Malibu. New York. The U.K.—Kensington Palace, Specifically. Where Do the Sussexes Want Their Next Home to Be?

The answer might just be none of the above.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in love at the Invictus Games 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rumors are abounding that Prince Harry wants a permanent home in the U.K. again, following his and Meghan Markle’s eviction from Frogmore Cottage earlier this year. (Frogmore was a 2018 wedding present from Queen Elizabeth; Harry and Meghan used the property as their U.K. home base even after stepping back as working members of the royal family and relocating to the U.S. in early 2020, up until this summer.) Some say that Harry and Meghan wish to purchase their own property—and not live once again in a home owned by the Crown—and some say that they want to rent an apartment at Kensington Palace, the former home of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, and also the former home of the Prince and Princess of Wales, who still use KP as their London home. (William, Kate, and their three children relocated to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor shortly before the late Queen died in September 2022. And by the way, don’t let the word “apartment” fool you—an apartment at KP is larger than almost any home you’ve ever seen.)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in love at the Invictus Games 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It would be a return to living on the grounds of KP, as in the early days of their relationship up until their marriage, Harry (and later Meghan) lived at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace. The Daily Express reports that Harry has expressed interest in renting an apartment there, but there’s a glitch: Prince William stays there on a regular basis, said The Sun’s Matt Wilkinson.

Prince William and Prince Harry in more collegial times

(Image credit: Getty)

Wilkinson, appearing on TalkTV with host Kevin O’Sullivan, said that the apartment would primarily be used for Harry to have a “place to lay his head when he’s over” visiting the U.K., as he does sometimes, albeit infrequently. Wilkinson said it’s more for Harry than the family as a whole, adding “I cannot see in a million years Meghan spending much time over here again.” (This holds up—other than flying through Heathrow, Meghan hasn’t returned to the U.K. since Her late Majesty’s funeral 13 months ago, although Harry has been back numerous times.)

“I believe the situation is Harry is homeless in the U.K.,” Wilkinson said. “The King’s taken his property away. Their life is in California.”

Wilkinson said that King Charles did extend an invitation to his younger son, but that Harry declined. “He has to apply, okay,” he said. “It’s a really bizarre situation. His father is the king, they have all of these properties, have all these empty castles; he has to apply 30 days in advance to ask if he can stay in a royal property. Last time, the King said, ‘You can come join me in Balmoral,’ but he [Harry] couldn’t do it because of travel arrangements and he ended up in a hotel.”

Prince Harry at the Invictus Games 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even so, that was a one-off situation, and what is being discussed is more long term, especially since Harry reportedly wants his kids, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, to be familiar with their British roots. “He’s obsessed with security,” Wilkinson said. “He has all these court cases running about security. So, I believe it to be true, that he would like to rent somewhere in Kensington Palace or maybe St. James’s Palace, because there’s actually rooms there. The problem with Kensington Palace is William is often there. He fell out with his brother when they lived next door to each other in Kensington Palace, but William’s staff are there, William and Kate and the kids often pop around there, so it’s going to be difficult. If he did have permission to rent a place, it would likely be on the condition that they would have to keep the brothers apart. William spends a lot of time at Windsor.”

Prince William in NYC

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wilkinson is in favor of it: “It’s just gotten to that ridiculous situation,” he said. “You’ve made the guy homeless [by evicting the Sussexes from Frogmore], he wants to come over…he doesn’t have any big events…his life is in California…he may pop back for a couple charity events, like he did earlier this year, but he just needs somewhere to lay his head, somewhere safe, where he feels safe, that security guards can look after him.”

If KP doesn’t work out, Wilkinson offered up another solution. “It’s not going to be a family reunion with the royals welcoming him with open arms,” he said. “He’s a grownup with lots of money. Why doesn’t he just go and buy his own house?”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a rare joint speech

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The U.K. property is but the latest rumor in the Sussex property musical chairs—for a while, buzz indicated that the family was moving to Malibu; OK reports that Harry is considering buying property in New York to be closer to England and reduce travel time to get there, but that Meghan “could not imagine leaving” California, where she was raised. (“She loves the Hollywood scene and that’s where she wants to be,” royal author Tina Brown told Sky News Australia.) “Harry was all gung-ho for the Malibu move a few months ago,” a source said. “Yes, it was Meghan’s idea, but he was excited about it. It feels odd that now he wants out of that Californian life and is suggesting they buy a place in New York instead.” They added that this alleged idea “makes zero logical sense.”

That said, as with basically anything in the royal stratosphere, everything about where the Sussexes want to live has to be taken with a massive grain of salt. “You know, anybody who believes all of this pap has no clue at all,” said frequent royal commentor Lady Colin Campbell, speaking on GB News. “A few weeks ago, it was Malibu, a few months ago they were moving to Montecito [editor’s note: don’t they already live there?], then it was New York. They keep on changing where it’s going to be.” 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in love at the Invictus Games 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do they keep changing it, or does the media? People reports that the family of four seem perfectly content where they are: “Meghan is the best mom, and Harry is always on the floor playing with the kids,” a source said of life in Montecito. “They are still such a team.”

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.