The deeper meaning behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to renew Frogmore lease

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Despite living in California since 2020, when they stepped down as senior working royals, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle haven't entirely closed the door on life in the UK. In fact, earlier this week the pair renewed their lease on Frogmore Cottage, which was due to expire on 31 March, according to The Telegraph.

To recap, before leaving the UK to settle down in the US, Harry and Meghan lived together at Frogmore Cottage on the Queen's Windsor Estate. They moved into the house just weeks before their son Archie Harrison was born in 2019, moving out the following year. Since then, Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie, her husband Jack Brooksbank and their son August have lived at the house, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex still have the lease, for one very important reason.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

By keeping the lease at Frogmore Cottage, Harry is allowed to stay on as one of the Queen's Counsellors of State. As for what this actually means, by law, should the Queen be temporarily unable to carry out her duties (whether that's due to illness or being out of the country) then her Counsellors of State can step in.

The Counsellors of State are made up of the sovereign's spouse (which would have been the late Prince Philip) and the next four people in the line of succession, counting only those who are over the age of 21. These are, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew (although, it's possible he could be stripped of the role, given his recent legal battle with Virginia Giuffre).

But, Counsellors of State must be "domiciled" in the UK – meaning they have a permanent home here. As such, by renewing his lease on Frogmore Cottage, Harry is legally permitted to step into this role if the Queen sees fit.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Despite all of this, Harry has made it clear that he has some serious concerns when it comes to returning to the UK, emphasising that he doesn't feel his family, which now includes eight-month-old Lilibet, are safe. In fact, the Duke of Sussex is currently seeking a judicial review of the Home Office's refusal to allow him to privately fund police protection for himself and his family when they're in the UK.

A legal representative for Prince Harry confirmed that he wants his wife and children to be safe in the UK, but that it's too dangerous without adequate police protection, "Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life," a statement from his legal team read. "The UK will always be Prince Harry's home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk."

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