Now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have officially lost their royal HRH titles — and the accompanying public payment for their royal duties — it seems all but inevitable they’ll soon begin spending the bulk of their time in North America. Frogmore Cottage, the historic Grade II-listed residence upon which they lavished $2.4 million in renovations, will remain their part-time UK residence, but Markle has made no secret of her desire to raise son Archie overseas.
Though it’s not yet clear where the couple will be settling for the short term, it seems certain they will eventually migrate back down to the glittery lights of Tinseltown, where Markle was raised and where her mother, Doria Ragland, still resides. According to friends, Markle “misses L.A.” and “Hollywood is in her DNA.”
Should SoCal indeed be in the property cards, the formerly royal pair will have a full range of luxury neighborhoods from which to choose. A benefit of L.A.’s colossal suburban sprawl is that the region has a little bit of something for everyone, no matter what your residential taste — providing one has millions in the kitty to spend, of course.
There are semi-remote, equestrian-oriented gated communities like Bradbury Estates and Hidden Hills, genteel old-money bastions like San Marino and Hancock Park, beautiful Spanish-style Los Feliz mansions and fitness-oriented Manhattan Beach. From boho-chic Venice, to the high-nosed streets of Beverly Hills and the hard-partying Bird Streets, to lefty-liberal Pacific Palisades and the historically Republican bastion of Bel Air — and that’s not even the half of it.
Of course, Markle’s most technically obvious choice would be Hancock Park. The former actress/lifestyle blogger has lived there in the past; while married to her first husband Trevor Engelson, the couple leased a stately Colonial-style home on the neighborhood outskirts. The area’s sublime central L.A. location also means it’s just minutes to Hollywood and relatively close to Doria Ragland’s home in View Park-Windsor Hills, about 20 minutes due south via automobile. Hancock Park also sports a royal pedigree; the British consul general’s home is located there, and has hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during at least one of their visits to the city.
And thanks to its close proximity to Hollywood, the architecturally gorgeous neighborhood has come to be dominated by creative types like showrunners, actors and prolific writers — Shonda Rhimes, “Power” creator Courtney Kemp, “Game of Thrones” creator D.B. Weiss and Patrick Stewart are just a few of the big name residents in the area.
But while Hancock Park has the right neighbors and many of the right amenities, its mid-city location is not especially private. That could be a deal-breaker for the security-conscious couple, who’ve had a notably strained relationship with the press.
According to various reports, Harry and Meghan have now taken a keen interest in Malibu, well away from L.A.’s central bustle. The seaside community has long been a celebrity haven and there are secluded properties available, the kind where the houses are not visible from the street. And after all, Prince Harry has a very personal connection to the city.
According to Princess Diana’s longtime bodyguard Paul Burrell, the couple would be “following in her footsteps,” should they select a Malibu residence. Before her death, Princess Diana had confided in Burrell that her boyfriend — Egyptian billionaire heir Dodi Fayed — had bought her a Malibu mansion where they intended to live after their marriage, and where she intended “to give William and Harry a new perspective on life.” Those plans, of course — both the marriage and the Malibu lifestyle — were abruptly cut short in August 1997, in an infamous Paris car wreck.
Records show that just two months before Fayed’s untimely passing, he did indeed pay $7 million for a gorgeous villa on a Malibu blufftop overlooking Paradise Cove — a villa formerly owned by Julie Andrews. (Shortly after Fayed’s death, that property was sold off to its current owners, L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his Walmart heiress wife Ann Walton Kroenke.)
The former Fayed blufftop estate is gated, fortified, and tucked away down an elaborately long driveway, the structure completely out of sight from the public. Far below the house, the crashing waves effectively drown away memories of longstanding tensions and quarrels within the royal family.
Malibu is often jammed with tourists, however. For ultimate residential peace of mind, a guard-gated community might be necessary for the high-profile couple, who now must shell out for their own bodyguards.
Mulholland Estates, located just off world-famous Mulholland Drive high in the mountains above Beverly Hills, fits the bill. With its large mansions, private communal tennis courts and 24/7 gate guards, it fits the bill for a well-to-do young family. There are other high-profile residents there, too — Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton, Rob Dyrdek, Christina Aguilera, DJ Khaled, Big Sean and a Saudi princess among them.
Of course, if the former royals really want to play in the major-league Hollywood moguls’ sandbox, there’s no better choice than guard-gated Beverly Park estates. Long considered the most exclusive gated community in L.A., Beverly Park is also one of the most secure communities in the entire country — there are three 24/7 guard-gated entrances, plus 24/7 armed security patrols. On top of that, many of the billionaire residents hire their own private security for extra protection.
Tucked privately into an even more remote corner of the mountains above Beverly Hills, Beverly Park is one of the most cosmopolitan gated enclaves around; homeowners there hail from Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, China, Israel, Lebanon, Dubai and Mexico, not to mention all the Saudi royal family members — no fewer than four of them. And then, of course, there are the celebrities — Denzel Washington, Steve Harvey, Magic Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Wahlberg, just to name a few. The multi-acre lots have space aplenty, and there’s even a private community park for young Archie to play.
Beverly Park digs don’t come cheap. Residences start at $15 million, soaring up and away from there. And the estates are massive, too — the smallest house in the community reportedly spans nearly 8,000 square feet of living space. So even if Meghan and Harry can’t be royal anymore, at least they’ll still have a castle.