Are Prince Harry & Meghan cancelling the lease on their Cotswold cottage?


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

A weird thing happened last week: I wrote about something related to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the story barely got any comments! I actually found it interesting though – less than a year ago, Harry and Meghan did a long-term lease on a “Cotswolds cottage.” They were apparently fine with not receiving a country estate from the Queen for their wedding, so they seemed content to just do a long-term rental of this home. In the past year, photos of the cottage had not been revealed or widely circulated (because I never saw any). Then, last week, suddenly the Sun got the exclusive look at the Cotswold country cottage. It looked charming and English-country, but not really a cottage (nor was it an “estate” or mansion to be clear, it was just a nice-sized converted farmhouse). So, just after we got to see the first photos of the cottage, what happens? Suddenly, Meghan and Harry don’t want to live there anymore? And it might be about money? What the what?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to move out of their Cotswolds bolthole within weeks. The couple took a two-year lease on the £2.5million former farmhouse in a picturesque hamlet in the run-up to their wedding last year and spend most weekends there. Friends say it gives Harry and Meghan the chance to escape the ‘goldfish bowl’ of royal life at Kensington Palace, where they live in two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage.

It had been anticipated that the couple, who are expecting their first child in April, would keep the house on after moving from London to Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s Windsor estate this spring. But the Daily Mail has learnt that the couple will be cancelling the lease early and moving out in March.

One source suggested yesterday that the sudden move is down to the fact they are struggling to pay for the upkeep of two properties, particularly as the building works on Frogmore Cottage are expected to cost up to £3million. While taxpayers will shoulder the bulk of the bill, Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, are having to pay for all the fixtures and fittings themselves.

However, another source insisted that finance was not an issue and suggested that the real reason behind the move was security. The isolated luxury home, which the Mail has chosen not to identify, is near the trendy private members’ retreat Soho Farmhouse, where many of Meghan’s UK-based friends hang out. The estate, owned by multi-millionaire Old Etonian Nicholas Johnston, lies eight miles north-east of Chipping Norton and is at the heart of an area described as ‘Poshfordshire’ thanks to its regular celebrity visitors and weekend residents.

[From The Daily Mail]

First and foremost, it’s not a financial issue. It just isn’t. Harry has his inheritance, Meghan has her own money, and security is paid for by the taxpayer. Meghan and Harry aren’t spending their money to “fix up” a RENTAL property either – the homeowner, Nicholas Johnston, would need to pay for any renovations to his own property, don’t you think? That angle of the story – that Meghan and Harry are suddenly poor or pinching pennies – is utter bullsh-t and just another careful piece of Meg Slander.

What I think is happening is that Nicholas Johnston got word that Meghan and Harry were moving out, and that’s why we suddenly got photos of the property – Johnston is looking for new renters, or he’s looking to sell the place at a big mark-up because the Sussexes lived there. As for why they’re moving out? I suspect they have several reasons, and none of them are financial. For one, Frogmore Cottage is their new “country house” so why do they need a place in Cotswold? Two, perhaps they’re looking to buy and not rent now that they have a better idea of what their future needs will be. Three, it’s possible that the Queen has already told them that she’ll be giving them some property when they welcome little Royal Polo Baby. She gave Anmer Hall to the Cambridges right after George was born, so she does seem to like to mark a birth with some royal property.

Sussex Birkenhead visit

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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67 Responses to “Are Prince Harry & Meghan cancelling the lease on their Cotswold cottage?”

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  1. Cee says:

    Yeah, two country homes make no sense. Once the renos at Frogmore got started, the lease on the Cotswold farmhouse was going to end.

  2. runcmc says:

    To be fair, I think we all found it weird that they signed a 2-year lease on a rental in the first place. That was a weird choice to make considering all of the real estate options royals have- even if the queen hadn’t gifted them homes, they would have plenty of places to stay right?

  3. Peg says:

    Kaiser, you hit the nail on the head. The Media knew where this house was all along, so I think the owner gave the pictures to the mail to publish.
    Meghan’s makeup artist friend working in Paris for fashion week, visited her for the weekend, posted pictures on Instagram, of a teapot and Avocado sandwiches.

