Welcome home, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry!
The royal couple have officially moved out of their Kensington Palace home and into their new cottage in Windsor, PEOPLE confirms.
Meghan and Harry, who are expecting their first child in a matter of days, are now set up in Windsor Castle’s Frogmore Cottage, close to the house where their evening wedding reception was held and where their engagement photos were taken. Windsor, located about 25 miles west of London, is a “special place” for the couple, their spokesman says — and was, of course, the setting for their wedding last May.
Plans for the move were originally announced in November, just one month after Meghan announced her pregnancy.
Harry and Meghan have lived in Kensington Palace’s Nottingham Cottage since their engagement, but the two-bedroom home was never likely to be a long-term residence — especially once they had children.
With all the pressures that come with bringing a baby into the world, the parents-to-be are resolved to build a sanctuary for their little family. “This is a very happy time for Meghan and Harry,” says a source. “This baby has brought them even closer.”
The cottage was in need of major renovations, as it was initially divided into five units as home to the palace staff. As a new family residence, “it would need considerable, lengthy refurbishment,” a royal source told PEOPLE. Windsor, meanwhile, “has more space for children” and “has a special place in their hearts,” the source added.
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.
It was recently announced that Harry and Meghan have official split royal households from William and Kate. The Sussexes and the Cambridges have broken up their joint “court” at Kensington Palace by creating two separate offices, the palace announced.
“This long-planned move will ensure that permanent support arrangements for The Duke and Duchess’s work are in place as they start their family and move to their official residence at Frogmore Cottage,” a statement from the palace reads.
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.
Their new home at Windsor Castle’s Frogmore Cottage is rich with history – and a connection to another American who married into the British royal family.
Wallis Simpson – the American-born socialite who wed King Edward VIII, forcing him to give up the throne after less than a year because his family (and parliament) wouldn’t accept Simpson, the woman he loved (who was twice divorced) as Queen – is buried next to her husband near the cottage in the Royal Burial Ground.
Simpson and Edward are buried behind the mausoleum that entombs Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Three of Queen Victoria’s children – Princess Helena, Prince Arthur and Princess Louise – are also interred there, along with many other members of the royal family. In the adjacent Frogmore gardens is the mausoleum of Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent.
Meghan and Harry also have some new royal neighbors: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip! Nearby Windsor Castle is one of the monarch’s primary residences.