Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are leaving London. Causing something of a stir among royal watchers, they’ve decided to make their home at Frogmore Cottage on the Frogmore estate in the grounds of Windsor Castle; the cottage was a personal gift from the Queen.
Located about an hour’s drive from London, and around a mile and a half from Windsor Castle itself, Frogmore Cottage has been home to several people with royal connections. These include the Grand Duchess Xenia Romanov from Russia, and Abdul Karim (the subject of the 2017 film Victoria and Abdul), as well as other members of the British royal family. It was named Frogmore because the low-lying marshy surroundings are home to dozens of noisy frogs, something that disgusted Queen Victoria when she visited. Don’t miss these secrets you never knew about Windsor Castle.
RELATED: Inside Windsor Castle
Britain's Queen Elizabeth views a portrait of herself by British artist Henry Ward, commissioned to mark her six decades of patronage to the British Red Cross, at Windsor Castle, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
EMBARGOED UNTIL 23:01 GMT SEPTEMBER 15, 2016. A member of staff of the Royal Collection poses with hats worn by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain September 15, 2016. The exhibition Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe, will show at the castle from September 17, 2016 to January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
EMBARGOED UNTIL 23:01 GMT SEPTEMBER 15, 2016. A member of staff of the Royal Collection poses with a dress worn by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in the Crimson Drawing Room at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain September 15, 2016. The exhibition Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe, will show at the castle from September 17, 2016 to January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
U.S. President Barack Obama's limo stands by at Windsor Castle as Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have lunch with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor, England, Britain April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh upon their arrival for lunch at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President of the United States convoy at the Sovereign's Entrance in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle, Britain April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Geoff Pugh/Pool
The arrival of the President of the United States and First Lady with HRH the Queen driven by the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the Sovereign's Entrance in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle, Britain April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Geoff Pugh/Pool
Britain's Queen Elizabeth leaves after the Easter Sunday church service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, west of London, March 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool
A birthday balloon flies in front of Windsor Castle during celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday in Windsor, Britain April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (C) walks with Dean of Windsor David Conner (L) followed by Britain's Prince Philip as they leave after the Easter Sunday church service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, west of London, March 27, 2016. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool
Guards march before the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Jackson/pool
Britain's Queen Elizabeth talks with the Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer (R) as she prepares to present Britain's Prince Philip with the Insignia of a Knight of the Order of Australia, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, southern England April 22, 2015. REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Britain's Queen Elizabeth inspects the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards before presenting them with New Colours at Windsor Castle, England April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Britain's Lady Louise Windsor (2nd right) and Prince Edward (R) leave after attending the Easter Sunday service at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in southern England April 5, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip bid farewell to the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 11, 2014. The Irish President and his wife Sabina left Windsor at the end of a four day State Visit to Britain, during which they stayed at Windsor Castle as guests of Queen Elizabeth. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)
The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth, travel by a State carriage as he arrives at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 8, 2014. The Irish President and his wife Sabina are embarking on a four day State Visit to Britain, and will stay at Windsor Castle as guests of Queen Elizabeth. REUTERS/Alistair Grant/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS SOCIETY)
The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins inspects the guard of honour at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 8, 2014. The Irish President and his wife Sabina are embarking on a four day State Visit to Britain, and will stay at Windsor Castle as guests of Queen Elizabeth. REUTERS/Steve Parsons/pool (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)
Members of Her Majesty's Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms march to their position before Britain's Queen Elizabeth welcomed the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 8, 2014. The Irish President and his wife Sabina are embarking on a four day State Visit to Britain, and will stay at Windsor Castle as guests of Queen Elizabeth. REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS SOCIETY ROYALS)
Ireland's First Lady Sabina Coyne and Britain's Prince Philip attend a Northern Ireland-themed reception at Windsor Castle at Windsor in southern England April 10, 2014. The event was organised as part of Irish President Michael D Higgins' four-day state visit. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
A man cycles past The Great Walk in Windsor Park,, with Queen Elizabeth's residence, Windsor Castle, seen behind in Windsor, southern England October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: SOCIETY ROYALS ENVIRONMENT)
An honour guard forms in the Quadrangle during a ceremonial welcome for United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan to Windsor Castle, in Windsor, southern England April 30, 2013. The president is paying a state visit to Britain from April 30 to May 1. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets scouts at the National Review of Queen's Scouts at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, near London April 21, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks with actor Damian Lewis a reception for the British Film Industry at Windsor Castle in southern England April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Parsons/pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth poses with her honorary British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) award, after receiving it from actor Kenneth Branagh in recognition of a lifetime's support of British film and television, during a reception for the British Film Industry at Windsor Castle in southern England April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Parsons/pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)
A member of the Kuwaiti media delegation travelling with the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, listens on his headphones before a State Banquet at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, southern England November 27, 2012. The Emir arrived at Windsor Castle on Tuesday for the start of a state visit to Britain. REUTERS/Oli Scarff/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS SOCIETY ROYALS)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (R) greets France's President Francois Hollande at Windsor Castle in southern England July 10, 2012. Picture taken July 10, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Parsons/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
But what is Frogmore Cottage like and what do the young royals intend to do with it? Of course, the precise plans are a closely guarded secret, but we do know that the cottage is Grade II listed (meaning there are some restrictions on how this historic building can be renovated), it has two stories, and a white stucco exterior.
