Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry moved into Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate in April 2019 after months of extensive renovation. The ten-bedroom house was given to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth II. Nestled on the Frogmore estate in the Home Park, the historic home sits in the shadow of the late monarch’s primary residence — Windsor Castle. However, while the Queen’s gift of Frogmore Cottage has been described as a “big deal”, the Sussexes reportedly requested a different property for their marital home.
According to The Times, Meghan and Harry wanted to live within Windsor Castle itself and reportedly asked if “living quarters could be made available after their marriage”.
At the time, only the Queen and Prince Philip had private apartments within the castle, with other family members living elsewhere on the estate.
Windsor Castle has been the home to the Royal Family for almost 1,000 years; the large estate contains a number of properties, ranging from huge mansions to cosier cottages. Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson are among the current residents.
The Queen reportedly deemed the Sussexes’ request “inappropriate” and definitively rejected it. Her Majesty then “politely but firmly suggested” that they live in nearby Frogmore Cottage instead.
Royal author Katie Nicholl discussed the Queen’s decision to give her grandson and his wife the impressive home as a wedding gift in her latest book, ‘The New Royals’.
She claimed the late Lady Elizabeth Anson, who died in 2020, said the monarch described the Windsor home as a “big deal” and hoped the Duke and Duchess would “respect” her generosity.
Lady Elizabeth is quoted as saying: “The cottage was a big deal. The Queen’s entrance into the gardens is right next to their cottage. It is essentially her backyard, her solitude, and her privacy.
“She was giving that up in gifting Harry and Meghan Frogmore Cottage. We all thought it was very big of her. She said: ‘I hope they’ll respect it.’”
Frogmore Cottage was reportedly just one of many options for the couple, with a number of other homes in Windsor put forward as possible residences.
One of which was Adelaide Cottage, which is now the home of the Prince and Princess of Wales. William and Kate moved into the four-bedroom home at the end of summer, relocating their family of five from London to Windsor.
The cottage, which sits in the Crown Estate’s private 655-acre royal park, was built in 1831 as a country retreat for William IV’s wife Queen Adelaide. Since then, it has been used by a number of British monarchs, including Queen Victoria who was known to visit the cottage for breakfast or tea.
Perhaps one of the most famous former residents was Group Captain Peter Townsend, the love interest of Princess Margaret in the early Fifties.