Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting some new neighbours at their Montecito home

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Things have been pretty hectic in the Markle/Mountbatten-Windsor household of late.

After taking a brief step back from the spotlight following the arrival of their daughter, Lilibet Diana, in June, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are back to work with a bang: appearing on their first official joint magazine cover, undertaking a whistle-stop tour of New York City, and speaking out on important political issues including paid parental leave and vaccine equity.

And while the couple's professional life is very much a public facing one, when it comes to their home life, Harry and Meghan remain resolutely private – having decided not to publicly release pictures of baby Lilibet, and even taking legal action against photographers who have attempted to breach their privacy.

One (marginal) privacy breach the couple will have to put up with in their post-royal life, though, is the novelty of neighbours – something Harry, who grew up at Kensington Palace, is likely to have limited experience of.

Yep, it's been reported that Harry and Meghan – who swapped Windsor's Frogmore Cottage for Montecito, California, in 2020 – are set to welcome some new neighbours into their lives, after the property next to their $14 million dollar "forever home" was recently bought for a dizzying $19 million. (Casual.)

Formerly owned by billionaire Peter Sperling, the neighbouring seven-bedroom, 13 bathroom mansion was bought by an unidentified buyer in April last year.

While Meghan is probably well-versed in the joys of living next door to strangers, Harry is probably less familiar, given that the royal residences in which he grew up can't be purchased by members of the public.

New neighbours or not, though, Harry and Meghan are still unlikely to have any real problem maintaining their ultra-private home life. According to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand's revelatory biography, Finding Freedom, houses in Montecito sit "within double-gated communities for maximum privacy" while also being "close enough to the amenities of civilisation when needed".

Then there's the fact that Harry and Meghan's nine-bedroom house is 18,671-square-foot, and sits on a plot of 7.4-acres. Something tells us that they won't be the type of neighbours to have a daily natter over the hedge, then.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.