After they tie the knot at Windsor Castle on May 19th, it seems that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can expect a wedding gift like no other from a certain royal grandmother, as there’s a high likelihood that the Queen will bestow a stately home upon the happy couple following their marriage – though they might have a wait on their hands.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given Anmer Hall, a Georgian country house on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, two years after their 2011 wedding and shortly before the birth of their first child Prince George. Originally intended as a country property for Kate and William following a £1.5 million renovation project, the couple took up permanent residence there for four years, eventually moving back to Kensington Palace full time in September 2017 ahead of George’s first day at school. So, can we expect Her Majesty to be similarly bountiful on the occasion of her other grandson’s wedding?
‘Her Majesty gifted William and Kate Anmer Hall. I’m not certain how many other homes are on the Sandringham Estate but I wouldn’t be surprised if one was gifted to Harry and Meghan, especially given the fact that the royals spend Christmas at Sandringham,’ royal expert Kelly Lynch told the Express.
‘I will say that having homes near one another at Sandringham wouldn’t surprise me, since William and Harry are very close and I’m sure would want their children to grow up together,’ she added. York Cottage, which is currently used as the estate’s office, has been singled out by the paper as a potential home for the couple that would keep them near to William, Kate and the children, though the Sandringham estate encompasses 11 villages and over 150 residential, commercial and agricultural properties (per the official website), so they’d certainly be spoiled for choice. Meghan might be heartened to learn, too, that though the estate operates a strict ‘no cats’ policy, dogs will be considered on a house by house basis.
Another potential option for Harry and Meghan – and one which would keep them closer to London – would be a Windsor residence, given that the area will soon acquire a special significance for the couple. ‘I wouldn’t rule out any available homes in Windsor, as that will be where Harry and Meghan will wed,’ Lynch added.
It was previously reported that Harry and Meghan were house-hunting in the Cotswolds, with their eyes on a property close to Soho Farmhouse, where they holidayed in the early stages of their relationship.
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!'