  4. Elisabeth says:

    I mean…it could be about money? Harry reportedly gets about 350k£ year from the investments of his fortune. Meghan had a net worth of 5 million before she got married. She still gets residuals from Suits but I doubt they add up to 2.5 million a year, and Harry can’t cover that on his own. Their portion of his father’s Duchy of Cornwall $ last year was 3.5 million £. Paying for the lease plus what I’m sure are top of the line furnishings for a new large house plus wardrobe costs and any personal staff…I can see money and security combining to be an issue with 3.5 million a year. That money would go very, very quickly.

    • Elena says:

      I asked the question last week if Meghan was paying for her own clothes. So I wonder how much they are paying for out of their own pockets to keep up multiple households.

    • Sassy says:

      Since you put it that way they are poor no wonder she did an engagement in $30 dress last week.

      • Elisabeth says:

        I would love to be “poor” like that, but I do think finances are limited, in the sense that millions of pounds can feel limiting when compared to tens or hundreds of millions of pounds. There’s a reason most of the RF (beyond the Queen and Charles) live in grace-and-favor apartments and gifted country estates, and take vacations to the homes of friends and on the private jets of other friends. The lifestyle the entire Will/Harry generation of royals grew up leading costs an insane amount of money, and the only people in the family who *actually* have that money are the monarch and the Prince of Wales.

    • Mae says:

      The lease on that property is not for 2.5 million. That’s the amount the property is worth.

      • Elisabeth says:

        It was described everywhere as a two year, 2.5 million lease. So I don’t think it’s out of bounds to say they were paying 2.5 million over the course of the lease.

      • Cerceau says:

        Mae is right, it’s described above as a “two-year lease on the £2.5 million former farmhouse”. That implies the price to purchase the house is £2.5 million.

      • Tina says:

        That’s a Daily Mail trademark. “[Celeb X], who lives in a £3m home,” even when it has absolutely no relevance to the story. They’ve eased off on that a bit since house prices have dropped like a stone due to Brexit.

    • Himmiefan says:

      I thought Harry inherited several million from his mother and from the Queen Mother. Is so, it would be a PR win if he and Meghan could pay for all of the renovations to Fogmore Cottage themselves.

      • Elisabeth says:

        Harry and William received 14 million from their Great-Grandmother. I’ve read two conflicting things about that money – one that it was split evenly between the boys, and one more recently that posits Harry got “the bulk” of it because William will be Prince
        Of Wales one day. They did evenly split their inheritance from their mother, which was about 10 million each after taxes. So he has money, plenty of it. But most of it is invested, presumably.

    • Rhys says:

      I think you might be on to something. As simple as it sounds, both princes are not mega rich if we compare them to the truly wealthy who make up their social circle. Meghan certainly was not a wealthy actress, just comfortably well off. They enjoy many perks due to their status of royals and probably have many great investments, but when you are partying on your friend’s yacht or fly their private jet and know that you cannot have any of that on your own, it’s a whole different story. William, by the way, is VERY tight with money and for a good reason (he doesn’t like to work… just kidding!).

  5. TheOriginalMia says:

    They don’t need 2 country houses. They will have Frogmore Cottage and their place at KP. I think renovations are going well and on schedule and they anticipate being in it before the birth.

    • Mae says:

      What place in KP? Didn’t KP already make a statement that they will be leaving Nottingham cottage and that Frogmore will be their home base?

      • wisdomheaven says:

        KP never said whether they were giving up Nottingham Cottage or not. The media assume that to be the case, but there isn’t actually anything to indicate that.

      • Mac says:

        It’s not clear if they will have a London base. Anne, Andrew, and Edward all have apartments in BP for when they are in town. Harry and Meghan may keep Nottingham, but I suspect they will want a something larger than two bedrooms since they will soon have a baby and a nanny.

      • Tina says:

        I’d be very surprised if they didn’t retain Nott Cott at least. Having a London pied a terre is de rigueur. (And they say that we hate the French).

  6. Weaver says:

    This is BS. It’s dog-whistling at its finest. Harry gets with a Black-ish woman and suddenly he and Meg have no fiscal responsibility and are headed for skid row. Meghan brought more personal wealth and earning potential into her relationship with Harry than Kate did with William yet we never heard how Will & Kate were “struggling” financially.

