‘Impossible’ that Frogmore Cottage eviction not reaction to Spare, expert says
King Charles III’s decision to request the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to “vacate” their UK residence cannot be seen as anything other than a reaction to the release of Prince Harry’s memoir, a royal expert has said.
A representative for the Sussexes confirmed on Wednesday night (1 March) that Harry and Meghan Markle were asked to leave Frogmore Cottage, which was gifted to them by the late Queen Elizabeth II after their wedding in 2018.
It has been reported that the King has instead offered the keys to the 10-bedroom property to the disgraced Duke of York, a move that sources say have “stunned” the Sussexes.
A royal expert has told The Independent that it is “impossible to believe this isn’t” the monarch reacting to his youngest son’s controversial memoir Spare, which was released in January.
RS Locke, a freelance writer and royal commentator, pointed to reports that Harry and Meghan were asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage “within days of the book’s release”.
She said that in her opinion: “Evicting the Sussex family from Frogmore Cottage is transparently punitive and King Charles wanted the couple and the public to know it.”
Nigel Cawthorne, who authored the 2020 book Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and The Palace, added that the King’s move signals that he “clearly… does not want Harry and Meghan coming back to this country”.
He told The Independent: “Charles, William and Camilla can hardly [have] been happy with the pasting they got in Spare. Harry is threatening another chapter or two and has let it be known that, if necessary, he has another 400 pages in his back pocket.”
Royal commentator and celebrity manager Mayah Riaz agreed that the decision to “evict” Harry and Meghan from Frogmore “shows that King Charles is making a clear break” from the couple. She added that, given the timing of the news, “one can only assume it is [Charles’] response to Spare, without verbally giving a response to the public”.
Harry, Meghan and Andrew are all no longer working members of the royal family. The Sussexes stepped down in 2020 in order to become financially independent and move to the US, while Andrew stepped down in 2019 over his ties to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew was accused of sexually abusing Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre when she was underage and has vehemently denied all allegations. He reached a multi-million pound settlement with Giuffre last year to stop the case from proceeding to a civil trial.
The duke is said to be “resisting” a move to Frogmore Cottage, as it would mean leaving his current residence at Royal Lodge, where he has lived for nearly 20 years.
Cawthorne said: “For Andrew to move out of Royal Lodge and into Frogmore Cottage is a demotion.
“He can, of course, dig his heels in and refuse to move. Then Charles will have to send the bailiffs in,” he speculated.
Riaz added that previous reports suggested Andrew had been trying to make his “comeback” into public life, but moving out of Royal Lodge would show “this is now not possible for him”.
She also suggested that, since Queen Elizabeth II has died, the duke is now “unable to get favourite child privileges from his brother, the King”.
The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.