Meghan and Harry stunned royal fans when it was announced they had decided to give their UK property to Eugenie, as they have now laid down roots in the US. his news was especially surprising as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex allegedly paid a substantial sum towards renting the mansion earlier this year, when paying back the £2.4million renovation costs to the public purse. They have not been back in the UK since they carried out their final royal engagements in March.
While they have since bought a £11.4million mansion in Montecito, the couple pushed to hold onto the property as a UK base during their Megxit negotiations.
So, the decision to hand over the keys to Harry’s cousin has raised eyebrows — especially as the Sussexes also shipped their furniture over to their new home in California.
Eugenie is expecting her first child with her husband Jack Brooksbank next year.
Frogmore Cottage was prepared for a newborn when it was renovated in 2019, making it an appropriate first home for Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, Meghan and Harry’s young son, and the perfect fit for the York baby’s arrival next year.
However, it seems curious that Eugenie would move into the large Windsor property rather than her older sister, Princess Beatrice, who tied the knot in the summer.
Princess Beatrice, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Harry and Princess Eugenie have been close since childhood
She wed Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, affectionately known as Edo, in a low-key but heartwarming ceremony.
Her wedding meant she became the first royal to ever become a stepmother, as Edo has a four-year-old son called Christopher Woolf from a previous relationship.
Affectionately known as Woolfie, Edo’s son is thought to divide his time equally between his two parents ever since their split.
Yet, it is not clear where Beatrice’s family of three is currently living, although some speculate they are still based in St James’ Palace.
Usually, royal newlyweds move into a new residence after their nuptials so they can start their lives together but it appears the couple are yet to find the ideal location.
Eugenie and Jack, on the other hand, moved in together after their 2018 wedding.
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Beatrice and her new husband Edo during their wedding back in July
They decided on Ivy Cottage, on the Kensington Palace estate, and lived there until moving to Windsor earlier this month.
Some speculated that the neighbouring property, Nottingham Cottage could be the home Beatrice and Edo were eyeing up.
It was the first royal home Meghan and Harry lived in together before they moved into Frogmore Cottage.
However, the property is one of the smaller royal residences as it has just two bedrooms, which may be why Beatrice and Edo are yet to move in there.
In contrast, Frogmore Cottage has five bedrooms.
Both York sisters are also close with their parents, who live in Royal Lodge, an official royal residence within the Queen’s Windsor Great Park.
Yet Eugenie and Harry have been exceptionally close since childhood, which may have influenced the decision to pass the keys to her.
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Eugenie and her husband Jack announced they were expecting a child on Instagram
Meghan and Harry renovated Frogmore Cottage so it would be appropriate for their son Archie
She was even the first royal the Duke of Sussex decided to introduce to Meghan when they were dating in secret.
Like Harry, Eugenie is not expected to accept any titles for her child so that the newborn can lead a more normal life.
It appears their close bond means the two families would be happy to share the five-bedroom property when they make trips back to the UK as Meghan and Harry seem to have claimed the property is still theirs.
A source close to them said: “Frogmore Cottage continues to be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s residence in the UK and they are delighted to be able to open up their home to Princess Eugenie and Jack as they start their own family.”
Beatrice appears to have been overlooked in the decision to give Frogmore Cottage to Eugenie
This led the public to speculate it was more of a subletting arrangement, although the Sussexes’ next UK visit is yet to be confirmed — and some believe they may not return at all.
A source told : “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 US, perhaps permanently.”
Buckingham Palace refused to comment, and simply said: “Frogmore is the private residence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and any arrangements are a matter for them.”