The history of Frogmore Cottage, Harry and Meghan’s new home

From early 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will take up residence in Frogmore Cottage, a Grade II listed two-storey, stucco-faced house sitting in the north of the Frogmore Estate on the Windsor Estate.

The estate is the site of Frogmore House, a beautiful 17th century manor which has been a royal residence since 1792, which was where Harry and Meghan had their evening reception after their wedding in May.

The house was built from 1680 to 1684 by Charles II architect Hugh May on the estates of Great and Little Frogmore, which were bought by Henry VIII in the 16th century and let to various tenants.

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The name comes from the high number of frogs which live in the low-lying marshy area, which is set within a long sweeping curve of the River Thames.

The lease passed through many hands until 1792 when Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, purchased it to use the house as a country retreat for her and her daughters.

It later became the home of the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria’s mother, who is laid to rest in a mausoleum in the grounds.

Duke of Sussex moves into Frogmore Cottage
Duke of Sussex moves into Frogmore Cottage

Frogmore House was repaired, restored and redecorated in the 1980s, revealing lost early 18th-century wall paintings by Louis Laguerre illustrating scenes from Virgil’s Aeneid.

From Queen Charlotte’s time in residence, there is the the Mary Moser Room – painted for her by the celebrated flower artist with sprays and garlands of brightly coloured flowers.

The Duchess of Kent’s lilac-coloured sitting room is recreated as accurately as possible from how it appears in old photographs from 1861.

Buildings and Landmarks – Frogmore House – Berkshire
Buildings and Landmarks – Frogmore House – Berkshire

There is also the Britannia Room where, following the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht in 1997, the Duke of Edinburgh arranged a selection of items to reflect the interior of the much-loved vessel.

The winding lakes, wooded mounds, glades, walks and bridges around the Grade I listed building were laid out in the 1790s, and include a summerhouse designed as a Gothic ruin.

The grounds include the Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the Royal Burial Ground where Harry’s great great uncle, the abdicated King Edward VIII, is buried with his wife Wallis Simpson – later Duchess of Windsor.