    The British press are weaponizing every normal event that occurs in Meg & Harry’s lives and applying a negative motive.

    • Jinjie says:

      Uhm The Middletons are millionaires in their own right. Kate Middleton’s parents were well worth £40M before she even married Prince William. Their home alone is valued at £10M. No way Meghan had that kind of wealth at any point in her career.

      • Weaver says:

        I said Meghan had more “ personal wealth” and earning potential. She was a successful actress on a syndicated show and had a degree in international relations which she utilized in her philanthrophic endeavors all over the world.

        Kate has no discernible employment history save working for her parents or friends. She got an MRS. degree in art history. If you’re counting Kate’s parents money I do not consider that to be personal wealth.

      • Jinjie says:

        True wealth in Britain actually means not having to work for a living.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Umm neither the Mids or their business is worth £40mill – however Carole’s brother is worth millions (I think he made around £25mill + from the sale of the IT recruitment firm he founded). Plus IIRC Bucklebury was on sale for approx. £5mill and am not sure its worth £10mill now even with the tax payer funded renovations they had done.

        The Mids have money but they are not as wealthy as they like to pretend they are. As I said her brother (Uncle Gary) is the one with the millions.

      • aquarius64 says:

        Kate didn’t make money in her own right. Unless she co-founded Party Pieces and was COO, CFO or involved in day to day operations on a daily basis that doesn’t count. At best she may own stock if it’s traded.

      • MrsBanjo says:

        I don’t think Weaver is talking about Middleton money, rather Kate’s *personal* wealth and earning potential. How much of what the Middletons have did Kate herself contribute?

      • Olenna says:

        Please. Kate joined the royal family with no personal wealth. Also, if the Middleton’s were worth £40M, there would’ve been little incentive for them to mortgage that manor/estate they purchased after WK got married. Further, it was reported that Willie helped them finance it, and that’s not to mention the security upgrades that were apparently paid for with either his or royal funds. In addition to their parents orchestrating an appearance of wealth (e.g., Range Rover leases, race horses), I believe Uncle G has been the funding source for a good deal of the grown children’s lifestyle (London flat, loans for business, subsidizing a non-working athlete, etc) and this has given some people the impression the Middleton’s are wealthier than they are.

    • Lumbina says:

      Also William and Kate rented a home in Wales, one of the cheapest locations in the UK. The Cotswolds is one of the most expensive.

      Nobody said they were irresponsible. Just that it makes sense they don’t need to rent an expensive home near London now they will have their own home just outside it which they’ve been able to put their own stamp on.

      • Weaver says:

        When the media insinuates that people as wealthy as the Sussexes are “struggling” the implication is one of financial irresponsibility.

    • Elena says:

      But I don’t think this is necessarily saying they’re fiscally irresponsible, who would want to pay to outfit multiple households? It just might be the practical choice to not also keep up a weekend house. Renovations + a newborn is a huge undertaking, and I don’t blame them if they just don’t want to put their energy or $$$ they do have into it.

    • Tzu says:

      Actually, getting rid of a rental house they don’t need would be the fiscally responsible thing to do, so I’m not sure where you are seeing any implications of irresponsible finances.

      • jessamine says:

        +1000 Thanks! I came here to say this. I understand what the press is trying to insinuate but the idea that a young royal couple attempting to livewithin their means and jettison unnecessary properties/expenses to save money is somehow slanderous is, frankly, sad.

      • Weaver says:

        I feel no one is understanding what I am saying.

        The slander is not in saying that they are downsizing for financially responsible reasons. The slander is in implying that they are somehow struggling to pay their bills. They’ve already claimed that Meghan is burning through cash spending millions on clothes she’s likely getting at a discount. The next step in the slander seems to be “she’s spending them into the poorhouse.”

      • Olenna says:

        I get it, Weaver and agree: it’s just another round of absurd dog-whistles that the people who want to believe the worst about her will relish and spread as the gospel.

      • Lorelei says:

        Weaver I totally understand what you’re saying and agree completely. To make this about finances is ridiculous. As Kaiser said, that just isn’t the issue.

