"They’ll enjoy it much more in Windsor," a family friend recently told PEOPLE

By Stephanie Petit
April 08, 2019 03:34 PM
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are starting a new chapter in their lives – and step one was a move to the country!

The couple, who will welcome their first child in the coming weeks, are settling into their new home — some 25 miles west of London. Here’s everything we know about Frogmore Cottage, which recently underwent renovations in preparation for the big move, at Windsor Castle.

The Move Has Been in the Works for Months

News that Meghan, 37, and Harry, 34, were leaving Kensington Palace was announced in November. Nottingham Cottage, where they lived together at since their engagement, is a two-bedroom home that was never likely to be a long-term residence – especially after they had children.

“Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate,” a statement from the couple’s office said. After all, they tied the knot at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle last May, and it’s where their engagement photos were taken.

Frogmore Cottage
Shutterstock. Inset: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Meghan and Harry Were Itching for a Change

“They’ll enjoy it much more in Windsor,” a family friend recently told PEOPLE. “They feel claustrophobic in their place in Kensington Palace.”

Moving to Windsor “is a really healthy thing to do,” adds a longtime friend, noting that the rigid constraints of Kensington Palace are not for all. “I presume it must be nice to get out and away,” explains the source. “Without neighbors who are all either family or staff [at Kensington Palace], they will now have their own thing.”

The New Home Was a Fixer-Upper

The royal couple had to convert existing separate staff quarters into a contemporary family home.

It’s pretty dilapidated now,” veteran royals biographer Ingrid Seward, author of the recent book My Husband and I, told PEOPLE shortly after the move announcement.

Frogmore Cottage before renovations
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They’ve Made Frogmore Cottage Their Own

Renovations meant that Meghan and Harry got to put their own personal spin on the home.

Complete with a new green-energy center, springy “floating floor” (perfect for yoga) and nontoxic paint, the cottage marries English and California style.

Insiders say the couple have been overseeing last-minute touches, including bookcases built into alcoves and a custom kitchen and dining room, where Harry plans to “do some entertaining,” including hunting parties, says one pal.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Samir Hussein/ WireImage

Meghan and Harry Will Be Spending Lots of Time Outdoors

With its lush gardens, green fields and serene lake, the grounds of Windsor offer endless acres to roam with the couple’s two dogs and new baby.

“It has the most amazing mulberry walk, where we would pick mulberries for Prince Philip’s mulberry gin,” says a former palace staffer. “And when the Queen is there on a Sunday afternoon, it is a five-minute walk up the hill for tea with Granny. It is gorgeous.”

The cottage is also just a short walk to the charming High Street, where local vendors sell everything from fresh flowers to baby clothes, while beef from the specialized pedigree Sussex herd that grazes nearby is available from the farm shop in the opposite direction.