Harry compares his high street furniture to William and Kate 'museum'

High street home vs Royal Palace! How Harry and Meghan’s IKEA lamps and cut-price sofa compared to William and Kate’s ‘museum’-like Kensington Palace apartment

  • Prince Harry’s memoir lays bare differences in his and William’s homes in 2018
  • Describes Kate and Wills’ Kensington Palace family home as being ‘magnificent’ 
  • He and Meghan were ’embarrassed’ by Nottingham Cottage’s cut-price furniture
  • Read more: ‘But it was so small!’ Inside Harry and Meghan’s Nott Cott love nest

Prince Harry’s bombshell new memoir lays bare many of the differences between him and his brother, Prince William; and among them, it seems, is where they shop for their furniture. 

In Spare, which accidentally went on sale in Spain yesterday, the Duke of Sussex describes how his first home with Meghan, Nottingham Cottage, was worlds away from the grandeur of William and Kate’s Kensington Palace Apartment.

In June 2018, Prince Harry claims he visited his brother and sister’s London home with Meghan Markle to clear the air after a series of disagreements.

During the frosty meeting, where Prince William accused Meghan of being ‘rude’, Harry says the Prince and Princess of Wales’ lavish apartment left him and his wife feeling ’embarrassed’ by their ‘cosy’ living quarters. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured together at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2019

He wrote: ‘The wallpaper, the ceiling trim, the walnut bookshelves filled with volumes of peaceful colors, priceless works of art. Magnificent. Like a museum.

‘We congratulated them on the renovation without holding back the compliments while feeling embarrassed of our IKEA lamps and the second-hand sofa we’d recently bought on sale with Meg’s credit card on sofa.com.’ 

Here FEMAIL reveals how the Prince and Princess of Wales’ Kensington Palace apartment compared to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first home together.

Kensington Palace

In Spare, the Duke of Sussex describes how his first home with Meghan, Nottingham Cottage, was worlds away from the grandeur of William and Kate’s Apartment. Both homes are in the grounds of Kensington Palace (pictured)

1) A hand made rocking horse the Obamas sent a newborn Prince George. 2) A picture of Carole and Michael Middleton on Kate and William’s wedding day. 3) A photo of a fresh faced Prince William in his teenage years. 4) An iconic picture of Princess Diana with a young William and Harry. 5) What appears to be a family photo in front of the Pyramids of Egypt. 6) What looks like a black and white snap of the Duchess of Cambridge at Laura Parker-Bowles’ 2006 wedding. 7) A wildlife photography book entitled On This Earth, A Shadow Falls

The Wales’ family home, Apartment 1A, reportedly boasts 20 rooms and acts as William and Kate’s London base.

The property was refurbished with £4.5million of taxpayers’ money in 2016 – although the couple footed the bill for fixtures and furnishing themselves.

Later that year, the royal couple gave fans a glimpse inside their stylish family home when they released photos of former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle paying them a visit. 

The living room’s design was more reminiscent of a comfortable country home than a grand, palatial lounge – with floral cushions adorning comfortable looking cream sofas.

8) A replica of White House dog, Bo, presented to George by the Obamas. 9) A comfortable looking hexagonal footstool. 10) What could be a painting by dutch artist Melchior de Hondecoeter, known for illustrating black and white horses. 11) A 70cl bottle of Smirnoff ice worth £12 and a bottle of £14 Gordon’s gin sitting on a corner table. 12) A scented candle. 13) Another fine work of art by an unknown artist

One the golden table was a picture of Carole and Michael Middleton on Kate and William’s wedding day (left), a photo of a fresh-faced Prince William in his teenage years (second from left), and an iconic picture of Princess Diana with a young William and Harry (back right). On the brown corner table was a bottle of £14 Gordon’s gin, a 70cl bottle of Smirnoff ice worth £12, and a bottle of water on a silver tray

In the 2016 photos with the Obamas, a series of intimate family photos were seen on display besides an elaborate bouquet on a black grand piano.

One of the pictures appeared to be a black and white shot of Kate looking ethereal in white on her wedding day. Another seemed to be a family photo in front of the pyramids.

