Meghan and Harry have quietly moved up the coast, buying a home in the Santa Barbara area, sources told The Times.
Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle have purchased a home in the heart of Montecito, according to people familiar with the matter who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Tabloids first reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were relocating to the exclusive, celebrity-filled coastal community tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains — but offered few details.
Area real estate agents point to a $14.65-million estate, which closed in an off-market sale in June. Tax records for the 7-acre property, which was listed last year for $34 million, match limited liability companies previously created by the Duchess of Sussex, according to records obtained by The Times.
Built in 2003, the sprawling estate is hedged and gated from the street and reached by a winding drive paved with hand-cut, locally sourced stone. Beyond the vine-covered entry is a coffered-ceiling living room, a billiards/game room, a home theater, spa facilities, an elevator and a gym.
There are nine bedrooms in the roughly 14,500-square-foot main house. A two-bedroom guesthouse, a teahouse, a tennis court, a swimming pool and a custom jungle gym are among amenities on-site.
The seller was a limited liability company tied to Russian investor Sergey Grishin, records show. Grishin is the former owner of another Montecito mansion, the so-called Scarface estate.
The move wraps up a yearlong saga for the royal couple, which kicked off in January when the pair announced they would “step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and become financially independent.”
Vowing to split time between Britain and North America, they cited space to raise their son Archie, who was born in May 2019, as a primary reason for the highly scrutinized move.
They spent the first few months of the year on Vancouver Island, Canada, reportedly living in a French-inspired mansion worth roughly $14 million, with plans to eventually move to L.A. The coronavirus outbreak accelerated those plans, and in March, they moved temporarily into Tyler Perry’s place in Beverly Hills to quarantine.
Spanning 22 acres in Beverly Ridge Estates, the dramatic Tuscan-style estate holds eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms — a bit bigger than their new place in Montecito.
However, the retreat didn’t bring the privacy they were hoping for. In July, Harry and Meghan filed a harassment lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court, alleging that unnamed paparazzi were flying drones overhead and cutting holes in the fence to photograph their family.
Compared with densely packed L.A., Montecito and the neighboring communities of Santa Barbara and Hope Ranch have long served as a quiet, scenic, spread-out haven for those who can afford it.
There’s a price for privacy, however. Zillow puts Montecito’s median home value at $3.276 million, more than quadruple L.A.'s median home value of $752,000.
Over the years, celebrity residents in the area have included Beach Boys member Mike Love, “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli and actor Rob Lowe, who put his 3.4-acre estate in Montecito on the market for $47 million in 2018. Jeff Bridges sold his vineyard estate there for $15.9 million in 2017, and this summer, Ellen DeGeneres sold an English Tudor-style house to pop star Ariana Grande for $6.75 million.
Oprah is perhaps the area’s most famous owner. She dropped $50 million on a 42-acre spread known as the “Promised Land” in 2001 and has since been snatching up properties across the community, including a nearby horse farm that she bought at auction for $28.95 million in 2015.