His son is 5,400 miles away with a new family and new life.
But if anything might have sharpened the pang of separation for Prince Charles still further, it would be hearing that Harry has a new father figure.
So claims the singer and actress Katharine McPhee, 36, an old acquaintance of the Duchess of Sussex who has rekindled their relationship since Meghan and Harry moved to America.
Yet McPhee’s friendship with her fellow thespian pales beside the one between her husband — pop mogul David Foster, 70 — and the Prince.
‘My husband has a really, really beautiful relationship with Harry,’ McPhee gushed to the celebrity gossip TV show Access Hollywood.
‘They’re like, they’re so cute. They’re like father and son.
His son is 5,400 miles away with a new family and new life. But if anything might have sharpened the pang of separation for Prince Charles still further, it would be hearing that Harry has a new father figure
‘We just stay in touch with them. But mostly, Meghan and I knew each other from childhood, but really Harry and my husband are friends, so it’s really nice.’
Leaving aside that McPhee is just six months older than her husband’s new ‘son’, her tactless remark about surrogate fathers echoes Prince Harry’s own claim in 2017 that the Royal Family provided Meghan with ‘the family she never had’.
According to Meghan’s estranged half-sister Samantha, it was that comment that started the feud between the Duchess and her family.
It has to be said, however, that there’s nothing extraordinary about having David Foster as a father — with five marriages under his belt, he has five biological children and six stepchildren.
This well-connected and charismatic Tinseltown power-player helped the Sussexes find a place to live in British Columbia during their brief Canadian sojourn.
He admitted connecting them to the as-yet-unnamed owner of a mansion on Vancouver Island where they and baby son Archie found ‘respite’, said Mr Foster, who added that he felt ‘honoured’ to help Meghan ‘because I’m a Canadian and we’re a Commonwealth country’.
singer and actress Katharine McPhee (right), 36, an old acquaintance of the Duchess of Sussex, claims her husband – pop mogul David Foster (left), 70 – has a ‘really beautiful relationship’ with Prince Harry, to the extent they are ‘like father and son’
The honour continues: asked where the Sussexes may end up living as they house-hunt in Los Angeles, McPhee said that was Foster’s department.
‘David is the resource guy. He knows all the places. He loves to help people,’ she said. ‘We just want them to end up wherever they feel safest and happiest.’
Despite public pronouncements and a forthcoming tell-all book ‘written with the participation of those closest to the couple’, the Sussexes have repeatedly insisted they want to live a private life.
Yet Foster has a uniquely Hollywood notion of privacy — parading his existence for public consumption at every turn.
He has twice allowed cameras into his home to film a reality TV series.
In 2005, he and third wife, actress Linda Thompson (longtime girlfriend of Elvis Presley), collaborated in a cheesy show called The Princes Of Malibu.
Ms McPhee said she and Meghan know each other from their childhoods. Pictured: The pair together in a photo which Ms McPhee posted on Instagram
This followed Foster’s attempts to put his spoilt-rotten stepsons Brandon and Brody (from Linda’s marriage to Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, before he transitioned to become Caitlyn) on the straight and narrow.
In 2012, Foster did it again when he and his fourth wife, Dutch-born model Yolanda Hadid, starred in the equally tacky series Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills.
This followed the couple, along with Yolanda’s supermodel daughters, Gigi and Bella, at their $19million home in Malibu. Foster has also appeared as a judge or ‘mentor’ in a string of TV music contests, including American Idol and Asia’s Got Talent.
He is even welcoming the public into his current home in Malibu during the coronavirus lockdown.
He and Katharine, a runner-up in the 2006 season of American Idol and star of the recent West End musical Waitress, have been giving daily concerts on Instagram, taking song requests.
In what they call the ‘Kat and Dave Show’, she sings (and sometimes tapdances) as he accompanies her on a grand piano on which his 16 Grammy awards are prominently displayed.
‘We decided because we’re all housebound that we would have a little fun,’ said Foster, who coincidentally has a new album to promote. They’ve certainly successfully inserted themselves into the Sussex soap opera.
In January 2019, perfectly timed just a few days before she opened in Waitress in London, McPhee revealed her connection to Meghan when she posted on social media a photo of her and Meghan from their youthful days together, commenting: ‘Both did musicals together as a kid. One is now the duchess and the other is starring on the west end [sic]. Basically the same life if you ask me’.
McPhee has now admitted, however, that she was ‘never really close friends’ with Meghan.
When she was in London doing Waitress, she and Foster attended a charity event at which the Sussexes were also present.
Mr Foster, a well-connected and charismatic Tinseltown power-player helped the Sussexes find a place to live (pictured) in British Columbia during their brief Canadian sojourn
‘Me and David put ourselves in a position where we could at least say hello and they were really gracious,’ she said.
From that rather tenuous connection, great things have sprung.
Some might say it’s a mutually beneficial relationship (as they tend to be in Hollywood) in which the Fosters can bask in the reflected glory of the ex-royal Sussexes while the latter acquire friends who know how to grease the wheels in a city that’s all about who you know.
But Foster remains an unlikely father figure for Harry.
Born and raised on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, where his father worked in a boatyard, Foster pursued his passion for music from a young age.
He became an influential keyboard player and composer, working with former Beatle George Harrison, Earth, Wind And Fire and Chicago, as well as providing music for films.
He also composed the theme song for the 1988 Winter Olympics and has produced for stars including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Madonna.
And he is the uncrowned king of Christmas albums, a much-mocked but lucrative genre, producing four of the biggest-selling 15 ever made.
His personal life has been just as busy. He had his first child when he was 20 and placed her up for adoption, reconnecting with her 10 years later.
He had a second daughter with his first wife, singer BJ Cook, and three further daughters with second wife, former model Rebecca Dyer.
His four-year marriage to Yolanda ended in divorce in May 2017. A year later he became engaged to McPhee, despite the 34-year age gap.
He’d produced her first single and even played piano at her previous wedding to actor Nick Cokas.
They married in June last year at an Armenian church in South Kensington while she was still in Waitress. The Duke and Duchess weren’t among the guests.
Is Foster really now Harry’s father figure or is that just Hollywood gloss?
Either way, the Sussexes may find that LA paparazzi aren’t the only ones they have to fear when it comes to keeping their new ‘private’ life under wraps.
Meet the Sussexes’ new neighbours: Harry and Meghan expressed a desire for living in the real world – yet their new home is in one of the swankiest gated communities in Los Angeles
By Tom Leonard in New York and Barbara McMahon in Los Angeles
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have expressed a commendable desire to work for the greater good of humanity, to come down from the royal pedestal and live in the real world.
What they really crave, say friends, is the simple life. So why, one might ask, are they living in a grandiose hilltop mega-mansion in one of Los Angeles’s swankiest gated communities?
There’s nothing remotely ‘down-to-earth’ about Beverly Ridge Estates; and ordinary people, excepting the ghost-like legions of household staff, gardeners and security guards, are distinctly thin on the ground.
There’s nothing remotely ‘down-to-earth’ about Beverly Ridge Estates; and ordinary people, excepting the ghost-like legions of household staff, gardeners and security guards, are distinctly thin on the ground, writes TOM LEONARD and BARBARA McMAHON
If you ever want to understand how Hollywood stars end up A-list recluses — imperious, narcissistic and divorced from reality in their over-indulged private worlds — Beverly Ridge would be the perfect place to start.
It’s where the obscenely rich and pampered dwell — and its biggest house is the current residence of just-call-us Harry and Meghan.
Their $18 million, 25,000 sq ft colossus of a house — where they are reportedly living rent-free — has eight immense bedrooms, 12 huge bathrooms and is set in 22 acres of land. It is owned by Tyler Perry, an actor and entertainment mogul.
It features a wood-panelled study, a Roman-style sunken bath and chic nursery for their son, Archie.
The Sussexes have been in lockdown there since they moved from Canada to California in late March.
Perry, 50, who is estimated to be worth $600 million, was reportedly introduced to them by their mutual friend, chat show host Oprah Winfrey, and flew them down from British Columbia in his huge $150 million private plane.
A close friend of singer Janet Jackson and actor Will Smith, Perry has never been seen publicly with the Sussexes but expressed sympathy with Meghan’s predicament when she complained in an ITV interview that nobody had asked her how she was.
He built the unlovely house, supposedly a ‘Tuscan-style villa’, in 2004, enhancing his reputation for investing in brutish properties that are vast even by the standards of status-obsessed U.S. millionaires.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have expressed a commendable desire to work for the greater good of humanity, to come down from the royal pedestal and live in the real world
These charmless new quarters may be a million miles from Windsor’s Frogmore Cottage, but they have one thing the ex-royal couple obsess over — privacy, recently enhanced still further after they ordered the installation of black screens along a section of the compound’s boundary that was overlooked by a hiking trail.
Whether that protects them from LA’s 200-strong paparazzi corps remains to be seen.
The property is also blessed with views of downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
For Meghan, an actress who never came close to the A-list while playing a paralegal in TV series Suits, looking down on Beverly Hills — home to stars in houses considerably smaller than the one she now occupies — may not be an unpleasant feeling.
Yet, while Beverly Ridge may be a tiny community, it’s hardly close-knit. ‘You don’t often see your neighbours. People tend to stay in their own homes,’ says Rochelle Maize, Luxury Estates director for local estate agent Nourmand and Associates.
Security, of course, is a priority. A stone guardhouse stands next to the two imposing iron gates at the estate’s main entrance.
A sign reads: ‘Stop. Check with Guard Before Proceeding.’ Most homes, including Perry’s, have a further manned gatehouse.
For the privacy-inclined, Beverly Ridge has the added advantage of being close to a small airport, Van Nuys, which avoids the media scrum at Los Angeles International.
Their $18 million, 25,000 sq ft colossus of a house — where they are reportedly living rent-free — has eight immense bedrooms, 12 huge bathrooms and is set in 22 acres of land. It is owned by Tyler Perry, an actor and entertainment mogul. Pictured: Inside the property
Estate residents don’t even need to worry about shopping — deliveries are brought round in a golf buggy.
An agency that provides servants to the area says some homes have as many as 30 staff, even down to a full-time laundress.
On paper, the estate doesn’t exactly sparkle with potential bosom buddies for the Sussexes.
Neighbours include low-profile business tycoons from China and Indonesia, Alexis Maas — the 68-year-old widow of chat show host Johnny Carson — and Robert Rivani, a property developer who two years ago spent a fortune on a Harry Potter and Maleficent-themed wedding.
Sadly, the more colourful Carlton Gebbia — a British actress, self-professed ‘Celtic pagan witch’ and star of TV series Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills — moved out last December.
However, four miles down the road is the more famous Beverly Hills which heaves with potential top-flight chums, including Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston and Adele (the last of whom has reportedly been giving the Sussexes advice on good private schools).
Estate agent Rochelle Maize says there has been a lot of buzz in Beverly Hills about the newly-arrived couple.
‘It’s the latest thing to talk about — people saw the photographs of them delivering food to the needy and they loved that,’ she reveals.
‘They like the cachet of them living here but high-profile people don’t like the paparazzi, so it would be sensible to have them living behind gates.’
If Harry and Meghan really are seeking a low-profile and uncomplicated life, this extravagant house and neighbourhood seems a bizarre choice.
How ironic it would be if life alongside Hollywood royalty proved to be even more wearing for them than life as the real thing.