Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been given another excuse to whinge about the royal family after they were asked to vacate their UK home of Frogmore Cottage, set in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex walked away from their royal duties and quit Britain for a new life in the Californian sunshine, but retained their Grade II listed property given to them by the late Queen Elizabeth II, as a wedding gift back in 2018. However, since they no longer reside there, they have been told they need to clear any belongings that they have left behind and move out as soon as possible.
The fact that the eviction notice came soon after Harry decided to divulge highly personal information about his family in his controversial memoir, may have been the trigger that sparked this action. In his book, Spare, which became the fastest-selling non-fiction book in the UK since records began (although the justification for the non-function tag has been strongly questioned by many), he lays into his brother, father, and the Queen Consort.
Additionally, he lets known certain details which have caused immense anger and embarrassment, not least for his old royal air force squadron, and a women who although not naming her, felt the need to own up to being the person he referred to being responsible for “taking” his virginity, in a passage that most people feel was totally unnecessary.
The Prince has openly spoken about receiving therapy and seems to have convinced himself that despite the enormously privileged upbringing he enjoyed, he is correct in believing that in his opinion and similar to how his late mother felt, he was different to the rest of his family.
Buckingham Palace has revealed that he has been sent an invitation to the up coming Coronation of King Charles III, but unsurprisingly, instead of graciously accepting, he has chosen to delay a response – it is his son Archie’s Fourth birthday that day. Also it was disclosed that his daughter, Lilibet, has been given her formal royal title of “Princess” when she was christened recently at a ceremony at the couple’s American home, despite the couple insisting they wanted privacy and a normal life for their children.
Frogmore Cottage rich in history
A spokesperson for the Prince and his wife Meghan, has confirmed that the couple have recently received notification from Buckingham Palace requesting that they vacate their base in the UK at Frogmore Cottage. After being gifted the property for their 2018 marriage, they refurbished it at staggering expense estimated to be around £2.4m. The eye-watering cost was initially covered by the British taxpayers, but has since been repaid in full.
The cottage, a stones throw away from where the couple had their wedding, has a rich and varied history. It was built on the instruction of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, way back in 1792, as a place for her and her daughters to escape to, as was the fashion for the very wealthy of that era.
When the surviving relatives of Tsar Nicholas II had to flee Russia in 1918 following the murder of family members by Bolsheviks, they lived in the property for a period of time.
Commercial income streams
The couple used grounds of press intrusion as their reason for walking away from their duties as senior royals, claiming the wanted more privacy. Although not as vocal about it, there was also the clear frustration that was simmering at what they considered the Palace’s interference at their attempt to significantly grow their “Sussex Royal” brand.
They were allowed to keep their titles, much to the annoyance of many, but Harry was forced to relinquish his military titles, and any money from his royal privileges was stopped. Consequently, they needed to find alternate ways of generating income, which they discovered they could do through commercial arrangements, such as television, podcasts and latterly book sales.
They created a media company – Archwell Productions, which signed up to make various programmes for Netflix, believed to be worth millions of dollars. Nevertheless, it is his recently released book, Spare, which has created a real storm for the couple, with some astonishing revelations, particularly about his father and sibling.
Book full of contradictions and unnecessary content
The book has met with huge criticism and is full of the resentment and bitterness at a self-inflicted estrangement from a family portrayed as uncaring, from someone who has known nothing but privilege, luxury and entitlement his whole life. He comes across as someone who is self absorbed, with no sense of awareness of the outside world.
It reads at times almost as a confession, at others as a vehicle for a rant, then a times drifting into a sort of love letter, and together it gives the impression of an angry drunken text. Some of his self-pity can be associated with the trauma of the death of his mother, which appears to be affecting him more the older he gets.
He cries out for privacy, but with large degrees of hypocrisy he feels justified to speak out and divulge private matters relating to his brother and father, the King and future King of the country he insists he still cares deeply for.
