Meghan Markle's Southern California neighbors have reportedly given her an unofficial title due to her glamorous lifestyle: the "Princess of Montecito."
"There's a lot more going on in Meghan's world than people think, she just keeps it very private these days but her royal status gives her a lot of leverage," a source told UK's Closer magazine. "She spends most of her time in Montecito, but she heads into LA every week or so."
After resigning as senior royals, Meghan and her husband Prince Harry moved to a nine-bedroom mansion in Montecito, a posh area of Santa Barbara, in 2020. Their neighbors include Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Serena Williams, James Corden and Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry. Since moving to the town outside of Los Angeles, the couple often spends time at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, hiking the hills or dining at high-end restaurants.
"If she's going into Beverly Hills or West Hollywood for lunch or dinner, she'll generally call ahead and request a table that is completely secluded," the source said. "Some of her favourite places were off the beaten track and not all that well-known, like gourmet sushi joints in the Downtown area or authentic Mexican places in the area she grew up in."
"But, generally speaking, these days she likes higher-end hangouts like Cecconi's, Sunset Tower, Sugarfish or Lucky's steakhouse in Montecito, which was recommended to them by Oprah. It's become their favourite and they're waited on hand and foot," the source continued. "They're also big fans of Nobu – the bills can often reach up to $5,000, but Meghan and her friends are happy to pay."
Over the years reports have said the former "Suits" actress is angling for a career in politics. In the meantime, the mother of Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, is working on her podcast, Archetypes, which will air on Spotify. Still, she makes time to schooze.
"She spends a fair amount of time at Oprah's palatial house, where they'll kick back with her closest friend, Gayle King, and talk about everything from Meghan's future plans to what's going on back in the UK and how Harry's coping with everything," the source said. "Despite her former acting career, she doesn't go to the movies much but they've been known to watch private screenings at Oprah's place, and other power players in LA have hosted them for dinner parties and spiritual gatherings."
Harry, meanwhile, is happy to support his wife's ambitions.
"He's up at the crack of dawn getting the kids fed, washed and dressed. Meghan's often very busy on business Zoom calls, or nipping into LA for meetings, which Harry often chauffeurs her to. Then he's back to the kids as soon as possible because he doesn't like leaving them with nannies," the source said. "With all this speculation around her political career ambitions, everyone thinks Harry would be happy at the idea of being First Gentleman if she accomplishes her long-term goal. Having said that, he might be fine with it right now – but you have to wonder for how much longer."