Santa Barbara locals describe life with Meghan and Harry

Prince Harry and Meghan 'need the money' says Tom Bower

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s decadent Montecito home is like “Fort Knox”, a local resident has told, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are widely reported to be eyeing up a change of scenery. The royals have lived in their $14.5m mansion in the exclusive neighbourhood of Santa Barbara since leaving senior royal duties in early 2020. Montecito florist Lynn, who has spent decades in the sunny California area since moving over from Scotland, recalled the “military” atmosphere she discovered in the security around the house when delivering flowers to the address.

Lynn, speaking next to her floristry shop with employee Marcello Ross, said the delivery was destined for a “Miss M”.

Lynn recounted to “So I turned up and said I am here to deliver flowers. And I was told to drive on to the next gate and they were watching me on camera the whole time.”

Mr Ross, 42, then quipped: “It is like Fort Knox up there!”

Lynn described being unable to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess’s home from the front gates, and was confronted by more security.

She commented: “There were guys there who looked like they had just come from the military. They had buzz cuts. They could have been armed.

“So I said I am delivering flowers. And the gate opens. You cannot even see the house, it is so far back.

“And then guys show up. It is like the military!

“They have got the whole thing. It is totally secure.”

She added: “And I like to get out and out the final finishing touches before I deliver them, and I had no idea who it was for. It was addressed to ‘Miss M’.

“All that security, though, it was so stupid! As if I was going to attack the place or blow the place up or something. So stupid!

“But, anyway, I got the flowers out and the guys took them and just buzzed off. But can you imagine living like that?”

Forbes has previously estimated that the Duke and Duchess’s security bill could reach between $2 and $3m each year.

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Montecito is home to a host of celebrities, including actress Gwyneth Paltrow, singer Ariana Grande and actors such as Orlando Bloom and John Travolta.

They have since welcomed one-year-old Lilibet to their opulent home that is thought to include a home cinema, a library and saunas as a separate guest house.

Meghan has previously described their luxurious residence as a “calm” and “healing” space.

She added earlier this year that the couple “did everything we could to get this house”.

But the Duke and Duchess are on the hunt for a new home, just down the road in Hope Ranch, reports have claimed in recent weeks.

Some Hope Ranch residents have said they are “worried” about the spotlight that the royals could bring to the highly exclusive community.

One resident expressed anxiety about a “circus” coming to the neighbourhood if the Duke and Duchess were to relocate with their two children.

They told celebrity outlet TMZ: “Nobody in Hope Ranch holds any ill will towards the Sussexes, but the fact is, many fear they’re going to bring a circus to their quiet, super-private ‘burb since they’re so famous and controversial.”

Royal biographer Tina Brown also suggested that it would be a “wholly different game” for the Sussexes in the “super rich” Hope Ranch community.

She commented at the Henley Literary Festival: “In Montecito, their $14 million mansion is a humble cottage compared to what these other people have.”

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