It is in Montecito that the Sussex are living their California dream! Some locals say they have seen Harry walking along the beach. But most of the time, they remain confined to their home on their property called “The Castle”. New life!
The couple was convinced to move to Montecito, almost two hours by car from Hollywood. A small town of less than 10,000 inhabitants located northwest of Los Angeles and nicknamed the American Riviera. A promise of happy days… Here, the sun shines almost every day.
No fog, this dense, typically British fog that makes your blood run cold. No dustbins overflowing with rubbish. Here, everything is clean, sanitized, reassuring. In wide streets, you jog safely, you walk your dog peacefully. We are in the very residential neighbourhood of Riven Rock, only seven minutes from the city centre and considered one of the most affluent places in the United States.
According to Forbes magazine, 21 of America’s 100 most influential personalities own property in the area. And it’s only natural that Prince Harry and his wife have resided here since August.
The Californian dream
The new property of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is located exactly at 765 Riven Rock Road. To reach it, one has to take a path, hidden behind a large gate whose code is reserved for the residents of the impasse only. Called “The Castle”, it is the first house on the left side of the road. When we get there, the gate is open. A miracle.
It is the only day of the week when the gardeners come to mow the lawn and collect the dead leaves. It all makes sense. Equipped with several surveillance cameras, the property seems impassable. A bunker. Behind its thick walls, the villa has 9 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a tennis court, a swimming pool, a gym, a cinema room and another spacious guest house.
It is said to be mainly reserved for Meghan’s mother Doria, who often plays the role of nanny for their son, Archie. Acquired, according to several testimonies, for the sum of 12 million euros, experts in California real estate estimate that the royal couple got a good deal for a property initially estimated at 28 million euros.
Harry more recognisable than Meghan
“Their arrival in the region is undoubtedly something beneficial for the property market and we have noticed that prices are gradually starting to rise,” says Cristal Clarke, manager of the Montecito Estate agency. “You know, Montecito really is a wonderful place. We have a lot of celebrities living in the area and they all chose this area for its tranquility.
Henry Koltys won’t tell us otherwise! This lawman is none other than one of Harry and Meghan’s new neighbours. During his daily walk, he explains to us why nothing should change despite the presence of the Sussex in the neighbourhood.
“I have been living in this city since 2015 and, for me, nothing has changed despite their arrival. It is an extremely discreet city that protects and respects the privacy of its inhabitants.
I don’t know their motivation in their decision to come here, but I guess one of the factors was to protect and preserve their privacy. There are always helicopters flying over this area but I don’t think their coming has really had an impact on the neighbourhood. Each inhabitant respects the privacy of the others simply because they want their privacy to be respected”.
A passerby named Jennifer, also a Montecito resident, is having a hard time hiding her enthusiasm: “Everyone here is talking about Prince Harry and Meghan. It’s often the topic of conversation in all the local businesses.
The permanent presence of helicopters above our heads is proof of how much the situation has changed since their arrival. The presence of paparazzi also shows that they are all looking for the couple”.
While rumors are circulating that Montecito merchants and residents are getting tired of the media circus around Meghan and Harry, the city’s main grocery store owner, Leslie Person Ryan says, “This year, there’s a lot more interest in Montecito.
I have learned that more and more people want to come and live here since the arrival of the Duke and Duchess. I’m starting to hear people say they have seen them in different places in the region.
Harry is more recognizable than Meghan and has difficulty hiding, unlike Meghan who is more able to blend in. Some people tell me that they saw Harry briefly at the beach, others confirm that they saw them on their way to a dinner party… People are gradually starting to see them”.
So it was here in this golden city for billionaires that Sussex celebrated the end of the year celebrations. In very small groups. A new era for Harry. One in which he has to reinvent himself. Not an easy one…
Photo credits : Backgrid USA / Bestimage