New year, new baby… new home!
Just weeks after it was announced that the Royal Fab Four were considering breaking up their joint “court” at Kensington Palace, Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, have decided to make the move, their office announced on Saturday. The news was first reported by Emily Andrews of The Sun.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are expecting their first child in the spring, will move into Windsor Castle’s Frogmore Cottage, close to the house where their evening wedding party was held and where their engagement photos were taken about a year ago. Windsor, located about 30 miles west of London, is a “special place” for the couple, their spokesman says — and was, of course, the setting for their wedding in May.
The Sun reports their new Home Park residence will also feature a nursery and space for a personal gym and yoga studio — which Meghan has been known to be an avid fan of.
Harry and Meghan have lived in Kensington Palace’s Nottingham Cottage since their engagement — but that two-bedroom home was never likely to be a long-term residence especially once they had children.
Their office says in a statement released to PEOPLE, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate early next year as they prepare for the arrival of their first child. The couple have lived at Nottingham Cottage since their engagement last year.”
“Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate,” the statement continues. “The Duke and Duchess’s official office will continue to be based at Kensington Palace.”
The cottage will need some renovations, as it is currently divided into five units as home to the palace staff.
Meghan and Harry, who heads to Africa solo for two days on Monday, also have a home in the Cotswolds, which serves as an escape from London and where they spend most weekends. They may have spent Thanksgiving together there.
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Prince William and Kate Middleton have their London home at Kensington Palace — at Apartment 1a, which has around 20 rooms. It had been suggested that Harry and Meghan might have the neighboring Apartment 1, but one of the Queen’s cousins lives there.
At the beginning of November, the U.K. paper, The Sunday Times, reported a move could come in the spring after Meghan gives birth to the couple’s first child.
With William one day set to be the Prince of Wales — and all that entails as heir to his father Prince Charles — Harry and Meghan will want to forge their own path, so it’s a natural time to split up, insiders believe. (The palace had no comment.)
“The arrival of Meghan has changed the dynamic of the relationship in a fairly significant way,” royals author Sally Bedell Smith told PEOPLE. “It is inevitable and practical because it gives Harry and Meghan some freedom to build up their own collection of interests and charities.”
“Meghan has very strong views on what she is interested in and that may be what Harry shares, but not what William and Kate share,” she added.
The foursome is, however, likely to keep their successful Royal Foundation, under which they organize their charitable endeavors and their groundbreaking mental health campaign, intact.
“They have brought many charities working in the same sector together to empower them and lend their positions,” Bedell Smith said. “But they will increasingly follow their own respective interests.”
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“I think it really is just a shift in priorities and interests,” she added. “William is a husband and father of three and his focus is primarily on them, and Harry will soon be a father.”
“Each of them will continue the very strong representative of the Queen in carrying out tasks and assignments that she, and probably their father, wants them to do,” she continued. “They are going to be sharing in this diffusion of activities on behalf of the Queen.”