“The neighborhood of large homes and estates Harry and Meghan have chosen is ‘off the beaten path,’ so to speak, and is reached via charming country-like roads often intersected by private lanes,” Cristal Clarke, a luxury property specialist for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, exclusively told Us Weekly on August 14. “Because of the sizes and values of the neighborhood’s luxury properties, security is quite robust and responsive.”
Clarke continued, “The community of Montecito itself is nature-like with its abundance of majestic, mature trees and lush public and private landscaping. Its location, nestled against the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, provides convenient access to numerous hiking trails. There are private equestrian boarding and riding facilities nearby as well, and pristine beaches are mere minutes away.”
The realtor noted that Montecito is “one of the safest and most family-friendly communities” to reside within since many of the homes are “surrounded by security fencing, entered via gated driveways and secluded from view by tall hedges and other lush landscaping.” It will also be a great environment to raise the duo’s 15-month-old son, Archie, because Montecito boasts “award-winning private and public schools, as well as parks and all the family-friendly services and dining a young family needs.”
Additionally, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wouldn’t have to worry about being the “buzz” of the town. California’s Montecito neighborhood has served as the full-time or part-time home to “numerous” influential figures over the years, including Ellen DeGeneres and Rob Lowe. A lot of the high-profile names who reside within the area “prefer the anonymity the exclusive community affords” them.
“Montecito residents are accustomed to having high-profile neighbors and visitors, and many of those residents can relate first-hand to overzealous attention,” Clarke explained. “In other words, you might say the new neighbors will be welcomed warmly, yet with ‘respectful congeniality.’”
After stepping down from their senior royal positions and earlier this year, the twosome made the move from the U.K. to Canada. Us later confirmed that they eventually made their way to Meghan’s native California, where they were initially taking up shelter at Tyler Perry’s Los Angeles-area mansion.
Variety reported on August 12 that Harry, 35, and Meghan, 39, quietly bought a $14.65 million home in June from Russian businessman Sergey Grishin. The sale, however, came at a loss for Grishin, 54, since he purchased the residence in 2009 for $25.3 million.
The duo took out a $9.5 million mortgage to secure the 18,671-square-foot property, which also boasts nine bedrooms and 16 bathrooms. “Harry could’ve asked [Prince] Charles to contribute toward the cost of the house, but he chose not to,” an insider exclusively told Us. “Getting his dad financially involved would result in the royals having control over him. It would mean going backwards.”
Meanwhile, a separate source told Us that the Suits alum and British Army vet are “converting one of the guesthouses into a home for [Meghan’s mom] Doria [Ragland], who plans to split her time between L.A. and Montecito.”
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe