Distraught Over Being Asked to Vacate Frogmore Cottage Earlier This Year, Prince Harry Asked His Father King Charles a Heartbreaking Question

The Frogmore eviction has long been seen as a retaliatory move for the publication of Harry’s memoir, ‘Spare,’ just weeks earlier.

Prince Harry and King Charles in top hats
(Image credit: Getty)

It’s less than 12 hours until the release of Omid Scobie’s bombshell new book, Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy’s Fight for Survival, and snippets of the hotly anticipated book are making their way onto these here interwebs. Here’s one for you: per Page Six, a distraught Prince Harry once gave his father, King Charles, an ultimatum, asking him “Do you want to see your grandchildren again?”

The ultimatum was given earlier this year, after Harry and Meghan Markle were asked to vacate their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage, which was a wedding gift from Harry’s grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth, in 2018. Endgame recounts the moment a “shocked” Harry and Meghan were told they had to leave Frogmore because they’re no longer working royals and no longer living in the U.K. (Harry and Meghan moved stateside nearly four years ago, unbelievably.) Scobie called the decision from Charles “a cheap shot from a wounded father bound by an institutional system that is often intolerant of human emotion.” Whoa. 

King Charles and Prince Harry walking together

(Image credit: Getty)

Harry was apparently left so upset by Charles’ decision that he asked him whether the King even wanted any kind of relationship with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, two of the King’s five grandchildren. Long plagued by security concerns, Scobie said that Frogmore—which was renovated by Harry and Meghan out of their own pockets—was the Sussexes “only true safe option when visiting the United Kingdom,” as the grounds are protected by armed guards. The question was posed to his father because, without that level of security, Harry doesn’t feel safe bringing his wife and children back to the U.K.

“Charles has barely seen Archie, and only met Lilibet, who was born in California, once in an ‘emotional’ first meeting last summer,” Page Six reports. “He is believed to have turned down an invitation to Lilibet’s christening in California in March as he was too busy.” 

King Charles in France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So, then, the heartbreaking question from Harry, posed several days after being informed he and his family had to vacate Frogmore: “Don’t you want to see your grandchildren?” During the tense call, Charles’ silence was followed by a “half-hearted declaration that they would always have ‘somewhere’ to stay,” which didn’t give Harry “much hope,” Scobie writes. Weeks before, Scobie continues, Charles had been cold and brief on the phone to Harry after Harry’s memoir, Spare, was released. “A phone call had been brokered by a friend, as Harry thought if they didn’t speak then they would never speak again,” Page Six reports.

The final blow, Scobie writes, came when the Sussexes found out that Charles wanted his younger brother, Prince Andrew, to move into the five-bedroom Frogmore Cottage, far smaller than the 30-room Royal Lodge where Andrew has lived (and continues to live) for years. Harry and Meghan were apparently particularly upset that they had to pay $3 million themselves for renovations, and that their lease on the property ran well into the future. (Andrew still hasn’t vacated Royal Lodge; Harry and Meghan vacated Frogmore earlier this year.)

Shots of the exterior of Frogmore Cottage

Frogmore Cottage

(Image credit: Getty)

Today, Harry and Meghan want “peace for everyone,” Page Six reports. “They want their children to know their grandfather.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.