Even if you’re not an avid royal watcher, you’ve certainly heard by now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are stepping away from their official duties in order to live a new life away from dear old England. And for the time being, they’re also stepping into a new home: a gorgeous $14 million mansion on Vancouver Island in Canada!
According to the Mirror, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are settling in at a 10,000-square-foot estate on the Saanich Inlet in British Columbia. Known as Mille Fleurs (“thousand flowers” in French), it is reportedly owned by a Russian oligarch.
The estate features eight bedrooms, a wine room, double-height living room, and game room with wet bar. For late-night snacks, the home comes equipped with a pizza oven, and the royals can snuggle up on cool Canadian nights by the 17th-century fireplace imported from France.
The outbuildings include a summer house and a 2,000-square-foot guest cottage, which means there’s ample room for Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, who will be a big help with uber-adorable baby Archie during her visits.
Why Meghan and Harry chose Canada as their new home
For a while, it seemed as if the couple might pick a home in sunny California, but the Great White North won out in the end (it’s part of the British Commonwealth, after all). There’s no word yet on whether they plan to purchase this property or simply rent it and try the area out.
When Harry and Meghan are back in the United Kingdom, they’ll continue to drop their bags at Frogmore Cottage. And while their Canadian digs appear to be a bit more modest than Frogmore, in many ways, experts say, it’s actually better than the old pad.
For one, it’s surrounded by mountains, miles of hiking trails, lakes, glaciers, and waterfalls. Vancouver Island is home to whales, harbor seals, and temperate weather that beats the reliable drizzle they’re escaping in England.
And although this house might ooze Old World charm, it’s actually not so old.
“The house is built in the style of a European estate, and it’s only 10 years old, so it should have all the major amenities the couple require without needing to upgrade other than personal preferences,” says Reba Haas, a real estate agent with Team Reba at Re/Max Metro Eastside in Seattle.
“This place is definitely right for the royal couple,” says Jeanine Boiko, a real estate agent with Exit Realty Dreams in Massapequa, NY. “Talk about pomp and circumstance!”
Canada makes great sense for Meghan personally, as she lived in Toronto for six years while working on the TV series “Suits” and she has close friends in the same city.
Plus, “Meghan and Harry are near Victoria and also just a helicopter ride away from the city of Vancouver with access to flights all over the world,” says Haas.
And Harry might feel surprisingly at home here, too.
“I bet this part of the world feels like where Harry grew up,” says Haas. “And it’s certainly got some of the most stunning landscapes you can find.”
How Meghan and Harry will maintain their privacy
The massive estate sits on acreage that juts into Saanich Inlet, which is about 30 miles north of Victoria, British Columbia’s capital. The entrance is gated, of course, and security cameras surround the property. Meghan and Harry took additional privacy measures by covering the bars of the front gate with a tarp. However, Haas points out, “they’ll likely have to deal with drones near this property.”
Another exposed area is the waterfront: “There’s water on three sides, which might present privacy problems as the paparazzi could intrude by boat, ” says Boiko.
That said, water has its upsides, too. “From a security point of view, it’s excellent,” Boiko adds. “If the beach has limited access, it’s definitely safer. And living in Canada means they’ll probably have fewer people bugging them than if they had chosen the U.S.”
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