        And no one is saying the Middletons didn’t have some money, but it was not KATE’S money. She didn’t earn it (oh sorry she took a few photos for PP website in 2006 🙄) and she only spent it for her entire life. I’m not even criticizing her for it, but let’s not pretend she came into the marriage with any “personal wealth.”

        Any money that Meghan had was earned by her and completely her own. Depending on how well she invested, she could have more than we know.

  7. Whatabout says:

    I think it is about money. It looks like Frogmore cottage is need of a lot of repairs. Plus new baby coming. Having to outfit a new duchess. Plus the cost of heli flights to and from Oxforshire. It wouldn’t surprise me if an accountant or advisor pointed out that the rental was a bit of a waste of money.
    I also don’t think Harry and Megan will be getting another property from the Queen. Anne/Andrew/Edward only we’re giving one nice property from their mom. I think the same will be upheld for Harry.

    • tai says:

      I thought I read somewhere that although they all have “country estates” (i.e. Edward has Bagshot Hall,), they each also have an “apartment” in the city. So Anne/Edward/Andrew have their estates plus a place in London. I don’t know if these apartments are in Buckingham Palace (they could be) but it makes sense, due to traffic and security, to actually have a place to stay in London when attending late evening events. So perhaps for H&M, Frogmore will be their “country estate” and they will have another apartment actually in London.

      • Elisabeth says:

        All the Queen’s children have apartments in either BP or St. Jame’s. The wrinkle there is the renovations of BP, which are going to take years and will eventually include the private apartments. If the Queen is still alive when they get to her rooms (I think it’s scheduled for 2024) she’ll have to move out, and of course her familiy’s apartments in BP will be inaccessible during their renovation time, and everyone with an apartment currently in BP, save the Queen, is going to jockeying for space in SJP. It is possible it’s a situation where there are truly no other spaces available.

        That’s leaving aside the speculation that they will eventually get Apt 1 in KP

  8. aquarius64 says:

    Property from the queen in honor of the royal birth? Now that’s a push present. Security may be a factor to keep the Markle horde out.

  9. Jinjie says:

    They’ve given up the lease as the British public aren’t keen on the cost of security to cover the Cotswold property. Harry is the 7th in line to the throne – he’s not going to get more money than what is given him because he’s already insignificant in the hierarchy. Prince Michael of Kent used to be the 7th in line to the throne when Queen Elizabeth was crowned. Now Prince Michael is 53rd in line to the throne and had to sell his remaining house to raise funds in order to be able to pay the government the bargain basement price of £120thou a month to stay in their Kensington Palace Apartments. That is the future of an insignificant to the throne. Very sad but that is how that system works.

    • aquarius64 says:

      Actually Harry is sixth in line to the throne, their baby will be seventh. Harry has already be named aide-De-camp to the queen before the Oceania tour and his and Meghan’s will increase once Charles ascends to the throne. Harry is already the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador and Meghan is patron of the National Theater, a patronage the queen held for 45 years that HM passed on to Meghan. Not bad for “insignificant” royals.

    • Sassy says:

      I can’t wait to see George, Charlotte and Louis start doing their royal engagement duties this week since Harry and Meghan are insignificant.

      • Olenna says:

        Thank you. Some people will say anything, no matter how ridiculous, just to get a jab in at Harry for marrying Meghan.

      • Jinjie says:

        As Americans, I understand you tend to think very short term – the Royal family is older than your nation. The British on the other hand tend to think very long term given the history of the nation. 40 years later, see where Prince Michael of Kent, former 7th in line to the throne, is at? Princess Margaret (former heir to the throne after the Queen) who was sidelined very quickly? And Prince Andrew (former Harry – 2nd in line to the throne after Charles) and the York Princesses? Prince Andrew, the former third in line to the throne, who in spite of being the son of the current Monarch, is the poster child for being miffed at being shut out in his lifetime. That is the fate of all the spares 30 years down the line. The British have got that kind of perspective to look at. We’re not very sentimental about spares. I do find it strange how emotionally involved the Americans are about the whole thing but then again, your taxes don’t contribute to their upkeep.

