When Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle wed in mid May, they’ll have some of the most talented creatives designing flower arrangements, clothing and décor for the big day. But after the ceremony, where will the happy couple spend their time? And, more importantly, how will they decorate their quarters?
We did some diligent digging, including studying Markle's shuttered lifestyle blog, The Tig, and called in an expert on all things Meghan to find out. Here's what you can expect from Meghan and Harry’s life at home.
1. THEY'LL SAY GOODBYE TO NOTT COTT
Prince Harry and Markle currently live in Nottingham Cottage, or “Nott Cott,” where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lived for two years before moving to a larger apartment in Kensington Palace. Nott Cott is widely regarded as the royal family’s “starter home.” The cottage is on the grounds of Kensington Palace, and boasts two bedrooms, a bathroom and small garden and is all of 1300 square feet. It reportedly has ceilings so low that Prince William needed to slouch to avoid bumping his head. But don’t expect the couple to live in Nott Cott for long: renovation has already begun on a the 21-room Apartment 1 at Kensington Palace that the soon-to-be newlyweds are expected to move into. (The apartment is currently occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.) The couple will also be exchanging their current royal neighbors, Princess Eugenie and fiancé Jack Brooksbank, for their new neighbors, Will and Kate and their adorable family live in Apartment 1A. No word yet as to whether Harry will bring along his hammock from Nottingham Cottage.
2. EXPECT MODERNITY AND A MONOCHROME COLOR PALETTE
Amanda Dishaw, editorial director of ultimate fan blog Meghan’s Mirror, doesn’t think Meghan will abandon the California-girl aesthetic that the former actress used in her Toronto apartment for a dose of sunshine. Meghan credits her sunny decor with helping her survive "seven Canadian winters," so we think she'll bring it across the ocean to brighten dreary English days.
“I think she’s sticking to her muted colors, the monochromatic uniform of style she’s known for,” says Dishaw. “She’ll embrace that for no other reason than there’s so much in her life that’s changing right now.” Meghan’s Instagram has been wiped, but in cached versions of the photos, it’s easy to see that she values simplicity. Every room in her Toronto apartment was decorated in shades of beige, cream and white, with the main pops of color coming from stacks of books, rows of designer shoes, or vases of fresh flowers. Also notable? A heavy mix of high and low-price items. “We might see an IKEA rug with a dog curled up on it, underneath a priceless painting,” says Dishaw. “Meghan knows what she likes, and she’ll sort through all different brands and price points to find it.”
3. THEY'LL PRIZE COMFORT OVER FUSSINESS
One thing that’s clear from Meghan’s writing on her dearly-departed lifestyle blog, The Tig: she loves a good staycation. In one post, Meghan encouraged fans to make the most of their relaxing days at home by turning off technology and doing a “mental detox.” To escape the stress of palace life, Meghan will likely decorate the cottage with comfy cushions (as seen in her Toronto apartment), and “perfectly crisp and ironed sheets,” which she says make any home feel like a “boutique hotel.” Dishaw agrees that Meghan’s number-one focus will be comfort. “Meghan is very much a homebody,” says Dishaw. “I think that’s what Harry enjoys about her. The elements we saw in her Toronto apartment—cashmere throws on the beds, the high thread count bedsheets—those elements will still come over to the Kensington Palace apartment."
4. THEY’LL HAVE A COUNTRY GETAWAY
It seems like the new couple’s wedding gift from the Queen will be country property York Cottage. The picturesque Sandringham estate has been a royal getaway since 1862, and the Queen spends every Christmas at the property with her family. Dishaw guesses that Meghan will keep the décor at York Cottage more traditional to match the air of antiquity.
“I imagine you’ll see fresh bouquets paired with vintage pieces when you walk into the country home,” she says. “Meghan loves vintage shopping, so you’ll probably see pieces with a lot of history to them, like big sailing trunks and heirlooms.” Dishaw also says that Harry will probably be more involved in the design of the country home, since he’s spent so much of his life with family there. Meghan will probably follow suit and log plenty of hours in York Cottage: on The Tig, she once wrote that her perfect escape is to go “completely off the grid.” If you're a royal fanatic, you may visit the Sandringham estate yourself by visiting the free, public Country Park on the property.
5. SHE PROBABLY WON’T USE KATE’S DECORATOR
The Royal Family doesn’t have a designated decorator, but Ben Pentreath, based in London, helped Kate design her residences, and worked on other royal homes as well. However, don’t expect Meghan to call Pentreath when she’s ready to decorate. “The great part about Meghan is that she’s authentic in who she is and what she likes, so I’m not sure that she’ll need to hire the same designer as the family,” says Dishaw. She guesses Meghan will take a more modern approach to her royal quarters than other members of the family, since she’s not afraid to break tradition.
6. THE KITCHEN IS DECKED OUT ALREADY
Meghan has a well-documented love of food, so no matter how many employees the Royal Family has at its disposal, she’ll probably still have the latest and greatest technology in her kitchen. In one interview with Athena Calderone, of the food and design blog EyeSwoon, Meghan explains that her love of cooking started in childhood, when she learned “how connective food could be—how happy people would be when I walked in with a tray of perfect crudités.” And of course, the kitchen in Nottingham Cottage holds happy memories—it's the spot where Harry proposed— so we know they used the kitchen to roast chicken, at the very least. “I imagine she’s already started outfitting the kitchen with high-end tools,” says Dishaw.
7. THEY’LL DEFINITELY BE GARDENING
Between her passion for cooking and her affinity for fresh flowers, Meghan is never going to be far from nature. In the country home and Kensington Palace cottage, Meghan will probably have formidable gardens. We see her growing fresh herbs and vegetables for cooking, and relax outside just like in her Toronto home. “After all, she can’t pop out to Whole Foods and pick up groceries,” says Dishaw. “Meghan wants to be calm, quiet and comfortable, and have space to do that. She loves to take organic, natural ingredients and make things to serve at get-togethers.”