What sort of wedding gift does the Queen of England get for the couple who has everything? A Grade II-listed mansion of course. According to The Daily Mail, the Queen has gifted Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to the newlyweds, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But this isn't the first time the monarch has bequeathed a sizeable property to a grandchild to celebrate their nuptials. In 2013, the BBC reports that she gifted Anmer Hall in Norfolk to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. So how do the two gifts compare? Let's check out the facts.
Prince Harry and Meghan's new home was built in 1831 for Queen Adelaide, the wife of King William IV, and counts Captain Peter Townsend among its former residents, according to the Mail. Townsend was equerry to and a close confidante of King George VI, and is famed for his ill-fated love affair with Princess Margaret, which is played out in Season 1 of Netflix series The Crown.
Anmer Hall meanwhile has a similarly illustrious history: it was bought by Queen Victoria's eldest son in 1896, who went on to become King Edward VII. This may have seemed fitting for the Queen when selecting a home for Prince William – her eldest grandchild and second in line to the throne, who will someday succeed to the crown.
Adelaide Cottage is situated in the grounds of Windsor Home Park, not far from St George's Chapel, where the couple got married in May. According to the Mail, the house is close to the Queen and Prince Philip's private apartments and the Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park — a place perhaps regularly visited by the polo-playing Prince. Crucially the property is only 25 miles from central London, meaning the delights of the city are not too far away for Harry and his new bride.
Contrastingly, Kate and Will's Norfolk residence sits approximately 120 miles outside of London on the Sandringham Estate in a tiny hamlet, which, according to Hello!, boasts not even a pub to its name. At the time this location made sense thanks to the Duke's working commitments — he was an air ambulance pilot stationed in East Anglia — but perhaps the difference in location here is indicative of the Queen's awareness of the inherent differences between her two granddaughters-in-law. While Meghan was born and raised in Los Angeles and is used to the hustle and bustle of thriving city life, Kate grew up in a small village in Berkshire and has always looked most at home when walking her dog in the countryside.
Of course the remoteness of both properties is also crucial to the family enjoying the privacy they crave, and would have been of particular consideration for William and Kate who were expecting Prince George at the time. According to Vogue.com, Anmer Hall is heavily protected from prying eyes by rows of trees and there is even a no-fly zone above the property. Privacy is of paramount importance to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, too; a source told the Daily Mail that Adelaide Cottage has "seven gated entrances and exits to Windsor Castle so the newlyweds could come and go without worrying about being photographed."
The Duchess of Sussex has proven that she has exquisite — and at times expensive — tastes, so the interiors of Adelaide Cottage should suit her down to the ground. The Daily Mail reports that the property's elaborate decor includes a ceiling in the master bedroom covered with gilded dolphins and a rope decoration taken from a 19th-century royal yacht, and a marble Graeco-Egyptian fireplace.
William and Catherine meanwhile, had a fair bit of work to do before they moved into their new stately home. According to Hello!, the pair spent a whopping £1.5 million on refurbishing the property, including installing a new garden room and rerouting the driveway to allow for more parking space. The same report mentions that Kate oversaw the bulk of the refurbishment, creating a home fit to house two future kings of England.
Giving the Duchess a blank canvas on which to unleash her creativity may have been a deliberate move on the part of the Queen, who will be aware of Kate's artistic and creative background (she studied History of Art at university and is a keen photographer). Reportedly home to ten bedrooms alongside a swimming pool and tennis court, the house is also perfect for accommodating the Cambridges' expanding family, which would no doubt have been a consideration for the Queen at the time, with Catherine expecting her first child.
As all fans of The Crown will know, Queen Elizabeth is nothing if not a savvy operator, and her reported choice of wedding gift for her two eldest grandsons proves above all else that she has taken considerations to ensure each couple gets the home that suits them best. Oh, to be royal.