Though the modern royals aren’t living in a scene out of a Keira Knightley period piece, the aforementioned apartments are certainly much, much grander than the average home. Apartment 1A underwent a million-dollar renovation before the Waleses moved in, and boasts 20 rooms spread out over four stories. Nottingham Cottage, on the other hand, is closer to the home of the average Briton. As shown in Harry & Meghan, the small cottage has incredibly low ceilings, a simple kitchen with a black-and-white checkerboard floor and a blue tile backsplash, and low-key decor.
“The whole thing’s on a slight lean,” Harry says in the show. “He would hit his head constantly in that place because he’s so tall,” Meghan adds. Harry then tells of Oprah Winfrey’s reaction when she came to Nott Cott, as the home is often called, for tea. “When she came in, she sat down, she goes, ‘No one would ever believe it.’”
This bit of the documentary services Harry and Meghan’s narrative that royal life was constricting and is not all it’s cracked up to be. And, though it is fascinating to be reminded that not all of the royal homes fit the stereotype of what a “palace” looks like, in the big picture of things it is kind of hard to feel bad for them considering they were allowed to stay in this cottage rent-free. The property is what is known in the UK as a “grace and favour” home, meaning it is owned by the monarch and lent out to members of the royal family at their discretion. Many of Harry’s relatives had lived there before him, including William and Kate for a brief stint when their eldest son, Prince George, was a baby. Plus it wasn’t too long until Harry’s grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, bestowed another larger home on him and his new bride. Frogmore Cottage, in Windsor, was also constructed in the 17th century, but underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation to make it habitable for Harry and Meghan. The Netflix documentary doesn’t reveal much of the interior at Frogmore, but shots of the exterior show a big backyard with a swing.
What better drives home their reasons for leaving royal life, of course, are the disgusting, undeniably racist headlines about Meghan that plagued the British tabloids, and the royal family’s alleged refusal to intervene. Their public struggles culminated in the couple moving first to Vancouver Island, Canada, and then to Montecito, where they now reside in a nine-bedroom, 16-bathroom home which they purchased in 2020 for a reported $14.65 million. We can only assume this is where the interview portions of the Netflix documentary were filmed, and if so, the couple are living a life that is quite far away from the British cottage where their relationship began.