Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle have secretly bought a private family home in Santa Barbara — the place they have chosen to put down permanent roots and bring up their son Archie after leaving the British royal family.
Their lavish new multimillion-dollar estate reportedly boasts nine bedrooms, as well as a pool, theatre and gym.
The property, which was bought for $20.2 million ($US14.5million) in June, was previously valued at $28.7 million ($20.6million) and is located in the celebrity enclave of Montecito, California, according to The Sun.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been living in their new house in an upscale California community, which is also home to their friends Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.
Amid much speculation that the couple would buy a place in Los Angeles, a source told Page Six, “Harry and Meghan have been quietly living in their own home in Santa Barbara since early July.
“They are not houseguests of Oprah or anyone else, they bought this home themselves. This is where they want to continue their lives after leaving the UK.
The Santa Barbara plot also has a two-bedroom guesthouse, which would be perfect for Meghan’s mum, Doria, to visit.
Outside, there is a tennis court, large manicured lawns, rose gardens, a tea house and a pond.
Previous listing material details that the main house includes a library, office, spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, gym, game room, arcade, theatre, wine cellar, and five-car garage.
“This is the first home either of them has ever owned. It has been a very special time for them as a couple and as a family — to have complete privacy for six weeks since they moved in.,” the source told Page Six
“They intend to put down their roots in this house and the quiet community, which has considerable privacy. This is where they want to bring Archie up, where they hope he can have as normal a life as possible.”
Initially, Harry and Meghan had reportedly never intended to make Los Angeles their home. It was considered to be a good place for them to be upon their arrival in the US to be close to Meghan’s mum, who lives in LA.
“They have thought about this carefully and researched it well. This is the place where they plan to be happy, make good friends and bring up Archie, giving him the chance to play with other children his age,” the source added.
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It was widely reported that Harry and Meghan had been staying at entertainment mogul Tyler Perry’s $18 million, 12-bedroom, eight-bathroom Beverly Hills mansion over the last few months. He was mentored by Oprah, and also is represented by some of the team working with Meghan and Harry in LA.
But the couple launched a lawsuit against numerous paparazzi agencies after Archie was photographed with Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland in the private driveway of the house. It is believed the pictures were shot by a drone flown over the home.
“Harry and Meghan are both very upset by this breach of privacy, but that wasn’t the reason they left Los Angeles. They were already in the process of buying their home in Santa Barbara,” the source added.
“While it was a nice favour to them at a very difficult time, Tyler Perry’s house with 18 bedrooms isn’t Harry’s style. Yes, he grew up in royalty and the halls of Buckingham Palace, but he prefers more intimate homes with character.”
Their new digs aren’t likely to be as intimate, however, as their first marital home in London, Frogmore Cottage. When they were first married, Harry and Meghan lived at Frogmore, a historic “Grade II Listed” property in Windsor, which they renovated in a move funded by the British taxpayers for $3 million.
Santa Barbara is one of the wealthiest communities in the US, with homes on sale for more than $100 million. Oprah has a sprawling $90 million mansion in Montecito with views of the ocean.
DeGeneres has bought a few homes in Santa Barbara — including one on the next-door estate from Oprah — but in 2017 she paid $18.6 million for an oceanfront home in the enclave of Carpinteria, where Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis own a house on the same street.
A spokesman for the couple confirmed, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved into their family home in July of this year. They have settled into the quiet privacy of their community since their arrival and hope that this will be respected for their neighbours, as well as for them as a family.”
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Parts of this story originally appeared in the NY Post and was republished with permission.