    • Chaine says:

      Well unless George and Charlotte and Louis each has a Duggar-sized family is it doubtful that in his lifetime Harry will ever be so far away as 53rd… nor will he be so insignificant as a cousin, he will always be the son and brother and uncle of a King… no doubt when Charles is King, Harry will be just as well off in terms of real estate or wealth as Anne or Edward is now.

      • Jinjie says:

        Well given the public sentiment to end the monarchy when QII dies, they better have their personal money protected if and when our country decides to become a republic and remove the RF. They become private citizens with no more access to the public purse.

  10. line goya says:

    I do not understand why British taxpayers must pay for the private residences of the royals.
    I can understand that taxpayers pay for Buckingham Palace as this is the official residence of the monarch but I feel that all the other royal residences must be paid by the royals themselves.
    if so, I bet they think twice before doing stupid renovations.

    • Chrome says:

      It’s an out of control system, that’s why and no-one has the balls to stop it. When the Queen ascended the throne she needed to call on her cousins to do royal engagements. They were rewarded with residences. The Queen has ensured her children, grandchildren and wider family all are taken care of… trouble is, it’s the taxpayer who is forced to pay for it.

      Also, the Queen has been given money, since her coronation to attend to ongoing BP repairs. This was part of her Civil List monies, now the Sovereign Grant. But she redirected this money to her family, so now the taxpayer has to cough up AGAIN for repairs never done, but money was allocated for them. The only private property the Windsors own are Balmoral in Scotland and Sandringham in Norfolk. Anne was gifted Bagshott by her mother, Andrew Sunningdale (since sold) and he has along lease on Royal Lodge as does Edward for his pile. The rest – St James Palace, Clarence House, Frogmore Cottage, Highgrove, and the rest – all belong to the public.

  11. Sassy says:

    Why would they need to keep that country house they are paying for when they have a free one that’s getting fixed up now. It’s common sense.

  12. Eyfalia says:

    I saw this report when it first came up and there was no word about financial reasons. DM stated since pictures of the property were published the place was not considered safe any longer. So security had to be increased or they move. The next day, the same pictures and this time it was financial reasons.

  13. Mego says:

    Probably has to do with the optics of the tax payers funding security in the Cotswolds in addition to Windsor. This unfortunately is the price Harry and Meghan have to pay for their incredible rise in fame and popularity.

    • Foxtrot says:

      Srsly? Not having two country houses is the UNFORTUNATELY price for fame and popularity?? Woe is them. Why must they suffer so?

      • Mego says:

        They are wealthy and privileged and yet their freedom and privacy is greatly impacted by their fame. I wouldn’t choose that life of fame and the freedom you lose for any amount of wealth and privilege but clearly you have a different opinion. To me it’s a gilded cage…

  14. Katie Keen says:

    I think money could be an issue. Let’s face it–neither of Harry nor Meghan were taught to handle money, and I don’t think either of them are really that rich, or at least not rich enough to spend $500k per year on clothes + fixing up & maintaining multiple country homes.

  15. Murphy says:

    “A weird thing happened last week: I wrote about something related to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the story barely got any comments!”

    This is because you write about them too much.
    There are sometimes three pieces on them in a day–not necessary. (and this is coming from someone who is a big Royal fan and loves to read about them but even I can admit when enough is enough).

    • mynameispearl says:

      Yeah I hate read stories on them, but typically if there arent new pictures Im not gonna click in to see whats happening. The daily mail does this too, stretches the same pictures out over 4 posts, each getting a bit more inane!

  16. CHATNUH says:

    Eyfalia says:
    January 21, 2019 at 9:03 am
    I saw this report when it first came up and there was no word about financial reasons. DM stated since pictures of the property were published the place was not considered safe any longer. So security had to be increased or they move.
    The next day, the same pictures and this time it was financial reasons.
    THE NEXT DAY THE SAME PICTURES AND THIS TIME, IT WAS ‘FINANCIAL REASONS.’
    (NB: my emphasis, with caps, because i dont know how do ‘bold’ tee hee)

    But yeah, THIS! Good catch, Eyfalia. And it underscores the points made by Weaver about dog-whistles. In this instance, adding to the “lavish spending” bashing theyve been doing of Duchess Meghan since the successful Sussex Tour down under, now theyre adding: “theyre having financial problems.”

