Harry and Meghan’s dramatic decision to move home has been blamed on tension between Meghan and Kate Middleton, but it may also have been given impetus by concerns over the unsuitability of their accommodation in a ‘gardener’s cottage’ in the grounds of Kensington Palace for their new baby.
An insider told The Daily Beast that “more space” would be “welcome” for the young couple when they have their baby.
“They just want to have somewhere they know will be ready for them when the baby is born. Part of the trouble is there is not really anywhere else suitable at Kensington Palace,” said Robert Jobson, author of an acclaimed new biography of Prince Charles.
Sources have described their current residence, Nottingham Cottage, as a ‘hangover’ from Harry’s bachelor days, which was perfectly suited to him as a single man but is not ideal for a growing family.
Prince Harry’s office at Kensington Palace declined to comment further to The Daily Beast, but reiterated that the couple were ‘grateful’ to be moving to Frogmore Cottage, in the grounds of Frogmore House, a grand (unoccupied) house and estate privately owned by the Crown, which unlike KP, is only open to the public a few isolated days per year.
The limitations of ‘Nott Cott’ as it is colloquially known at the palace were apparent to Kate and William, who lived there before Harry did. They were said to be frustrated that the house could not be fitted with central air conditioning.
After Prince George was born in a summer heatwave, they went back there briefly, but then swiftly decamped to their country home, Anmer Hall on the queen’s Sandringham Estate, living there almost all of the time until their luxurious apartment inside the palace was complete.
Although visually appealing, ‘Nott Cott’, which was designed by the great architect Sir Christopher Wren and was previously given as a retirement home to the queen’s first governess, Marion ‘Crawfie’ Crawford, is cramped and dark inside.
William was said to have constantly hit his head on the low door frames.
It would therefore not be in the least surprising if Meghan and Harry did not consider the property suitable to raise a child.
There have also been claims that Prince Harry is as much responsible as Meghan Markle for the couple’s decision to move away from Kensington Palace and the shadow of William and Kate.
Harry has become ‘dictatorial’ since his wedding to Meghan, according to a report in the Daily Mail, which says this has exacerbated tensions between the two duchesses, who have very different styles.
“[Meghan] is quite opinionated and Harry has got very dictatorial of late, which hasn’t made things easy at times,” the paper quotes a source as saying.
Harry is often thought of as the easier-going of the two brothers, however both William and Harry, The Daily Beast has been told by sources, are subject to bouts of incandescent rage.
Harry apparently took to shouting, “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets,” in the run-up to their wedding earlier this year.
In fact, it may be a case of what Harry wants, Harry gets.
Diana’s youngest son has always been indulged and forgiven his mistakes by his grandmother, who was deeply aware of how brutally he was affected by the death of his mother as a boy.
His rather unusual request to move to Frogmore Cottage, in the grounds of the little-used royal residence Frogmore House, near Windsor, was apparently nodded through by Her Majesty, despite the fact that it has involved rehousing numerous staff who were living in the property and a £4.5m, taxpayer-funded renovation of the property.
The palace are fighting back against the narrative that tension between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton is the root of the decision by Harry and Meghan to move to an isolated royal house near Windsor.
Official sources have emphasized to The Daily Beast that the allegations of a rift between Meghan and Kate were being made by anonymous, unattributed sources and they now appear to have redoubled their efforts to pour cold water on the story, with sources briefing the Daily Mail that Harry and Meghan want privacy—and garden space for their kid.
“The Cambridges have their garden in the back, which is nice, but there is no real other space for children to play in,” the paper quotes a source as saying about Kensington Palace, “Frogmore is secluded, peaceful, tranquil and, most importantly, private. No one will see them coming or going.”
However any attempt to rebrand the move as being primarily about garden space may be an uphill battle. Coming hard on the heels of news that Harry and William are to divide their courts the move has been taken as yet more evidence of the brothers going their own ways.