There’s a rumor that it was in a rather poor state. It had previously been divided into five staff apartments, so it needs some serious work to convert it into a suitable family home. Naturally, security around the cottage has been stepped up from a simple “Private” sign on the gate to a state-of-the-art security system including cameras.
No one is quite sure how many bedrooms will be included (although five seems likely) and it’s whispered that there may be a gym and yoga studio. But we do know that the Royal Lodge at Windsor has a superb playhouse, beloved by generations of royal children. And one thing is certain—there’s bound to be a nursery at Frogmore Cottage for the much-anticipated new arrival! And we have a few ideas about how they’ll decorate that nursery too!
RELATED: Royal family residences
Royal family residences
Royal family residences
We'll start at Buckingham Palace, the Queen's London home. Situated by St. James's Park, Buckingham Palace has been the monarch's official London residence since 1837. It has 775 rooms, including 52 bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh live here, along with The Duke of York, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Highlights at Buckingham Palace include the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place most days at 11:00 a.m., and the State Rooms that are open to the public every summer. Plus, there's a rumor that the ghost of a monk in a brown cloak haunts the back terrace!
Windsor Castle, situated just outside London, is the Queen's weekend retreat. It's the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Over 39 monarchs have used Windsor Castle as their residence. St George's Chapel is part of the castle and is the venue for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018.
The castle is open all year round—it has a world-famous Royal dollhouse!—and there are also talks, performances, and activities for kids.
In 1992, a fire at the castle caused over $50,000,000 in damage.
Sandringham House in Norfolk is one of the Queen's private residences. It was brought into the family in 1862 by the future Edward VII, although a fire in 1891 destroyed much of the original building. It's been passed down through the family into the Queen's ownership. The house itself stands within nearly 20,000 acres, with 60 acres of gardens. The rest is a park and uncultivated land, which is freely open to the public every day of the year.
The British royal family spends Christmas at Sandringham, traditionally walking to church on Christmas morning and meeting the local people.
Anmer Hall, a private residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is also part of the Sandringham estate.
Who wouldn't love to live in their own Scottish castle? Balmoral Castle is another of the Queen's private residences, situated in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Bought by Prince Albert as a gift for Queen Victoria in 1852, they built a new castle before demolishing the old one. Other royal residences on the grounds are: Birkhall (a residence of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall), Craigowan Lodge, and Delnadamph Lodge.
There are vacation cottages to rent on the estate, which also boasts a golf course and offers Landrover safaris of the surrounding countryside. But watch out for the ghost of John Brown, Queen Victoria's servant, who is said to roam the grounds at night wearing a kilt. (Don't miss these other royal ghosts still haunting Britain today!)
Owned by the Crown, Clarence House was home to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother for more 50 years. Designed by John Nash in 1825-27, it was built for George III's son Clarence, hence its name. But it's since undergone extensive remodeling to make it suitable for modern living.
Clarence House is attached to St. James's Palace and the two residences share the same gardens. Although other members of the British royal family visit, Clarence House is the official London residence of the Prince of Wales.
Originally bought by William III in 1689, Kensington Palace was the main residence for the British royal family until Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace. Queen Victoria was born and grew up here, and it was also Princess Diana's home.
Kensington Palace belongs to the Crown Estate, and is currently the official home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (along with Prince George and Princess Charlotte of course!), as well as Prince Harry. Historic parts of the building are open to the public, and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is housed here.
St. James's Palace
St James's Palace also belongs to the Crown, and has been a residence for the British royal family for more than 300 years. It was originally built by Henry VIII in 1531-36 and has been used continuously since then. Queen Victoria's wedding took place here.
