Harry And Meghan Are Reportedly Moving To LA, But Will That Solve Their Privacy Problem?

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were stepping back as working members of the royal family, people have speculated as to where they would live.

While Madonna is busy offering up her NYC home to Meghan and Harry ― and Caitlyn Jenner said last week that she heard the couple is looking at homes in Malibu ― People magazine is reporting that they are making the jump from Canada to Los Angeles for the summer, citing anonymous sources close to the Sussexes.

Meghan was born in LA, and her mother, Doria Ragland, also lives there. But as Meghan and Harry try to preserve their privacy, is the home of Hollywood and all things celebrity the right place for them? 

The Sussexes, who announced that they are ending their relationship with the royal rota ― a group of photographers and reporters that follow the royals around ― continue to deal with privacy issues since stepping back as working members of the royal family.

After Meghan was photographed in a public park in Vancouver Island, the couple issued a warning to paparazzi allegedly camped out in front of their home using long-range lenses.

To find out if the couple’s chances of privacy will be better or worse with a move, HuffPost spoke with three experts: Lainey Lui, a Canadian television host and co-founder of LaineyGossip.com; Anthony Dominic, a former TMZ senior news producer formerly based in LA, and London-based Nick Bullen, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of TrueRoyalty.tv, a video-on-demand service primarily centering on the British Royal Family. All three know the ins and outs of covering royal life, paparazzi behavior, and how celebrities can find privacy.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London on Jan. 7, a day before they announced they were stepping back as working members of the royal family. (Photo: POOL New / Reuters)

Are Meghan and Harry moving to Los Angeles?

While various outlets are reporting that the Sussexes are moving to Los Angeles (and Malibu specifically), Lui said by phone on Monday to take any news reported about Meghan and Harry with a “big grain of salt.” 

However, she added that their living in America is “a stronger possibility now because, again, they are no longer working members of the Royal Family, which means they are not bound to commonwealth countries.”

During a phone conversation with Bullen on Wednesday, the producer said a source close to the couple told him the Sussexes will likely be setting up a “series of bases,” as opposed to just one home — much like their friends George and Amal Clooney, who have homes in LA, New York, Lake Como, Italy, and Berkshire, England.  

“It may be that there’s an LA base, a Vancouver base, and obviously they’ve got Frogmore Cottage at Windsor, and then they have a small base in Africa,” Bullen said of Meghan and Harry.

Is LA the right place for Harry and Meghan if they want privacy? 

Dominic said via email that if the couple really wants privacy from the press in LA ― where he used to work for TMZ ―  it’s “not the right place,” as the city “has more paparazzi than anywhere in the world and it’s a city built around all things celebrity.” 

But Bullen and Lui both disagree and believe the couple could use that fact to their advantage since there is so much going on and so many celebrities call it home. 

“You could hide in plain sight a little bit more in Hollywood and in LA,” Bullen said.

Lui, who is Canadian, said that while it was exciting to have the couple on Vancouver Island, they put a bit more of a target on their backs when they stayed in British Columbia because it’s not exactly a massive celebrity hotspot. 

“It’s not common to see celebrities walking around. So when they ended up there and the world found out about it, they became a heat score,” she said. “You stand out. And so, the paparazzi knew exactly where they were staying on Vancouver Island. They knew where there were nearby hiking trails. So there weren’t a lot of places for them to hide.”

“In LA, though, where celebrities have perfected the art of disappearing when they need to and reappearing when they need to, and the whole town is so set up to cater to celebrity needs, they might have an easier time going underground,” she added.

Harry and Meghan pictured after a visit to a science park called Catalyst Inc., in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 23, 2018.  (Photo: POOL New / Reuters)

What are some steps the couple can take to obtain more privacy?

In addition to not eating at Nobu Malibu, shopping on Rodeo Drive, or staying at Chateau Marmont, Lui said the couple needs to “lock down their circle of trust” ― and take a note out of Beyoncé’splaybook

“Beyoncé is mostly based in LA. Beyoncé is not papped at fucking Whole Foods. Beyoncé is quite able to move around, because she has the resources and the intention of not really being seen. Who is more famous than Beyoncé? Period, the end,” Lui said.

