The Fabulous Real Estate of Love Birds Prince Harry And Meghan Markle
Behind every romance there is a story, and the backdrop to every story is real estate.
When that romance is between a prince and a foreign star of stage, the setting becomes even more varied and interesting.
This is the real estate story behind the joining together in holy matrimony of Prince Harry of Wales and America's Meghan Markle. The properties are both modern and ancient, and the bit that Ms. Markle is marrying into is worth more than $1.4B.
The first date: Soho House, London
Where do a modern prince and an actor have a clandestine first date? Soho House, of course, the London private members club with an express policy of not harassing its famous clientele. It has also been reported that one of the club’s directors, Markus Anderson, introduced the pair.
The wedding venue: Windsor Castle
Harry and Meghan have chosen to avoid getting married at Westminster Abbey like his brother Prince William, in spite of the excellent public transport links it offers to wedding guests. Instead the wedding will be held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, one of the royal family’s ancestral seats, where a castle has stood since the 11th century.
The royal family does not own the castle and surrounding estate — it is owned and managed by the Crown Estate, which manages $16B of once royal property for the benefit of the British taxpayer. But it does get 15% of the Crown Estate’s revenue, and so it seems fair to put it into the value of the real estate to which Harry is part owner. Windsor was last valued at $372M.
The cosy starter home: Nottingham Cottage
Harry and Meghan will be moving into a two-bedroom cottage once they are married. It just so happens that this cottage is in the grounds of Kensington Palace, the 17th century royal palace in West London where Harry and his brother William grew up. Harry has been living there as a bachelor for the past four years, so Meghan may want to open the windows and let some air in.
The country retreat: Luckington Court
Media reports have suggested that the newlyweds have been looking for a country bolthole, and have settled on a $10M mansion in the west of England, Luckington Court. It was used as one of the locations for the famous 1995 TV version of Jane Austen’s classic romance, "Pride and Prejudice".
The family real estate portfolio: The Duchy of Cornwall
As has been mentioned, the Crown Estate is not quite owned by the royal family. The portfolio the family directly owns is the Duchy of Cornwall, a huge portfolio of 135K square acres of land and farmland, commercial buildings and investments in funds across the U.K. valued at just over $1B last year. Technically it is owned by Prince Charles and is inherited by the heir to the throne, but it is likely that the wealth is spread throughout the family.