It's a royal fixer-upper!

By Simon Perry
November 29, 2018 10:00 AM

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a fixer-upper on their hands.

The couple, who are planning a move from Kensington Palace in London to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate, will need to convert the existing separate staff quarters into a contemporary family home.

Located in the sprawling parkland of the estate, “it’s pretty dilapidated now,” veteran royals biographer Ingrid Seward, author of the recent book My Husband and I, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. The couple have already put in plans to freshen the landscaping.

Credit: The Image Direct; Inset: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Of course, the renovated home will require a nursery in advance of the birth of the couple’s first child this spring.

Although some had pointed to Apartment 1 at Kensington Palace — right next to Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s home base — as a new family residence, “it would need considerable, lengthy refurbishment,” a royal source tells PEOPLE. Windsor, meanwhile, “has more space for children” and “has a special place in their hearts,” the source adds.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry depart for their evening wedding reception at Frogmore House on May 19.
| Credit: STEVE PARSONS/AFP/Getty Images

Long at home in the countryside, “Harry feels very imprisoned at Kensington Palace,” says Seward — and has told friends as much. “He can’t wait to get out.”

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletterto get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Windsor also holds sentimental value for the couple: It’s where they snapped their engagement portraits and subsequently celebrated their nighttime wedding reception in May.

Gravesites of Wallis Simpson and her husband, Edward VIII.
| Credit: Courtesy of Simon Perry

Frogmore has its own unique history, including being the burial site for Wallis Simpson, the first American to marry into the royal family, as well as the place where Queen Victoria once housed her beloved aide, Abdul Karim.

Abdul Karim and Queen Victoria.
| Credit: Nabeel Syed /