The framed photos gracing an ornate table near the windows were rather more iconic.

One appeared to show a blonde haired, baby faced Prince William in his teenage years – one of the many shots that drew comparisons to his mother’s looks. 

This photo of Michael and Carole Middleton at Kate and William’s 2012 wedding  is on display in the couple’s living room

Underneath a lamp on a side table near their drawing room window was what looked like a picture of William in his teenage years (left) as well as an iconic photograph of Diana with her beloved sons, taken by famous photographer Mario Testino in 1988 (right)

Beside it was what looks like an unforgettable image taken by fashion photographer Mario Testino, showing the late Princess Diana playing with her two beloved sons in a flower garden in 1988.

There was also a picture of akin to the Duke of Cambridge’s in-laws, Carole and Michael Middleton, attending the 2011 Royal Wedding.

Behind Prince William, the couple have placed a Victorian-style riding horse by the window seat for their three children to play with. 

Sitting on the side table beside the Prince and the former President, deep in discussion about the anti-poaching and conservation issues they hold dear, was a black and white wildlife book by world renowned photographer Nick Brandt.

The ‘Fab Four’ pictured on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2018. Prince Harry claims him and Meghan Markle paid Kate and William a visit to their ‘museum’-like apartment that year

Brandt’s ‘regal and mysterious’ book – entitled On This Earth, A Shadow Falls – is said to capture the vanishing grandeur of the vanishing beauty of East Africa with wide screen panoramic shots of majestic animals and landscapes.

In recent years, the Prince and Princess of Wales have also shared photos of them in their home offices. 

In March 2020, the then Duchess of Cambridge released a photo of her dressed in a pink suit while on the phone from her desk.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Kensington Palace apartment is ‘enormous’ with ’20 rooms from the basement to the attic’, royal experts have claimed. Kate shared a glimpse of her home office at the property earlier this year, seen above

The mother-of-three had 12 cloth-bound Penguin Classics books on display on her desk – including Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen and Middlemarch by George Eliot. 

In the background of the photo, royal fans could make out an inviting white plush sofa scattered with printed cushions.

In contrast, a glimpse of Prince William’s office showed the royal had place his desk in front of a stunning marble fireplace.

Beside his desk chair, the father-of-three has a photo frame facing him as he works which is sat on top of a filing cabinet next to a printer.

What appear to be antique lamps also adorn side tables in the living room, as well as an impressive china-based light in William’s study. He is pictured here on a call in 2020

One of the only touches of grandeur in the room is an antique ceramic lamp with a white shade.

In his biography, Prince Harry explained how sitting in Kate and William’s ‘museum’-like home left him and Meghan feeling ’embarrassed’ about their living quarters

Nottingham Cottage

Following in the Prince and Princess of Wales’ footsteps, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started out their married life together in the more modest two-bedroom ‘Nott Cott’, which is also set in the Kensington Palace grounds.

In their recent Netflix documentary, the couple revealed how Oprah was stunned by the ‘small’ size of their home when she ‘went round for tea’ – and told them ‘no one would ever believe’ they were living there.

The two-bedroom Nott Cott, which was both Harry and Meghan and the Prince and Princess of Wales’s first marital home, was described as ‘so small’ by Meghan in her recent Netflix series

In his bombshell biography Spare, Harry describes how Nottingham Cottage was worlds away from William and Kate’s lavish Kensington Palace Apartment. He is pictured relaxing in the cottage’s living room in his recent Netflix documentary

Inside Harry and Meghan’s Nottingham Cottage living room 

1. Magnolia walls

2. Good sofa configuration

3. Family photos and midcentury mirror

4. Basic lamp

5. Upcycled side table?

6. Cosy sheepskin rug

7.  Union Jack placemat

In the Netflix docuseries, Meghan points out that the living space was far from expansive, saying: ‘Kensington Palace sounds very regal, of course it does, it says “palace” in the name. But Nottingham Cottage was so small.’

Describing the home, Meghan said: ‘People thought we lived in a palace and we did. Well, a cottage in a palace.’