“What you have to do though ― like Beyoncé ― is lock your shit down. Keep your circle really small, and even if it’s not small, you have to make sure that those people aren’t leaking,” she said, adding that all of this takes a whole lot of money.

Dominic agreed. “If they are taking a workout class, rent the entire place out. If they are going to a restaurant, ask for a private room and enter in and out of the back or side entrances,” he said. “Take freight elevators in and out of hotels or business. Whenever entering or exiting a place where you know you’ll be seen, have your security cover you with umbrellas; it makes the pictures worth less or even worthless.” 

The former TMZ producer also suggested that they live in a gated community, pointing to the Kardashian’s luxury neighborhood, The Oaks, in Calabasas, which has multiple entrances and exits. Dominic also suggested that the couple take notes from Adele. 

“Adele has been known to tell a group of people a story that’s roughly the same with some different details to each person,” he said. “So if the story comes out with certain details she knows exactly who the person is and can get rid of them.”  

What are some differences between British and American press? 

The privacy laws in Britain and America are indeed different.

“London has much more strict laws,” Dominic said, adding that “the royals can’t be photographed in London unless they are making an official appearance.”

“In LA, that law doesn’t apply. For the most part, unless it’s private property, the royals will be free game to the press and paparazzi when they’re out and about,” he added. 

Bullen pointed out that because of the laws, Meghan was, for example, able to shop at Kensington High Street ― right by Kensington Palace ― and not be photographed. He also thought that the appetite for celebrity content in the U.K. isn’t as great as in the U.S.

Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.

Meghan and Harry greet Beyoncé and Jay-Z as they attend the European premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" in London on July 14, 2019. (Photo: WPA Pool via Getty Images)

Will the Sussexes ever have total privacy? 

Probably not — there “will always be an appetite for them,” Bullen said. 

Archie is the great-grandson of a monarch, will be the grandson of the next king, and people are going to want to see Archie,” he said. “How they control it and how they control their messaging will become very interesting.” 

And now that the couple is no longer a working part of the royal family, there is quite possibly more interest in them than ever before. 

“We might be more compelled by them than ever, because they are striking out on their own, and it’s exciting,” Lui said. “We’ve never seen this before, a couple who have made this decision. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that they’re going to get less press attention. If anything, we are even more thirsty for them.”

“But, I think the difference is that they can react to the press without having to clear all their moves through Buckingham Palace,” she continued.

Which brings it all down to one thing: How can they control what is put out in public about them?

How can the Sussexes best control their narrative? 

Bullen thinks the Sussexes and Cambridges are already controlling their narratives well by using social media. But Harry and Meghan are going to have to find “the right PR team ― and the right publicists are not inexpensive,” he said.

The Sussexes might also just have to let go of certain issues.  

“When you get to a certain point of fame, controlling your narrative becomes much more difficult,” Lui said. “There’s only so much that you can control, but people are going to say shit about you, and write about you, and talk about you anyway.” 

“Beyoncé has been able to [contain her narrative] in a sense because she’s ceased giving all interviews. She doesn’t speak directly to anybody. She just speaks through her art, really,” Lui continued, adding that very few people are able to do that. 

Lui suggested some concrete moves for the couple.

“They’re going to need a new team outside of the royal family. Those people have to be pro. And they have to be modern pro, as in understanding the power of social media, understanding how social media works,” she said. “You can’t bring on an old-school Hollywood publicist who isn’t with the times.”

They also have to have a targeted brand strategy, Lui added.

“I know that people like the royals don’t want to talk about themselves in using words like branding ... but the reality is, we all have a brand,” she said. “Now that they’re on their own, they’re no longer working members of the Royal Family ― they are their own family. They need to figure out and streamline what that brand is.”

Ultimately, Dominic argued, Meghan already has experience as a celebrity and will be able to figure it out. “At the end of the day, Meghan has been in Hollywood before, obviously not with this much star power, but she knows the ways of LA,” he said. “If she really wants privacy for her and her family, she knows what to do.”

