Princess Eugenie Moves Into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Frogmore Cottage Home
Princess Eugenie, who is expecting her first child, and Jack Brooksbank previously resided in Kensington Palace's Ivy Cottage
“Frogmore is a private residence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and any arrangements is a matter for them," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson tells PEOPLE. Frogmore Cottage remains Meghan and Harry's U.K. residence.
A source stresses that the home remains Meghan and Harry's U.K. home and that they are happy for it to be occupied by Harry's first cousin Eugenie, who is expecting her first child early next year, and Jack.
"Frogmore Cottage continues to be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s residence in the U.K.," says the source, "and they are delighted to be able to open up their home to Princess Eugenie and Jack as they start their own family."
The Sun, which first broke the story, quoted a source who said, "Removal vans pitched up in the dead of the night and cleared out the cottage. They definitely did not want to be seen. Emptying their home and handing over the keys is a pretty strong sign Harry and Meghan have no plans to return. It appears they are tying up loose ends as they plan to extend their stay in the U.S. perhaps permanently."
Eugenie and Jack previously resided in Kensington Palace's Ivy Cottage in London but have close ties to Windsor. The couple tied the knot at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in October 2018, and Eugenie's parents — Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson — live just a few miles away at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Eugenie's grandparents Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are also close by at Windsor Castle.
The parents-to-be have spent much time in Windsor amid the coronavirus lockdown this year.
In September, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said that Harry "fully covered" the renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, which were said to be around $3 million. The costs had originally been paid by the Sovereign Grant, the U.K. fund set aside for royals that is fueled by taxpayers.
"A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by the Duke of Sussex," the statement said. "This contribution as originally offered by Prince Harry has fully covered the necessary renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, a property of Her Majesty The Queen, and will remain the U.K. residence of the Duke and his family.”
The couple moved into Frogmore Cottage in April 2019 shortly before the birth of their son, Archie. The original plan was to pay back the renovation costs in installments. The offer to settle their debts was made "proactively" by the couple, a source told PEOPLE, adding that the pair wanted to ensure that there was no ongoing drain on public monies as they strive to become financially independent.
"It is an important step that they have wanted to take,” said a source close to them. “It is something they have proactively wanted to do since the word go. They have taken the initiative to do so."
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Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, relocated to her hometown of Los Angeles earlier this year after spending time in Vancouver, Canada, following their step back as senior members of the royal family. Over the summer, they bought a home in Santa Barbara, which lies about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, funded partly with a mortgage.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved into their family home in July of this year," a rep for the couple told PEOPLE. "They have settled into the quiet privacy of their community since their arrival and hope that this will be respected for their neighbors, as well as for them as a family."