Meghan Markle and Harry: Expert on couple being ‘cut off’
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Harry has spent just nine days in the UK since he and Meghan carried out their last royal engagements last year. He returned to attend his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral earlier this month, but his heavily pregnant wife Meghan and 23-month-old son Archie stayed behind in their new California home. Amid mounting speculation over whether the Sussexes will come back to the UK for the unveiling of Princess Diana’s memorial statue in July, a glance back at Meghan’s brief stint on the royal frontline suggests she has never enjoyed living on the royal estates.
Tom Quinn, author of Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan Markle, told Pod Save the Queen about the Duchess of Sussex’s experience in the UK.
Speaking to podcast host Ann Gripper, Mr Quinn said Meghan had initially been “drawn in” by the fantasy element that comes with joining the Royal Family.
However, the author claimed Meghan then realised with disappointment she and Harry would be living “in a little cottage”.
He continued: “I think that actually, she wasn’t too keen on that.
“It seemed like they were being shunted off to a little prefab in the grounds.”
Harry had lived in Nottingham Cottage, nicknamed Nott Cott, since 2013. Meghan moved in with him shortly before their engagement was announced.
The “snug” two-bedroom property on the Kensington Palace estate is significantly smaller than the Sussexes’ current £11million mansion near LA which comes with 16 bathrooms.
But in the pro-Sussex biography Finding Freedom, authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand claimed the future Duchess was initially “thrilled” to be living there.
They alleged: “After months of long-distance, Meghan was thrilled to finally be sharing a postcode, W8 4PY, with her partner.
“She felt at home at Nott Cott with Harry — she’s always been able to bloom where she was planted, but she hadn’t moved to London to start a new job.
“She had moved to London to start a new life.”
Yet, the authors also noted how Meghan wanted to spruce up her new home as soon as she moved in.
The book explained: “Her natural eye for design had gone a long way toward dressing up the house, but there wasn’t really anything she could do about the size.”
The biography claimed Harry was forced to “stoop” when walking through parts of the second floor, while Meghan’s wardrobe supposedly took over one of the two bedrooms.
It was not long before the couple reportedly considered moving into a 21-bedroom flat next door to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Apartment 1A in Kensington Palace.
Speaking during Channel 5’s documentary, ‘Meghan & Harry: Two Troubled Years’, Mr Quinn said Nottingham Cottage had also been at the root of the Sussexes’ fallout with Kate and William.
He said: “Nottingham Cottage is in the grounds of Kensington Palace and it’s quite small.
“It’s tiny compared to the enormous double apartment that Kate and William have.
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“It was being pointed out to them in no uncertain terms that they weren’t in the first division, because that place is held by William and Kate.”
Then just months into married life, Meghan and Harry decided to move into Windsor’s Frogmore Cottage, away from the pressure that comes with London life.
They were also looking for a larger property as they prepared to welcome their son, Archie.
However, Mr Quinn told Ms Gripper that Meghan “suddenly realised it was like living in the Russian Steppe” away from London.
He noted: “She was away from everything.”
Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, visited her daughter in her new Windsor home and reportedly noted that she was “stuck in here”, after the Palace prohibited them from going into the town centre.
Despite moving to North America, the Sussexes have paid a lump sum in rent towards keeping Frogmore Cottage and have repaid the taxpayer for the extensive £2.4million renovations
However, neither have stayed there for a long period of time since November 2019 — which was when Archie was last in the UK.
That year, the family spent Christmas and New Year in Canada, before returning to the UK briefly to carry out their final duties in March 2020.
They then relocated to California, Meghan’s home state, and laid down permanent roots.
The couple have also hinted that they have no intention of moving again anytime soon.
In February, when TV host James Corden joked that the Sussexes should move into the lavish mansion from the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Meghan replied: “I think we’ve moved enough.”
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