Subscribe to HuffPost’s Watching the Royals newsletter for all things Windsor (and beyond).


Meghan Markle Shares Previously Unseen Photos Of Secret Charity Visit

Brad Pitt Jokes About Prince Harry's Exit In Front Of Prince William, Kate Middleton

Madonna Has Quite The Offer For Meghan Markle And Prince Harry

Also on HuffPost

Jan. 14

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, walk during their visit in Birkenhead, Britain.

Jan. 16

The Duchess of Sussex arrives for her visit to the Mayhew, an animal welfare charity in London.

Jan. 16

Harry and Meghan attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's "Totem" at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Jan. 30

The Duchess of Sussex visits the National Theatre in London.

Jan. 31

Meghan reacts as she leaves after meeting with students and academics from across the Association of Commonwealth Universities at City University in London.

Feb. 1

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Bristol Old Vic.

Feb. 7

Meghan attends the Endeavour Fund awards at Drapers' Hall in London.

Feb. 12

The Duchess of Sussex attends a gala performance of "The Wider Earth" in support of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust & the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy in London.

Feb. 23

Meghan arrives at Casablanca airport in Casablanca, Morocco.

Feb. 24

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit a local secondary school to meet students and teachers in Asni, Morocco.

Feb. 24

Meghan attends a reception hosted by the British ambassador to Morocco at the British Residence in Rabat during the second day of her tour of Morocco.

Feb. 25

Harry and Meghan visit the Andalusian Gardens to hear about youth empowerment in Rabat, Morocco.

Feb. 25

Harry and Meghan during an audience at King Mohammed VI of Morocco's residence in Rabat.

March 5

The Duchess of Sussex and Princess Anne attend a reception to mark the 50th anniversary of the investiture of the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in London.

March 6

Harry and Meghan attend the WE Day UK event in Wembley, London.

March 8

The Duchess of Sussex departs after joining a panel discussion to mark International Women's Day at King's College London.

March 11

Meghan attends a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House in London.

March 11

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London.

March 19

Meghan and Harry depart New Zealand House in London after signing the book of condolence following the New Zealand terror attack that saw at least 50 people killed at a mosque in Christchurch.

May 8

Meghan and Harry are seen with their baby son, Archie, in St. George's Hall at Windsor Castle.

June 8

Meghan and Harry in a horse-drawn carriage during Trooping the Color, the Queen's annual birthday parade, in London.

June 29

Harry and Meghan look on during the pre-game ceremonies before the MLB London Series game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

June 29

Harry and Meghan join the New York Yankees in their clubhouse and receive gifts for Archie ahead of their match against the Boston Red Sox at the London Stadium.

July 4

Meghan looks on as Serena Williams of the U.S. wins her second-round match against Slovenia's Kaja Juvan at Wimbledon.

July 6

This official christening photograph released by the duke and duchess shows Harry and Meghan with their son, Archie, and other members of the royal family.

July 13

The Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box ahead of the Wimbledon women's final between Serena Williams of the U.S. and Romania's Simona Halep.

July 14

Harry and Meghan attend "The Lion King" European premiere at Leicester Square in London.

July 28

This undated handout photo issued by Kensington Palace on July 28 shows the Duchess of Sussex, patron of Smart Works, in the workroom of the Smart Works London office.

Sept. 7

Meghan is greeted by Alexis Ohanian, Serena Williams' husband, as she arrives at the team box to watch Williams during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City.

Sept. 12

Meghan departs after attending the launch of the Smart Works capsule collection in London.

Sept. 23

Meghan visits the Nyanga Township in Cape Town with Harry during their royal tour of South Africa.

Sept. 24

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend Heritage Day public holiday celebrations in the Bo Kaap district of Cape Town, during the royal tour of South Africa.

Sept. 24

Meghan visits Waves for Change, a nongovernmental organization, at Monwabisi Beach with Harry in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sept. 24

Harry and Meghan attend a reception for young people, community and civil society leaders at the Residence of the British High Commissioner in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sept. 25

Meghan visits the African not-for-profit organization mothers2mothers in Cape Town on the third day of the royal tour of South Africa.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.