The real reason Meghan and Harry chose to move to Montecito

The couple bought a nine-bedroom home in the Californian community.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The couple bought a nine-bedroom home in the Californian community.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are now long-settled in Montecito, California, having moved to the community back in July 2020 after stepping down as working members of the royal family. But they weren't always certain where they'd live, it seems.

Last spring, the royal couple were forced to bring their relocation from their bolt-hole in Canada to the West Coast of America forward due to the pandemic. While they were between houses, the Sussexes resided in an LA mansion belonging to their friend Tyler Perry. But when the summer rolled around, and they were ready to put down roots in a place of their own, Meghan and Harry landed on the the Santa Barbara town of Montecito as their future home.

Now, with the release of an extra chapter in the revealing biography, Finding Freedom, written by royal experts Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it's been clarified why Montecito became the couple's location of choice.

Montecito is famously popular with celebrities - the Sussexes count Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Ariana Grande and more as neighbours - and it was the recommendation from some of these star powers that drew them to the area. "A number of the couple’s friends, including Oprah, had recommended Santa Barbara County as the perfect place to raise a family," reads the new epilogue in the biography, which hasn't been authorised by Meghan and Harry but is believed to be based on accounts from "close friends" of the couple.

It wasn't just the fact that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry already knew people in Montecito that made it a winner; it also offered the safety and security the high profile couple required for their family. In the "quaint town of Montecito," houses sit "within double-gated communities for maximum privacy" while also being "close enough to the amenities of civilisation when needed," explains Finding Freedom.

Meghan and Harry took a recommendation from their friend, Oprah

So Montecito it was, and the Duke and Duchess went on to purchase a nine-bedroom, 7.4-acre, 18,671-square-foot property. "Like nearly all average couples, they took a mortgage out on," notes the book.

The royals now live at the property with their two-year-old son, Archie, and their two-month-old daughter, Lili. We've been lucky enough to catch small glimpses of their gorgeous home in publicly-shared video appearances for various causes, and the couple even invited cameras in to see son Archie's precious 'Chick Inn' chicken pen in their back garden.

From what we've seen, it's the picture of luxury, and hopefully the estate provides the family with every inch of comfort and privacy they need.

Catriona Harvey-Jenner

Cat is a Senior Editor at Marie Claire, covering news and features across the brand's key purpose pillars, including women's issues, politics, career, mental health, female empowerment and equality, as well as books.