Why living in California could appeal to Prince Harry and Meghan

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 05: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan appear to be starting a new life in California. (Getty Images)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are reported to have moved to California where they are said to be setting up their base full time.

The couple, who finish their royal duties on 31 March, had touted Canada as their new home, but it’s understood that was not to be permanent.

A source told The Sun: “They realised Canada would not work out for various reasons and they want to be based in the Los Angeles area.

“They have a big support network there. It’s where their new team of Hollywood agents and PRs and business managers are based. Meghan has lots of friends there and, of course, her mum Doria.”

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With Meghan’s first job outside the Royal Family a voiceover on the small screen, there are many reasons - but some obstacles to jump - they might want to pick the west coast of the US to start their new life.

How California is dealing with coronavirus

California’s governor was the first to issue a stay-at-home order on 19 March as the US grappled with the disease.

Non-essential services like dine-in restaurants, bars and gyms have been closed, while essential services including grocery stores, food banks and delivery restaurants staying open.

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The order is not being enforced by police. Anyone who has to leave home is advised to practice social distancing.

In addition, the US and Canada agreed to close their land border on 20 March, meaning only those traveling for medical purposes, or to study or work can cross. The flow of goods is continuing, but traveling for tourism or recreation is banned.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 25:  Light traffic heads toward downtown on the 110 freeway in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan will have arrived in a quiet LA amid an order to stay at home. (Getty Images)

That means Harry and Meghan will have had a desperate scramble to get over to the US in time. US citizens, which Meghan is, are allowed to return home, but Harry may have had difficulties getting into the country with his wife.

They were already said to have been taking precautions while in Canada, having left Archie there when they came to the UK over coronavirus fears.

Prince Harry met Lewis Hamilton while in the UK, who had been with Idris Elba - who then revealed he had COVID-19.

But the Sussexes will have had to go straight into lockdown in California, as they arrived when the stay at home order was already issued.

Meghan’s support network

Meghan is from California, and though she spent much of her working life in Toronto, where Suits is filmed, she has a strong network in her home state.

Close friend Priyanka Chopra, who is married to Nick Jonas, lives in Los Angeles. The pair have worked together before and Chopra attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

An old picture of Meghan and Chopra on Chopra’s instagram account is captioned “Girls just wanna have fun”.

According to Variety, Chopra and Jonas spent $20m in November on a home in Encino, so that may be somewhere Harry and Meghan look to live too.

Meghan will also be close to Abigail Spencer, another fellow actor, who lives in LA. Spencer and Meghan have been friends for years, and starred in Suits together.

Spencer is reported to have spent time with the royal couple in Vancouver and went to their wedding.

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US actress Abigail Spencer and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra arrive for the wedding ceremony of Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHRIS JACKSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Abigail Spencer and Priyanka Chopra at Harry and Meghan's wedding. (Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 20: (L-R) Actors Abigail Spencer, Jordana Brewster, Meghan Markle and Sarah Hyland attend ELLE's 6th Annual Women in Television Dinner Presented by Hearts on Fire Diamonds and Olay at Sunset Tower on January 20, 2016 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for ELLE)
Actors Abigail Spencer, Jordana Brewster, Meghan Markle and Sarah Hyland in 2016. (Getty Images)

She showed People magazine around her house in Studio City last year.

Meghan might be able to catch up more frequently with her friend Heather Dorak, a pilates instructor who has studios across California.

Dorak is from San Antonio, Texas, and appears to be living there at the moment, but the pair met in California where they became firm friends. Dorak was even a contributor to Meghan’s blog The Tig.

Tennis professional Serena Williams also has a California home, currently living in a mansion in Beverly Hills. Williams and Meghan have been friends for a few years, and Meghan went to Wimbledon to watch her play.

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 13, 2019  Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Pippa Middleton in the Royal Box ahead of the final between Serena Williams of the U.S. and Romania's Simona Halep  REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Meghan watching Williams' 2019 final with Kate and Pippa Middleton. (Reuters)

Meghan also has a number of friends who have property in LA but don’t live there all the time. George and Amal Clooney have a “low-key” house in LA, because they spend most of their time in the UK or Italy.

And Oprah has a home in Santa Barbara, a huge estate dubbed “the promised land”.

Of course the key person Meghan will be pleased to be close to is her mother, Doria Ragland.

Ragland, who was the only member of Meghan’s family to attend their Windsor wedding, is a yoga instructor and former social worker who lives in LA with her pet dogs.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (C) arrives with her mother Doria Ragland (L) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex to host an event to mark the launch of a cookbook with recipes from a group of women affected by the Grenfell Tower fire at Kensington Palace on September 20, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Meghan is close to her mother Doria Ragland, who lives in LA. (Getty Images)

She’ll also maintain her friendships with Jessica Mulroney, who lives in Toronto, and Daniel Martin, who lives in New York.

Security concerns

When Harry and Meghan were living in Canada, it was part of its duty as a commonwealth country to pay for their security.

But the police there announced they would not be paying for this after 31 March, the date they step back from senior royal life.

It leaves a problem when it comes to how they are granted security. The couple has made it clear they want high level security because of their status as royals, but the bill would be a lot for the UK to foot.

However, the type of cover they will need is difficult for a commercial firm to cover.

Armed British police officers hold their weapons as they secure teh procession route outside of Windsor Castle ahead of the wedding and carriage procession of Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. (Photo by Frank Augstein / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANK AUGSTEIN/AFP via Getty Images)
British royals are usually protected by members of the Met Police. (Getty Images)

Alex Bomberg, chief executive of Intelligence Protection, told the Evening Standard: “From the off I think that it is important to look at what is and what is not possible or feasible in relation to commercial Close Protection for The Duke and Duchess. I cannot see how a commercial firm could provide them with armed Close Protection, there are far too many legal barriers.”

One option is that Prince Charles could step in and help pay. He already gave them about 95% of their annual income when they were working royals.

Another could see them follow Tony Blair’s lead - he pays towards protection from specialist officers when he carries out commercial activities.

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But they might have to find the money themselves to cover what could be extensive protection - including two officers each and all the related costs for international travel.

There are also intelligence concerns. Sharing information across borders when it comes to people of high status is not an easy task, and it’s likely to be beyond the remit of a typical commercial firm.

Conservative estimates suggest it will cost £3 million a year, but other suggestions indicate it could rocket to £20 million annually.

They’ve also been warned by a British paparazzo that they will be photographed a lot more - because LA photographers “don’t play by the rules”.

Hollywood and Stanford

Meghan’s first job in her life after royal duties could indicate she’ll be pleased to be back so close to Hollywood.

She’ll be back on the small screen narrating the Disneynature film Elephant, which will stream on Disney+ from 3 April.

It’s been reported she does not have any further movies or work in the pipeline with Disney. However, bosses of The Simpsons are keen to work with her, and she’s unlikely to be short of offers.

She and Harry also visited Stanford University while they were in North America. The university is close to California’s Silicon Valley.

There’s no doubt that there could be lots of opportunity for the couple to make their mark in the state.