Meghan Markle & Prince Harry hand Frogmore Cottage to Princess Eugenie & move belongings to California in dead of nightNovember 20, 2020
HARRY and Meghan have handed the keys to Frogmore Cottage to Princess Eugenie.
The Sussexes' prized possessions were hauled out of Frogmore Cottage in the dead of night to make way for their new tenant.
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Pregnant Eugenie, 30, and hubby Jack Brooksbank moved into the refurbished five-bed home in Windsor two weeks ago.
The secretive switch saw treasured items and furniture packed off to the Sussexes’ home in California.
Grade II-listed Frogmore technically remains the Sussexes’ UK residence but it is unlikely they will live there as a family again.
A source said: “Removal vans pitched up in the dead of the night and cleared out the cottage. They definitely did not want to be seen.
“Emptying their home and handing over the keys is a pretty strong sign Harry and Meghan have no plans to return.
“It appears they are tying up loose ends as they plan to extend their stay in the US perhaps permanently.”
Eugenie and Jack announced in September they are expecting their first child in the New Year.
The Princess and the Sussexes are said to have reached a private agreement but it is not known how long for.
Harry, 36, has always been close to his cousin, youngest daughter of Prince Andrew and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. Andrew and Fergie live together four miles away at Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park.
Eugenie and Jack are also less than a mile from Windsor Castle, where the Queen is spending lockdown with Prince Philip.
Harry and Meghan, 39, cleared the way for the move by repaying £2.4million of taxpayers’ cash spent on a refurb.
The source added: “Frogmore was kitted out to Meghan and Harry’s tastes with son Archie in mind, so it is the perfect place for a couple to bring up a baby.
“It has the bonus of being around the corner from her parents and, of course, the Queen.
“Harry and Meghan didn’t fancy Frogmore for whatever reason but Jack and Eugenie are delighted with it.”
The couple wed at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in October 2018 and have been living at Ivy Cottage at Kensington Palace.
Eyebrows were raised after lights were spotted inside the 200-year-old Frogmore around a fortnight ago. Royal gardeners were sent to the cottage last month to get the ground shipshape.
It is understood teams cleared leaves and aired the home which had been closed for eight months.
Harry and Meghan were gifted Frogmore by the Queen in April 2018 a month before their wedding.
That autumn — as Eugenie and Jack tied the knot — the Sussexes ordered a six-month overhaul of the property masterminded by Soho Farmhouse designer Vicky Charles.
Harry and Meghan paid for some fittings, with the Sovereign Grant — Treasury funds that help maintain royal residences — covering new ceiling beams and floor joists.
Bathrooms were installed as well as a “floating” kitchen floor and £50,000 soundproof windows to drown out Heathrow jet noise.
The couple ordered an elaborate double staircase and there were rumours of a £5,000 bath tub.
It was claimed they added a baby yoga studio and had the cottage decorated with vegan paint. It also required rewiring and a new £50,000 eco-friendly boiler.
The total bill sparked outrage after the Sussexes and baby Archie, now 18 months, quit Frogmore for Canada last November.
In January the couple announced they were stepping down as senior royals. They last stayed at the cottage in March.
On April 1 they officially quit and moved to Canada, then a Hollywood pal’s Los Angeles mansion.
They privately paid £11million for a new home in Montecito, California, in July.
The Sussexes have always maintained that Frogmore Cottage would remain their UK home.
In September, it was revealed they had used private funds to pay back the cost of repairs and rent “for a number of years”.
The “substantial” sum also covered any future rent.
Documents filed by Meghan’s lawyers last week read: “They were given residence in Frogmore Cottage (one of HM The Queen’s historic dwellings in Windsor Great Park). It is denied that the claimant (Meghan) has the option of living in Kensington Palace or any other royal palace as her official residence.”
Last month, we revealed Palace staff had been warned to prepare Frogmore Cottage to be reopened.
It was initially believed Harry and Meghan would make a shock return ahead of her privacy trial expected in January.
A court postponement freed the house up for its new tenants.
Eugenie, an associate art director, and Jack, a brand ambassador for Casamigos tequila, are understood to be working from home.
Royal aides would not disclose the terms of the agreement as it was a private arrangement between the couple and the Palace.
Buckingham Palace did not want to comment.
Harry and Meghan do not speak to The Sun since setting up their own communications team.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
APRIL 2018: The Queen gives Frogmore Cottage to Harry and Meghan.
AUTUMN/WINTER: A £2.4m taxpayer-funded refit turns it into family home.
APRIL 2019: Pair move in.
MAY: Meghan gives birth to baby Archie.
NOVEMBER: They quit for Vancouver and move into a lakeside mansion.
JANUARY 2020: Harry returns to tell the Queen he wants to quit royal life.
MARCH: Harry and Meghan prepare to leave.
JULY: They buy a £10.5m mansion in California.
SEPTEMBER: Harry reveals he paid back the £2.4m.
NOVEMBER: Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank get keys to the cottage.
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