Harry said: ‘The whole thing is on a slight lean, [with] really low ceilings. So I don’t know who was there before but they must have been very short.’

In a Netflix snap of Harry relaxing on the sofa with one of the couple’s beloved dogs, a simple lamp illuminates a corner of the cottage’s living room. 

It is unknown if the sofa Harry is sitting on is the one they bought from Sofa.com but the couple had arranged the matching settees so they were facing each other.

Decoration is kept to a minimum, with interior design expert Benji Lewis recently telling Femail that the pictures show a ‘cosy but accessible’ home.

One of the subtle design choices in the cottage’s living room is the soft cream colour on the walls, which lend the space a neutral look.

Benji told FEMAIL: ‘There’s nothing showy or fancy going on here, the wall colour might even be something as uncomplicated as magnolia.’

Meanwhile the kitchen in the cottage, which boasts a simple colour scheme of white, charcoal, and royal blue, was described as ‘unpretentious’

Inside the Nottingham Cottage kitchen 

1. Traditional Shaker style doors

2. Statement black panelling

3. Breville toaster and kettle

Looking at the layout of the room, he observed that the sofa arrangement is good, noting that ‘the corner configuration allows for nice interaction between whoever’s sitting down, while the large coffee table means nobody needs to stretch to put their cup of tea down’.

One piece of furniture in the room could hint at the couple opting for a sustainable choice – the side table, which Benji suggested may have been reused.

He said: ‘The side table is undersized for the corner it’s in, good for the scale of the lamp but I wonder if it’s actually an upcycled piece, brought into the room as something with which to make do.’

On top of the sofa, a sheep skin rug can clearly be seen. According to Benji, this could be a nod to the couple’s love of their pooches.

He told FEMAIL: ‘We know that they love dogs so it’s no wonder there’s been an allowance for the pooches on the sofa – I should think that’s the point of the sheepskin rug, somewhere cosy for the doggies to hunker down.

‘We can’t see what the floor finish is, timber boards I should imagine – the rug provides a nice bit of warm colour, and it’s clearly been sized to provide a cosy feel underfoot when you get up off the sofas.’

One of the quirkier touches in the room can be seen on top of the coffee table – a Union Jack placemat.

Apartment 1A is pictured here with scaffolding over it during renovation works. It was refurbished with £4.5million of taxpayers’ money, while William and Kate footed the bill for fixtures and furnishing themselves

Left: Prince Harry pictured outside Nottingham Cottage, where him and Meghan Markle lived together after their 2018 wedding. Right: Prince Harry inside the couple’s first home

According to Benji: ‘The patriotic touch with the Union Jack flags is unsurprising, and the lit candle on the coffee table implies an evening for hunkering down in front of the telly.’

Meanwhile, interiors expert Benji described the couple’s kitchen as ‘unpretentious’, suggesting that it may have been inherited from a previous owner.

He noted that the room’s colour scheme is simple, ‘kept as it is to off white, charcoal and Royal blue’.

Benji added: ‘There’s no suggestion of a table and chairs in the kitchen, I wonder if this is more of a pantry – somewhere to feed the dogs rather than cook the Sunday roast.’

Harry and Meghan later swapped their first home Nott Cott for ten-bedroom Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s Windsor Estate

In a 2020 interview on True Royalty’s Royal Beat, British royal author Christopher Warwick said that people should not be fooled by the large abode’s ‘apartment’ status.

‘All of these royal residences at Kensington Palace are called apartments, which of course makes people immediately think they are flats like the American term for an apartment.

‘They are not. If you think of Kensington Place in a way it is built around three courtyards. If you kind of think of them as being these wonderful red brick terrace houses. Because they are all joined, but separate houses,’ he added. 

Harry and Meghan later swapped their previous home Nott Cott for ten-bedroom Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s Windsor Estate.

The couple moved into the home in April 2019, which received a £2.4million renovation in the same year, just months before they announced they were stepping down as senior working royals and relocating to Montecito, California.

They since paid back the refurbishment costs to the government and continue to use the Grade-II listed property as a UK base.


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