 98-acre Windsor property that was the queen mother’s former home. His main source of income is his Navy pension and a “substantial inheritance” from his late parents.
Without a secure base in the U.K., it’s unclear whether the Sussexes will attend Charles’ coronation in May. In 2022, lawyers for Harry told a court hearing he’s unwilling to bring his children to his homeland because it is not safe.
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“Unfortunately it looks as if King Charles is being petty and petulant – slamming the door permanently on any hope of reconciliation with Harry,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital. “And even though Andrew is being relegated to much smaller quarters, the mere fact that the Sussexes are being evicted so he can live there sends the message that he’s being rewarded in some strange way – as if the king is turning his back on his son but happy to have his disgraced brother on the premises at Windsor.”
But for Fitzwilliams, the king is laying down the law.
“It is the couple’s destructive behavior, driven by personal pique and monetary gain, that has caused this problem,” he insisted. “They want an apology. They won’t get one. Instead, they’ve finally got the boot. They richly deserve it!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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