    Anyone who cant see that the unrelenting criticisms of the new Duchess goes way beyond the usual misogynistic coverage of high profile women and has the added layer of PERSISTENT racist tropes, undertones and overtones, either isnt paying attention, or they dont recognize that the debilitating tear-down of this particular Duchess, comes with the added nastiness of blatant, persistent, racism.

    Dont forget that for the sh!tty Brit sh!trags (dailyFAIL/Sun/Express) its their raison d’etre.

    • Eyfalia says:

      When I read the first headline that they would move because their “bolthole” was exposed I thought, oh yeah, that’s the reason why the press published it, to show them their might. We expose you, we are stronger than you are. Harry and Meghan at the mercy of the press. “If you don’t do as we like, we will chase you!” This all makes me sick to my stomach.

  17. Rosie says:

    They don’t pay for most of their clothes, Prince Charles does. Security and structural work on Frogmore will be paid by tax payers but the interior design and extras will be paid by them or Charles from the Duchy of Cornwall funds. This could be very expensive depending how upmarket they go, I don’t know how opulent the Soho House look is. They have money but not enough to throw it away, if they are smart they are investing it and only spending the income leaving their capital intact. They don’t know what lies ahead for the RF and would be wise to have their own money stashed away. Having two properties is expensive for whoever is paying the rent in the Cotswolds but astronomically expensive for the taxpayers because of the extra security. Maybe they realised that it would look terrible to have 2 large security bills rather than 1.

    • Chrome says:

      You’re 100% dead right. Charles pays for the Sussex and Cambridge households to the tune of about £4 million pounds (as per last year’s published figures). Even then, that figure was expected to balloon when accounts are next published. They had gone up by about 40% when Meghan joined the family. It’s poor optics in a country with years of austerity forced on the poorest and most vulnerable.

      The rental was a weekend retreat, a pretty expensive one, especially with security and helicopter flights. If it’s their money being used, it’s their business, but it’s not their money. Ultimately the public pays for this as it ultimately owns the Duchies, they are not privately owned. What value does the public derive from funding this? None. That should be the measure for any funding to the Windsors.

  18. Eliza says:

    They’re not poor. But her personal wealth is vastly over estimated. It assumes she was paid the same amount for all the years on the show and that it never went up over time. Also doesn’t count the 30% in taxes, 10% to manager, 10% to agent. 50% is gone there. Cost of living in expensive city, and cost of upkeep in Hollywood (trainer, stylist, colorist, facialists, etc) also would chip away. That said, she still has money as does Harry. And even so, the rich don’t stay rich by spending their own money… as if Charles wasn’t footing the majority of the rental billwith income of the Duchy.

    Since frogmore is being completely redone in time for baby having two country homes with a little baby who will be kept at one makes no sense. Especially as one is a rental. Maybe they did 2 years just in case Frogmore took longer? As it is an old building, you never know what hiccups you get into when moving walls.

  19. phlyfiremama says:

    Boy those taxpayers sure are generous funding the Royals!! Austerity for them, $3 million Euros for the remodel.

  20. Leyton says:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with money.

    This was the house was published with recent photos and details concerning the lack of security. I would imagine that’s why they are moving from there. Funny how Rebecca, who wrote the original daily mail article, says she won’t include pictures for security reasons but her paper had already posted them , as well as the Sun. Her articles fen offers that perspective.

    Either way, it’s hilarious for anyone to claim they can’t afford it or would even be paying for any of it.

    • Jinjie says:

      The estimated cost of security on a monthly basis for that house was £2.8M to be bourne by THE PEOPLE’S TAXES. Easily more than £30M annually. Harry’s inheritance from Diana’s estate was £30M. No, the PEOPLE REFUSE to pay for that, hence, give it up.

      • Leyton says:

        Where did you learn that? I don’t think any Royal property has security cost that is in the millions per month. I don’t think Buckingham Palace cost million a month in security and that’s, by far, one of the most secure places in the entire UK.