Prince Harry and Meghan’s £8million secret Santa Barbara house buy came under scrutiny today – after it emerged Prince Charles helped with funds and the couple are still paying off Frogmore Cottage’s renovations.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex ditched Tyler Perry’s 12-bedroom Beverly Hills mansion for the ‘considerable privacy’ of the new property.
They have been living in the upscale California community for six weeks since early July under the radar.
Their neighbours now include close friends Ellen DeGeneres, 62, as well as Oprah Winfrey, 66, who also have multi-million-pound properties there, as well as Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.
But there were questions asked about the expense after the pair had agreed to pay £18,000 a month to repay £2.4million used to refurbish and renovate their previous Frogmore Cottage residence.
Royal expert Ingrid Seward told MailOnline she understood why people were asking about the price spent on the new home.
She said: ‘I think people at this moment of time when Meghan and Harry do anything to do with money, it isn’t going to be looked at very favourably.
‘People will not like what they do when it involves a lot of money.’
Film directors and screenwriters are also known to favour their new community – nicknamed Beverly Hills North – due to its proximity to Hollywood and LA.
Santa Barbara also has a bi-weekly Woke Men groups for people to get in touch with their feelings.
Royal insiders said Prince Charles had contributed money to his son to help him secure the property for his family.
A source said: ‘Charles had been keen to help out and put his hand in his own pocket to assist.
‘He is devoted to both his sons and any time he can assist them he always will’. Clarence House declined to comment.
At their peak Harry and Meghan’s combined wealth had been estimated to be worth around £33 million.
He was estimated to have earned as much as £700,000 to speak at a star-studded JP Morgan summit in Miami in February.
Papers for their now in liquidation Sussex Royal Foundation also showed it was owed £200,000 from an unknown source.
Prince Charles had contributed money to Prince to help him secure the property for his family in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is known as ‘Beverly Hills North’ and the ‘American Riviera’ and is hugely popular with the rich and famous
News of the couple’s new home were revealed last night, surprising fans of the couple who had no idea they had left Beverly Hills.
It came hours after controversial new Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom was finally released.
A source said: ‘Harry and Meghan have been quietly living in their own home in Santa Barbara since early July.
‘They are not houseguests of Oprah or anyone else, they bought this home themselves. This is where they want to continue their lives after leaving the UK.
‘This is the first home either of them has ever owned. It has been a very special time for them as a couple and as a family — to have complete privacy for six weeks since they moved in.
‘They intend to put down their roots in this house and the quiet community, which has considerable privacy. This is where they want to bring Archie up, where they hope he can have as normal a life as possible.’
Harry and Meghan bought the new property to get more privacy for them and son Archie after moving from Beverly Hills
Their new home is a far cry from their previous Frogmore Cottage base, for which they are still paying £18,000 a month
The woke, star-filled Santa Barbara community dubbed by locals as ‘Beverly Hills North’
Santa Barbara – sometimes jokingly called Beverly Hills North – is well-known as a draw for the rich and famous and has seen huge celebrities set up home there.
Most recent figures show it has a population of 92,101, with a rough 50/50 split of men and women – with an average age of 39-years-old.
Its Montecito area is nicknamed the ‘American Riviera’ due to its beauty and has the largest pull for famous names.
Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres , Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis
The district is popular because it is near to LA and Hollywood, meaning that directors, screenwriters and producers live there.
Santa Barbara also hosts a Woke Men meet-up twice every month for them to explore and explain their feelings.
Mayor Cathy Murillo said in 2011: ‘I consider all the residents of Santa Barbara my neighbors.
‘I care about your family, your neighborhood, your prosperity, and your safety.’
Little details are known about the home, but the source told Page Six the couple have vetted the property.
‘They have thought about this carefully and researched it well. This is the place where they plan to be happy, make good friends and bring up Archie, giving him the chance to play with other children his age,’ the insider added.
Most properties in Santa Barbara cost between £1.5million and £15million according to estate agents in the US.
Cristal Clarke, of Montecito Sotheby’s International Realty, told Mansion Global: ‘Occasionally a house will sell for over $20million (£15million).
‘The most popular price bracket is $4million (£3million) to $10million (£7.6million) and buyers pay in excess of $5million (£3.8million) for a home with a sea view.’
Oprah’s property is worth $100million (£76.6million) and has been nicknamed by her as her ‘promised land’, while Ellen and wife Portia de Rossi’s home is worth $27million (£20.7million).
