Last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved out of Kensington Palace and into their new home, Frogmore Cottage, just a few weeks before baby Archie arrived. “The couple are now living in Windsor, at the house they have refurbished on the Frogmore Estate,” reported ITV in April. “The Sussexes wanted to be settled in their new home before their baby is born.”
Now, even though they will be splitting their time between the UK and the U.S. moving forward, Harry and Meghan intend to keep their Windsor home “so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.”
“Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy,” reads the funding section of their new website.
This was later confirmed by a statement from Buckingham Palace, which noted that, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.”
Now, Harry and Meghan have made good one their promise. In a statement in early September, the couple confirmed that they have “fully covered the necessary renovation costs,” and that the cottage “will remain the UK residence of The Duke and his family.”
Here’s everything else we know so far about the Windsor home:
When Harry and Meghan made their big announcement about stepping back from their roles, they also shared why they chose to move to Windsor in the first place.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose to move to Windsor for various reasons. Their previous residence of Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace could not accommodate their growing family. The option of Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace was estimated to cost in excess of £4 million for mandated renovations including the removal of asbestos,” reads a statement from the funding section of the Sussexes’ new website.
“This residence would not have been available for them to occupy until the fourth quarter of 2020. As a result, Her Majesty The Queen offered The Duke and Duchess the use of Frogmore Cottage, which was already undergoing mandated renovations, and would be available to move in before the birth of their son.”
The home required renovations before Harry and Meghan moved in.
That construction cost $3.05 million in public funds, a number which was revealed in Sovereign Grant in June of 2019. While the public funds paid for the structural work, the interior was furnished by Harry and Meghan. In her story for T&C about the funding, royal reporter Victoria Murphy also clarified that the home did not have a yoga studio, as had been previously rumored.
Harry and Meghan further clarify the breakdown in funds on their new website. “The refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, the Grade-2 listed building in Windsor Home Park was funded by Her Majesty The Queen through the Sovereign Grant, reflecting the Monarchy’s responsibility to maintain the upkeep of buildings with historical significance (see above). Expenses related to fixtures, furnishings, and fittings at the official residence – which is owned by Her Majesty the Queen – were funded privately by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
While the Palace statement made a point of Harry and Meghan’s desire to “repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage,” it’s not currently clear if that would encompass the full $3+ million in renovations costs or if some other sum has been determined.
Meghan and Harry reportedly did not find out Archie’s gender before he was born, and so they opted for a nursery that could work for either a boy or a girl.
“They’ve decided not to find out the sex,” reporter Katie Nicholl said in January of 2019. “But according to sources who are helping with [their new home] renovations, the nursery itself is going to be very modern,” Nicholl continued during an appearance on ET. “Don’t expect to see any baby pink or baby blue. Apparently, it’s going to be a monochrome palette—whites and grays, I’m told, will be the color theme for baby Sussex’s nursery.”
They are also reportedly using eco-friendly vegan paint, and outfitting the nursery with “top-of-the-line cameras, security windows, and a state-of-the-art stereo system.”
They’ve also been making changes to the exterior of the home.
“Frogmore Cottage will be the perfect place for a royal prince to grow up with the Duke and Duchess,” a source told the Mail.
“The Duchess is very involved in the project and wanted the final design to be perfect… But this is not all, the couple are now looking at finishing off their garden to make it perfect for them and Archie. Lighting is a key part of the scheme not just to make the garden pretty but also for security reasons.”
The home was originally leased by Queen Charlotte for her unmarried daughters.
According to The Idea of the Cottage in English Architecture by Daniel Maudlin, “Queen Charlotte had a second cottage, Frogmore Cottage, within the grounds of Frogmore House, leased in 1790, that was a retreat for her and her unmarried daughters within Windsor Home Park.”
Queen Victoria reportedly dined there in 1875, and was less-than-pleased by the number of frogs found on the property, calling them “quite dreadful.” But the residence has also hosted non-royal tenants; American theologian Henry James Sr. lived there in the mid-1800s.
Frogmore House, which shares its grounds with Harry and Meghan’s new home, clearly holds a special place for the couple.
It’s where the couple took their engagement photos, and where they hosted their more intimate evening wedding reception back in May.
The Palace first released a statement about the move on November 24, 2018.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate early next year as they prepare for the arrival of their first child. The couple have lived at Nottingham Cottage since their engagement last year,” read the memo.
“Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate.” The statement also acknowledged that Meghan and Harry’s offices “will continue to be based at Kensington Palace.”
Harry and Meghan will now split their time between the U.K. and North America, but while in the U.K., Frogmore Cottage will be their home base.
“Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom,” reads a statement from their new website.
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