Then there is the humiliation he cast on Sasha Walpole, who felt the need to come clean about being the woman to take the Prince’s virginity, after he made reference to it in the autobiography, dropping clues that were leading back to Ms Walpole. He may argue that he didn’t name her, but enough people were able to put two and two together to make life difficult for the ex-groom ,who is married with children and certainly did not invite the publicity that Harry has landed on her doorstep.
Luxury home and living the dream
The couple now lives in the Montecito neighbourhood of Santa Barbara, California, with their two children, in a luxury mansion which apparently cost the couple the equivalent of £11.5m. The Mediterranean and Spanish Revival-style home, with mountains in the background and glorious ocean views, wants for nothing.
There is an outdoor swimming pool, huge lawns with towering palm trees, a tennis court, steam and massage rooms, sauna, jacuzzi, bar and an amazing wine cellar. Just down the road is home to a couple of celebrities that are very useful to have on side, namely: Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Of course the former has already given the couple an opportunity to tell their side of the story, in a controversial interview which aired two years ago.
Privacy seemingly not so important
One of the reasons for leaving the UK was to allow their son Archie to grow up away from any spotlight, as a normal little boy. Since moving to the States their daughter, Lilibet, has come along, and the couple recently announced that she was christened at the beginning of March, and they let it be known that she has taken the formal royal title of Princess Lilibet Diana. Archie too will assume the title of Prince in formal settings.
Seemingly, the Duke and Duchess were said to be keen not to deny their children their birthright, which again seems to be a contradiction of earlier messages put out regarding a wish for privacy and a normal life for their children.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children were also entitled as male line grandchildren, to use the titles of prince and princess, but their parents decided they did not wish them to be known as such; so Harry and Meghan could easily have kept their children well and truly out of the limelight, if as they had hinted, it was their preference.
Undecided whether to witness father being crowned King
An issue that is creeping ever closer is whether or not the couple will attend the Coronation of Harry’s father, King Charles III and the Queen Consort, due to take place on Saturday 6 May. They are understood to have received correspondence from His Majesty’s office, but a spokesperson for the pair said: “An immediate decision on whether the Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time.”
Harry had previously hinted that he would not go unless there was some sort of an apology issued, which he seemingly believes the couple are owed. “The door is always open and the ball is in their court,” he stated when asked the question during his book launch. He also threw in that the day clashed with his son Archie’s fourth birthday.
Just to be clear, this is not an invite to a dinner party, or even a basic family gathering, his father is being crowned the King… there should not be anything that prevents his attendance. If he fails to go it is doubtful that he will never be allowed to forget it.
Therapy helps burst “bubble”
The Prince has also just concluded an online discussion with therapist Dr Gabor Maté, an author on trauma and addiction and was marketed as being a communication about grief and living with loss. Harry repeatedly spoke about learning how important the therapy sessions he had attended had been in allowing him to understand better his emotions.
He did remark that his fear was losing memories of his mother when he started to process, but had come to realise that “actually she just wanted me to be happy.” Not grasping that until recently is both sad and probably indicative of his state of mind. He explained to Dr Maté that he believed his mother and him were “slightly different” from the rest of the family, and that he had a sense of living in a disconnected “bubble”, but which therapy had helped him to burst.
Belief that book will help others
Instead of this being a positive though, he appears to have interpreted it as a negative, a theory that his rantings in his book would seem to support. He defended the use of psychedelic medicine, saying it had helped him “deal with the traumas and pains of the past” but added that taking cocaine “didn’t do anything for me,” although marijuana he said was different, and that “really did help me.”
When asked about his own thoughts now that his memoir had been published, his response was to say it made him feel “incredibly free”, and believed that the book was an “act of service” to help others break the taboo about speaking about mental health problems.
Listen on one condition
Maybe more telling however, was the stipulation for viewers who wished to watch the online interview, that they had to buy a copy of Spare. Exploitation or opportunism, either way another appalling error in judgement to add to a growing list.