Star Wars creator and director George Lucas has a $28million (£21.4million) house, while Gwyneth Paltrow bought there for $4.9million (£3.8million).
Actor Rob Lowe has got a property in Santa Barbara worth $47million (£36million), while Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have got a $10million (£7.6million) beach home in the area.
Harry and Meghan had been staying at Tyler Perry’s $18million (£13.8million), 12-bedroom, eight-bathroom Beverly Hills mansion for the last few months.
Perry is close friends with Oprah, who lives just a few miles away from where the couple now reside. He is also represented by some of the same people representing the couple.
‘While it was a nice favor to them at a very difficult time, Tyler Perry’s house with 18 bedrooms isn’t Harry’s style. Yes, he grew up in royalty and the halls of Buckingham Palace, but he prefers more intimate homes with character,’ the source said.
Harry and Meghan had been staying at Tyler Perry’s $18million, 12-bedroom, eight-bathroom Beverly Hills mansion
The couple have taken legal action against numerous paparazzi agencies after Archie was pictured with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland in a driveway at the house.
‘Harry and Meghan are both very upset by this breach of privacy, but that wasn’t the reason they left Los Angeles. They were already in the process of buying their home in Santa Barbara.
‘Harry and Meghan never intended to make Los Angeles their home. It was a good place for them to be upon their arrival in the US to be close to Meghan’s mother,’ the source shared.
A spokesperson for the couple confirmed that they have moved to the new home.
‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved into their family home in July of this year. They have settled into the quiet privacy of their community since their arrival and hope that this will be respected for their neighbours, as well as for them as a family,’ the source said.
Everybody needs good neighbours: who else lives in the Santa Barbara, Harry and Meghan’s new hometown?
Chat show queen Oprah Winfrey, 66, is best known for her talk show as well as her philanthropy.
She is friends with Meghan and Harry and had publicly backed them for stepping back from the Royal Family.
Oprah is understood to be worth $2.6billion (£1.6billion) and has previously said: ‘Harry said in that charity statement the other day that he had to make the decision to move forward in peace with his new family.’
She bought the 42-acre estate in Santa Barbara for $50million (£38.4million) and calls it the Promised Land.
Now it is worth $100million (£76.6million) and is said to have stunning sea views.
Oprah’s massive $90million estate in Montecito with stunning visuals of the ocean was bought for a fraction of the price
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, 62, and actress wife Portia de Rossi, 47, also live in Santa Barbara.
Their home is worth $27million (£20.7million) and are also friends of the Duke and Duchess.
Ellen, worth $330million (£254million) revealed she had spent the afternoon with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2019 and even held and fed baby Archie.
She described the pair: ‘Seriously, they’re so amazing, they’re the cutest couple and so down to earth.’
The Ellen DeGeneres Show has faced controversy in recent weeks after allegations of intimidation and racism.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s home is worth $27million (£20.7million) and they are also friends of the Duke and Duchess
Director George Lucas, 76, is best known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
He is not thought to known either of the pair, although Harry did have a secret role in one of the sci-fi films he did not helm.
He bought two-acre beachfront property for $28 million (£21.5million) back in 2019.
It said to feature a small Cape Cod-style home as well as a guesthouse, a tree house and a barn.
Actor Rob Lowe – best known for The West Wing and Parks and Recreation – is also a Santa Barbara local.
It is said to be worth $47million (£36.1million) and has been put up for sale, although it is understood Rob still lives there.
The listing says that it sits on 3.4 acres of land and offers delightful views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains.
Rob is one of the wealthier residents with an estimated personal wealth of $60million (£46million).
Actor Rob Lowe’s house is worth $47million (£36.1million) and sits on 3.4 acres of land with views of the Pacific Ocean and mountains
Actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow is another new neighbour of the royal couple.
She spent $4.9 million (£3.8million) on the 5,022-square-foot property, which was described as a fixer-upper at the time.
Gwyneth – who is worth $100million (£76million) – ran into some planning difficulties with the plot in 2017 to build a new home there.
Her plans for a 14,000-square-foot home was opposed by a neighbour who complained the new structure would block his views.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis
Acting couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have also got a beachside base in Santa Barbara which they bought for $10million (£7.6million).
Meghan’s first film role was alongside Ashton where she starred as ‘hot girl’ in the 2005 movie A Lot Like Love.
Their home has been described as having ‘expansive windows with plenty of natural light, with six bedrooms and six bathrooms.
After starring in films including Dude Where’s My Car and Black Swan, they are worth a combined $386 million (£296million).