All About Frogmore Cottage, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's U.K. Home That They've Been Told 'to Vacate'
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry may be closing the door on Frogmore Cottage.
A spokesperson for the couple's Archewell Foundation confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday that "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage" — and here's everything to know about the home in Windsor.
Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, lived at Frogmore Cottage from 2019 to 2020. The couple relocated from the two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage, on the grounds of Kensington Palace in London, to the residence before the birth of their first child, son Archie Harrison, who was born in May 2019. They moved out of Frogmore after stepping back from their working royal roles in early 2020, briefly staying in Canada before settling in Meghan's home state of California.
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Prince Harry and Meghan's first home was a bit of a fixer-upper. Royal biographer Ingrid Seward previously told PEOPLE the property was "pretty dilapidated" before they moved in — after all, it was built in 1801 under the direction of Queen Charlotte. The property's extensive renovations, transforming it from a former staff residence into a single-family home, became a hot topic, as it was paid for by the Sovereign Grant, the U.K. fund set aside for royals that is fueled by taxpayers.
GOR/Getty Frogmore Cottage
When Meghan and Harry announced their plans to step back as senior members of the royal family, a statement from Buckingham Palace read, "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their U.K. family home."
Harry "fully covered" the renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, which were said to be around $3 million, later that year. The offer to settle their debts was made "proactively" by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a source told PEOPLE at the time, adding that the pair wanted to ensure that there was no ongoing drain on public monies as they worked to become financially independent.
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage; Shutterstock
"It is an important step that they have wanted to take," the source said. "It is something they have proactively wanted to do since the word go. They have taken the initiative to do so."
It's unclear if now that Harry and Meghan have been requested to leave Frogmore Cottage, they will be reimbursed for the renovations.
Tucked within the Frogmore estate adjacent to the 650-acre Windsor Home Park, Frogmore Cottage is about a half mile away from Windsor Castle. The world's largest castle was Queen Elizabeth's primary residence during the last years of her life.
Windsor became a special place for the Sussexes, who tied the knot at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and hosted their evening wedding reception at Frogmore House. They also took their engagement photos on the grounds of Frogmore House the year prior.
Fans got a glimpse inside Frogmore Cottage in the Netflix series Harry & Meghan, which debuted in December 2022. There, Prince Harry and Meghan shared intimate photos from when they moved out in 2020, along with shots of their son Archie and daughter Lilibet Diana, 1, when the family of four visited the U.K. for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.
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"We both came back in March from Canada, and that was sort of our farewell week," Harry said of the transatlantic move in 2020.
"We were going through so many boxes, just literally looking at everything, going, 'Oh my gosh, this blanket I missed, that hat was so funny,' " Meghan echoed. "Just taking it all in, and it really just gave us a chance to look back at our whole love story."
"We always saw Archie running around the garden at Frogmore Cottage, and maybe jumping in the Queen's pond. That was all part of our future, and everything changed really, really quickly," Harry added of the future they imagined there. "We knew we were going to get some breathing space from this very painful experience that we'd been stuck in, but also at the same time, it was really sad."
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News that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage follows a report from The Sun that King Charles III plans to move his brother Prince Andrew to the Windsor residence. The second son of Queen Elizabeth, who stepped back from public duties over his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, currently resides at the much larger Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
After Prince Harry and Meghan moved to California, his cousin (and Prince Andrew's daughter) Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, moved into Frogmore Cottage before the birth of their first child in February 2021. A source said at the time, "Frogmore Cottage continues to be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's residence in the U.K., and they are delighted to be able to open up their home to Princess Eugenie and Jack as they start their own family."
When Harry and Meghan returned to the U.K. last year for the Platinum Jubilee festivities, they stayed at Frogmore Cottage and celebrated their daughter Lilibet's first birthday with a backyard party.
Another famous tenant of Frogmore Cottage was Queen Victoria's trusted aide Abdul Karim, the first Indian member of the royal household. However, the pair's closeness sparked racism and jealousy among the court and other members of Queen Victoria's family — and ultimately, just hours after the monarch was buried in 1901, a group of senior royals and courtiers came to his home and ordered that all his letters from the monarch be destroyed.
Abdul lived at Frogmore Cottage for around 10 years until he was sent back to Agra, India, after Victoria's death.