It seems that in their bid to be the UK’s premier low-key, twenty-first century royals, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided to act like every other thirty-something couple and do battle (albeit very regally) with the British rental market. Though the newlyweds currently enjoy a very enviable domestic set-up courtesy of Her Majesty the Queen, living in the two-bed grace-and-favour property Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, new reports suggest that they’ve just leased a property in the Cotswolds.
According to Us Weekly, Harry and Meghan have signed a two-year lease on Westfield Large, a house on the Great Tew estate, which is just an hour and a half outside of London. While Kensington Palace will remain as the couple’s official residence, it’s long been rumoured that they’ll upgrade their comparatively tiny Palace property for a 21 bedroom apartment next to William and Kate. This, however, will require extensive renovation work – hence the need for a country bolthole for the weekends (clearly, they’ve learnt from Princess Margaret’s mistakes in the latter half of The Crown’s second season).
The Westfield property is a stone’s throw from A-list hangout Soho Farmhouse, where Meghan reportedly hosted her hen party back in March. The couple will also have some very high profile neighbours in the form of David and Victoria Beckham, who bought a £5 million barn house on the same Great Tew estate last year, and have since been carrying out renovations on the property.
Rumours that Harry and Meghan had set their sights on the Cotswolds – and the Great Tew estate in particular – first emerged back in January, when it was reported that the couple were interested in Beaconsfield Farm, a run-down farm house built on the site of an old Roman villa. But red herring Roman villas, Beckham connections and excellent spa links aside, surely the real coup here is the fact that the pair have managed to snag a two year lease in this tumultuous rental market?
NOW READ: Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Relationship Timeline
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
They were introduced by mutual friend Markus Anderson, who is the director of Soho House.
In October 2016, the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend.
On November 8th 2016, Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement which referring to Markle as Harry's girlfriend for the first time.
In the statement, Prince Harry condemned the 'wave of abuse and harrassment' faced by Markle, saying that he was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.'
'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,' the statement continued.
The couple were papped together for the first time in December 2016, shopping for a Christmas tree in London at the Pines and Needles store.
Later that week, they were seen on London's West End, catching a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
In February, Prince Harry wore a his 'n' hers bracelet on the cover of Town & Country magazine, just weeks after Markle was pictured wearing the same one on Instagram.
In March 2017, Meghan joined Prince Harry in the Caribbean for the wedding of his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip and Lara Hughes-Young.
It was the first time that Markle accompanied Harry to a wedding, marking another milestone occasion for the couple.
The first public event attended by the couple was the polo at Coworth Park in May 2017.
Later in May, Markle attended the party portion of Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Middelton.
Prince Harry was seen driving her to the event after the church ceremony.
The couple made their first official public appearance in September, when Markle attended the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games.
Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands Aritzia.
She teamed it with a matching burgundy biker jacket by Mackage.
Although Prince Harry was sat next to First Lady Melania Trump at the event, rather than his girlfriend, she was only seated a few rows behind him.
The couple were photographed together the following day at the wheelchair tennis.
Much was made of Markle's choice of outfit: ripped jeans and a white blouse called 'The Husband'.
The couple 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and appearing affectionate while at the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry reportedly spent time with Meghan's mother Doria while at the Games too.
The couple indulged in some PDA at the closing ceremony.
Prince Harry was photographed kissing Meghan.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan referred to Harry as her boyfriend numerous times, saying: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'
In late September 2017, it was reported that Meghan had met the Queen, prompting speculation that the relationship was getting serious.
In early November 2017, it was reported that Meghan Markle was leaving Suits after seven series.
In mid-November 2017, bookies suspending betting on an impending royal engagement, as speculation grew that an announcement was about to be made.
On November 27th 2017, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating.
The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label. The website has subsequently crashed.
The engagement ring, by Cleave and Company, was reportedly designed by Prince Harry himself, using two stones that belonged to Princess Diana.
When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!'