Shortly before their son arrived, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved from their two-bed city pad in Kensington Palace to a more family-friendly home - Frogmore Cottage, in the grounds of the Queen's Windsor Estate.
According to reports, the royal couple moved into their new home in April 2019, just a few weeks before their son Archie was born. It came after a lengthy delay to the move, which was pushed back due to the extensive renovation the pair ordered on the building.
Given their recent decision to step back from full-time royal duties, and to relocate to Canada, Prince Harry, Meghan, and baby Archie now only use Frogmore Cottage as their UK base whenever they are back in the country. They do not live there full-time.
A brief history of Frogmore Cottage
The cottage was originally known as the Double Garden Cottage, and is located within the Frogmore Estate, as part of Home Park in Windsor.
It initially belonged to Queen Charlotte, back in 1801, having been built for just £450! Later, Queen Victoria’s personal assistant Abdul Karim lived there, in 1897.
Later, it was occupied by Russian royal the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, during the 1920s.
It’s said that Queen Victoria once had breakfast at the home, and actually noticed an ‘immense number of little frogs’, which was described as ‘quite disgusting’ – hence the name Frogmore!
The home has been a Grade II listed property since 1975. Most recently, the cottage had been used as five separate housing units for people working on the Windsor estate.
What is it like inside Frogmore Cottage?
So what exactly is the royal residence like? The home, situated just in front of Frogmore House, and the stunning lake ahead of it, is a Grade-II listed building. And while it has a rich royal history, it wasn’t actually that grand a building before Prince Harry and Meghan moved in.
But the ramshackle home underwent intensive restoration, overseen by the Duchess of Sussex, in order to prepare it for her and Harry.
It’s reported that the home has five bedrooms, as well as a cosy kitchen and nursery.
Harry and Meghan are keen art fans, with Harry having wooed his wife with a piece of art worked entitled Everybody Needs Somebody to Love by British artist Van Donna, during their courtship.
And the Queen is said to have gifted the pair a series of paintings from her own personal collection for their Windsor home. “Meghan and Harry [were] told they can choose some art work for Frogmore Cottage,” a Palace insider told Vanity Fair.
It’s reported that Prince Harry and Meghan drafted in the interior designer of the trendy Soho House, to decorate their home.
Vicky Charles designed many of the private member’s clubs around the world, and it’s probably no surprise that the pair want her to kit out their new home, as they enjoyed many dates at the London and Toronto venues at the beginning of their relationship. Could Frogmore Cottage nod towards Soho House’s country idyll, Soho Farmhouse?
So how might she style the Duke and Duchess’ cottage? If the Soho House clubs interior is anything to go by, the home will include plenty of plush, luxury furnishings.
It could well feature a whole heap of comfy pillows, alongside daring prints and patterns thrown in there too. It also looks as though the home may be full of colour and antique items as well – like many of the rooms in the Soho House venues.
However, designer Vicky has said that designing private homes is very different to the public venues she dresses.
Speaking to the Soho Home website, she admitted, “Private homes are incredibly different. The clients come to us because they want the Soho House aesthetic but you have to make it right for that family or whoever lives there in their space, so it’s not a cookie cutter thing you can just drop in.”
Why did the couple choose to live in Windsor?
The Windsor estate is a special place for Meghan and Prince Harry, as it is the place where they had their wedding, St. George’s Chapel – and of course, holds within it Frogmore House, where they took their official engagement pictures and had their wedding reception.
In their official announcement, Kensington Palace stated, ‘Windsor is a very special place for their royal highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate.’
Frogmore Cottage also offers the royal couple the kind of privacy and seclusion they likely wouldn’t be able to have in London.
What are the Frogmore Cottage gardens like?
Meghan and Harry are lucky that their Windsor home backs on to the enormous Home Park, which is 655 acres of stunning gardens. The estate is only open to the public for just six a year, and even then, access to most parts of the royal grounds is restricted.
The grounds are full of enormous trees, lakes and lush flowers, right in the middle of the Berkshire town.
It sits separate to Windsor Great Park though – the grounds belonging to Windsor Castle.
Who owns Frogmore Cottage?
The royal residence belongs to the Crown Estate, which means that ownership is passed from monarch to monarch, and the doesn’t lie with just one person.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan faced criticism for spending £2.4 million worth of taxpayer money on renovating their property, but have since defended the spend, explaining on their website that the cottage was due to be renovated anyway, as part of essential upkeep on royal properties.
Their website reads, “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 couple have since said they will be paying back the taxpayer money spent on renovating their UK home.
Is Frogmore Cottage open to the public?
No – because the whole of Harry and Meghan’s cottage is a private residence, the public cannot visit it, or any of the grounds surrounding it.
However, the royal building opposite, Frogmore House, is open to the public, but only for a couple of days a year.
In 2019, individuals could visit between 28th – 30th May, so it’s likely to be a similar date this year. It was open for groups to visit throughout August last year.