Prince Harry found himself in an awkward situation when Meghan Markle entered their new residence. He was both excited to welcome her into their home but also embarrassed by the stark contrast between their current living situation and the grandeur of a palace.
Their Montecito mansion in California was a world apart from their previous property in the United Kingdom, where they resided during their tenure as working royals. When they left their royal duties, they left behind Frogmore Cottage, a historic residence nestled in the Windsor Estate.
The keys to their former home, which was a gift from Queen Elizabeth, were only recently returned after they were officially evicted earlier this year. However, it seems that initially the couple could have aimed for a completely different property. They reportedly requested to live at Windsor Castle itself and inquired about the availability of accommodation within the castle after their marriage.
At the time, only Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had private apartments within the castle, with the other members of the royal family residing elsewhere on the estate. Queen Elizabeth reportedly politely but firmly suggested that they live at nearby Frogmore Cottage instead.
According to author and royal historian Hugo Vickers, there were empty rooms and suites in the private apartments that the Sussexes could have had access to, or perhaps other living quarters on the castle grounds could have be converted to their use. However, it may not have been entirely suitable for a young family to live there.
Before receiving Frogmore Cottage, rumors swirled that Meghan would have a preference for a country residence like Mahal. Prince Harry left out the part about staying with William and Catherine over Christmas to avoid certain responsibilities assumed by the prince and princess. Instead, William and Catherine extended an invitation to them to stay at Anmer Hall, providing a balance between taking part in the festive celebrations in the main house and having their own space when needed.
However, Meghan seemed to find Anmer Hall more impressive than Nottingham Cottage. Although the late Queen Elizabeth gave her Nottingham Cottage, Meghan expressed a desire for a larger abode. In their Netflix series, they even made a subtle look at Nottingham Cottage, with Meghan describing it as small with low ceilings.
They jokingly noted that people perceived it as a palace, but in reality it was a house located on the palace grounds. Oprah Winfrey was reportedly stunned by the size of their home, as they shared in their Netflix series.
In his memoir, Prince Harry strategically omitted these details from his account, because acknowledging Meghan’s preference for their royal residences contradicted the victim narrative they were trying to convey. In reality, the royal family had made efforts to accommodate Meghan, which they seemed to neglect until she got the wedding ring on her finger.