On the death of a monarch, the Accession Council meets at St. James's Palace, and the official announcement of the new sovereign is also made from here. It's currently home to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra, when she's in London. The Princess Royal and her husband Sir Timothy Laurence also live here—their country residence is Gatcombe Park.
St James's Palace also hosts more than 100 charity events every year.
Palace of Holyrood House
Balmoral Castle is the Queen's private residence, but when she's in Scotland on an official visit, she stays at the Palace of Holyrood House. Situated at the end of Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile, it was founded first as a monastery in 1128. Rebuilt as a palace by James IV in 1501, this building has been the official residence of the monarchy in Scotland ever since.
Mary Queen of Scots lived most of her life here and it was the scene of the famous murder of David Rizzio, her private secretary, in her bedroom. Seven months pregnant, Mary witnessed the murder, and it's said that to this day, the blood stains can't be removed from the floor.
The Queen hosts around 4,000 visitors during the annual Holyrood Week in June, and the palace is open to the public all year round.
When visiting Northern Ireland, the British royal family stays at Hillsborough Castle in County Down. It's also the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. But its name is misleading! It's actually a Georgian country house built in the 18th century—the British government only bought it in 1922. Hillsborough Castle was the venue for several important negotiations during The Troubles, and it was here that the historic Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed, leading eventually to peace in Northern Ireland after decades of conflict.
Prince Charles is also Duke of Cornwall, so properties owned by the Duchy of Cornwall are currently used by him. He first moved into Highgrove House in Gloucestershire in 1980, and has transformed the house and gardens into a model of sustainability. The gardens are open to the public on selected dates.
There's a reed bed sewage system, a collection of rare trees and plants, and also a heritage seed project on site to preserve rare seeds for future generations. There are solar lights, energy-saving bulbs, a composting system, and the house is warmed using heat pumps.
The Duchy of Cornwall also owns two other properties for Prince Charles to use. Tamarisk is on the beautiful island of St. Mary's, one of the five inhabited islands in the Isles of Scilly. There are over 200 islands in the Scillies chain altogether, and the Duchy of Cornwall owns most of the land and around one-third of the houses. Tamarisk House is Prince Charles' official residence when he's in the Scillies, and when in Wales, the Prince of Wales' residence is Llwynywermod in Carmarthenshire.
The Scilly Isles are famous for their natural beauty and rare bird life. The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust manages the wildlife on the island. Their annual rent to the Duchy of Cornwall is one daffodil!
Birkhall, situated within the grounds of Balmoral Castle, is a private residence of the Prince of Wales. Built in 1715, it became Queen Victoria's when Prince Albert gifted her the Balmoral estate in 1849. It's since been passed through the family to the Queen Mother and then Queen Elizabeth in 2002.
The estate is famous for its beautiful scenery and country walks, as well as fishing and hunting. It's a popular holiday haunt for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Within the grounds, there's a beautiful thatched playhouse, built for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose when they were small, and since enjoyed by all the royal children.
Royal Lodge Windsor
Royal Lodge, Windsor (situated in Windsor Great Park), is leased by the Duke of York from the Crown, and was also home to the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie before they moved into St. James's Palace. This property also has a playhouse, built for Queen Elizabeth when she was six years old. Created by Welsh craftsmen, and given a Welsh name (Y Bwthyn Bach or The Little Cottage), the house has electricity and running water, as well as a gas stove.
Wren House is part of Kensington Palace. It stands a little to the north of the main palace and overlooks a beautiful walled garden. It's currently home to the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Bagshot Park was built within Windsor Great Park, and is leased from the Crown. It was built in 1879 as the main residence of Prince Arthur, Queen Victoria's son, and the design was influenced by Indian culture. Queen Victoria was also Empress of India at the time. Since 1998, the Earl of Wessex has leased Bagshot Park and has overseen extensive renovations on the property. It's now the official residence of the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Thatched House Lodge
Thatched House Lodge, in Richmond Park, is the residence of the Queen's cousin, Princess Alexandra. It's situated in one of the royal parks famous for its beautiful surroundings including wild deer, like those in this picture, taken in Richmond Park. Built in the 17th century, it also has a thatched summerhouse, a gardener's cottage, stables, and gardens.
Like every young couple, we’re sure that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will be putting their own stamp on the renovations, creating a lovely family cottage that’s the home of their dreams. Next, find out the royal rules Meghan Markle must follow now.