It’s official! After weeks and months of house hunting in just about every posh neighborhood in the Los Angeles area, the ex-royals have bought a mansion on the down low for $14,650,000.
According to the New York Post, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle inked the deal several weeks ago to almost no fanfare. But the bigger news? They didn’t choose the glitz and glamour of a swanky neighborhood like Beverly Hills or Brentwood.
Instead, the couple headed north—to Santa Barbara—and the digs they’ve selected are fabulous indeed, befitting the worldly pair and their 1-year-old son, Archie.
“This is the first home either of them has ever owned,” a source told the Post. “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.”
Inside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new home
Harry and Meghan’s house is reportedly in the neighborhood of Montecito. Their 18,000-square-foot mansion has nine bedrooms and 16 baths, plus a pool and tennis court. Other outdoor amenities are straight out of a fairy tale—think rose gardens, an olive grove, and a teahouse.
And for Harry and Meghan’s sweet toddler? There’s a children’s cottage right on the property to play in, plus there’s a two-bedroom guest cottage for his grandmother Doria Raglund when she comes to visit.
Sure, the home is amazing, but they could afford a sweet pad anywhere. Why Santa Barbara? Numerous real estate experts say this town was a smart choice, and the sky-high home prices reflect just how desirable the area is.
“Santa Barbara is an absolutely beautiful coastal town with insanely high home values,” adds Tyler Drew, CEO of Anubis Properties in Los Angeles. “If I were Harry and Meghan, I’d move there, too.”
Why Harry and Meghan settled in Santa Barbara
Just 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is home to many celebrities seeking to avoid the often unwelcome attention they might get in L.A.
“It’s where the ultrawealthy elites move when they no longer need the spotlight to validate their lives,” says Odest T. Riley Jr., CEO of WLM Financial, a real estate brokerage firm in Inglewood, CA.
In fact, if the ex-royals fancy a trip to the local Santa Barbara farmers market, “no one will look twice to see who they are,” he adds.
Plus, although it’s close to L.A., “Santa Barbara is relatively secluded for L.A.-adjacent towns, and it’s just not easy to get to—no one casually drives through—and its higher-end residential sections like Montecito are even less accessible,” adds Drew. “If the couple were to live in L.A., every photographer in town would be parked down their street only to go home to their apartments at night—but this isn’t really possible in Santa Barbara.”
Given the couple’s run-ins with paparazzi in L.A., it makes sense they’d find Santa Barbara a welcome relief.
“The traffic, congestion, hype, and attention of living in L.A. likely had zero appeal to Harry and Meghan,” says Cara Ameer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Los Angeles. “This spot is a much quieter, quaint community; plus it’s understated and uber-wealthy, with a combination of new and old money.”
What the homes in Santa Barbara are like
In terms of the kind of home that Harry and Meghan were shopping for, Santa Barbara had a lot more to offer than L.A., too.
“There are loads of sprawling estates with a lot of land and space between properties and, of course, they’re all behind gates,” says Ameer.
“Most of the homes here are either secluded multimillion-dollar bungalows or huge ocean-view mini mansions,” says Drew.
Privacy aside, Santa Barbara also checks all the right boxes for those seeking old-world charm: It’s surrounded by wine country, boasts award-winning cuisine, and offers a Mediterranean climate.
“It’s no wonder Santa Barbara is a choice spot for many European tourists and Hollywood royalty since the 1900s,” says Drew.
Meghan and Harry’s neighborhood of Montecito, in particular, has low-key charm in spades.
“There’s one main street where most of the shops and restaurants are, and the rest of the roads have very quaint signage,” says Ameer.
But beware of Mother Nature. “This area is also infamous for catching fire and being in the middle of mudslides,” Drew says.
Celebrities who live in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara’s proximity to L.A., combined with its inaccessibility, make it the perfect home for a number of A-list celebrities. Here are a few who’ve called this area home.
Harry and Meghan are already close friends with Oprah Winfrey, so they’re likely excited to be neighbors.
Winfrey’s expansive ocean-view Montecito estate is worth close to $90 million, which includes the original $50 million “starter” home on 40 acres with six bedrooms, purchased in 2001, plus an extra 23 acres snapped up in 2015 for $29 million. Oh, and she also purchased longtime neighbor Jeff Bridges‘ home last year for $6.85 million.
Serial house flipper Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, have lived in a half-dozen properties of late, including one in Montecito: a 10,000-square-foot mansion that was recently listed for $45 million. It features six bedrooms, six baths, plus stone terraces, fountains, statuary, a tennis court, and a gorgeous pool.
Rob Lowe also calls the Montecito section of Santa Barbara home. His 10,000-square-foot digs—recently listed for sale for $42.5 million—has six bedrooms, 11 baths, a professional theater, and a home gym. And outside he can stroll past a koi pond on the way to the tennis court, pool, and two-bedroom guesthouse.