Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are ‘Not Part of the Community’ in Montecito Despite Duke’s Claim, California Journalist Insists

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to the town of Montecito located in Santa Barbara County in the summer of 2021. They purchased a home situated on five acres of land with 16 bathrooms, nine bedrooms, and a separate guest house.

The Duke of Sussex spoke about how much he enjoys living there and was so welcomed by the community. But according to a writer for the Montecito Journal, Harry and Meghan are not really part of that community. Here’s what the journalist had to say, plus what the Sussexes have been spotted doing in their neighborhood.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who a journalist said are not part of the community in Montecito, attend day two of the Invictus Games
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend day two of the Invictus Games | Samir Hussein/WireImage

What Prince Harry said about California being more like home to him now

During an appearance on Dak Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast in May 2021, Harry revealed how much he liked living in Montecito.

“Living here now I can actually lift my head and I feel different, my shoulders have dropped, so have [Meghan’s]. You can walk around feeling a little bit more free,” he explained. “I can take Archie on the back of my bicycle, I would never have had the chance to do that.”

In April 2022, the prince did an interview about the Invictus Games with Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb and spoke again about residing in Santa Barbara town and how that feels more like his home now.

“Home for me, now, for the time being, is in the States,” he said. “And it really feels that way, as well. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and have got such a great community up in Santa Barbara.”

Journalist says Harry and Meghan are ‘not part of the community’ in Montecito

British journalist Richard Mineards who lives in California as well and pens a column in the Montecito Journal said that the duke and duchess have yet to become “part of the community” there.

Mineards said any sightings of the couple are very rare so therefore they haven’t immersed themselves into the community.

He told The Times: “Harry and Meghan haven’t become part of the community, and I think a lot of people are bristling about that really. It’s such a lovely place to go out and they’ve been a no-show. There is this big question of ‘Where are they?'”

Mineards added that locals had hoped they would see the duke make an appearance at a Santa Barbara concert where cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason performed since he also played at Meghan and Harry’s wedding in 2018. However, that didn’t happen as the concert took place while the duke was busy at the Invictus Games.

“There were high hopes that Harry would appear,” the columnist stated. “But the Invictus Games meant it wasn’t to be.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smiling during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smiling during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark | Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images

There have been a few stories about the duke and duchess being out in the community

The Sussexes may have kept a low profile in their neighborhood since moving in but there are a few instances in which they were seen out and about in Santa Barbara.

Some fellow Montecito residents have spotted them out on occasion walking their dogs at a local beach. And in December 2021, Meghan was photographed while shopping at local boutiques. The duke and duchess have also been seen dining at an area steakhouse with Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank as well as music mogul David Foster in the last few months.

Another resident has thought of a way Harry can quickly become part of the community. Express noted that Andrew Bossom, who went to the same Eton school as the duke and is a keen polo player currently living in California, said Santa Barbara has “one of the most beautiful polo clubs in America and there is expectation and hope that Prince Harry will start playing there. It would be a huge step into the local community for him.” 

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