Home sweet home: Harry and Meghan appear in Zoom interviews from their new $14.7m Montecito mansion

Prince Harry (pictured) seems to have made a surprise appearance from his new $14.7m Montecito mansion during a video call with Invictus Games competitors

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have provided a glimpse into their $14.7million California mansion while participating in Zoom calls to promote compassion.

The Duke of Sussex, 35, spoke today with athletes participating in his Invictus Games competition, to describe how important it was to ‘check in on each other.’ 

Harry’s lecture on mental health from the 14,563-square-foot home in palm-tree lined Montecito, comes after his wife lashed the media’s ‘toxicity’ in a separate video conference.

Meghan, 38, referred yesterday to her ‘personal experience in the past couple years,’ while speaking at a virtual conference for ‘The 19th Represents’ to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage.

‘There is so much toxicity out there in what is being referred to as, my husband and I talk about it often, this to the economy for attention,’ she said. ‘That is what is monetizable right now.

‘So if you’re just trying to grab someone’s attention, you’re going for something salacious versus what is truthful.’ 

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Prince Harry (pictured) seems to have made a surprise appearance from his new $14.7m Montecito mansion during a video call with Invictus Games competitors

Harry's appearance comes after Meghan seemed to give fans a glimpse inside the couple's dream California home - complete with views of the rolling Montecito hills and vintage-inspired furniture (pictured)

Harry’s appearance comes after Meghan seemed to give fans a glimpse inside the couple’s dream California home – complete with views of the rolling Montecito hills and vintage-inspired furniture (pictured) 

The Duke of Sussex, 35, recently moved into the sprawling nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom home in upscale Montecito, Santa Barbara (pictured), with his wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie, now one

The Duke of Sussex, 35, recently moved into the sprawling nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom home in upscale Montecito, Santa Barbara (pictured), with his wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie, now one

Today, Prince Harry joined competitors after they took part in a virtual ‘At Home Superhero Tri’ which saw the British and Australian members take on different stages of a triathlon while in different countries.  

Harry was joined on screen by Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers, as well as Bruno, Mark and Jen, who had each racked up a lot of mileage over the past few weeks.

During their ten minute conversation, Harry discussed the importance of having an online community to help everyone keep in touch with one another.

‘It’s so important to know that if you’re going to have a bad day, if you’ve had a bad week, or you’ve experienced more trauma or another loss, or more stress in your life that you’ve got at your fingertips, whether it’s a WhatsApp group, whether it’s an online support group or whatever it is, or whether it’s just the Invictus community, you’ve always got one, well not even one, you’ve got at least a handful of people that you can reach out to.’ 

The royal added: ‘Arguably all of us want to have or feel the comfort to know that we’ve got it in case we need it. 

The palatial residence, set in 10 acres, was originally put on the market in May 2014 for $36million

The palatial residence, set in 10 acres, was originally put on the market in May 2014 for $36million

Harry and Meghan have moved into the star-studded neighborhood in California

Harry and Meghan have moved into the star-studded neighborhood in California

‘I think more than anything else that we touch upon as well, you’ve got the banter there. And you know that if you haven’t heard from someone for a while, the first thing you need to do is check on them. 

‘Just because your life is sort of on track and everything’s going according to plan, there’s other people you may not have heard of.’   

He continued: ‘You might just get the answer of “Yeah, I’m fine.” But you guys are the ones that are going to dig a little bit deeper and say “fine is not the answer that I was looking for. I’m actually asking how you are?” 

‘And it is stressful. The injuries you guys have sustained anyway is one part of it but then how everybody’s being forced to live now, it’s really, really different.’ 

The Invictus Games, which brings together current and former wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women from more than 20 countries, was due to be held in The Hague this year.

But the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus, however, the duke excitedly revealed in the clip, that the ‘dates of the new games have now been decided’. 

Harry’s positive message for the athletes comes after Meghan imparted her own compassionate advice from their mansion yesterday. 

In a clip posted to the competition's Instagram page today, Harry (pictured bottom right) appeared via video link to discuss the importance of their online community with the members of the multi-sport event, which was founded by the royal in 2014

In a clip posted to the competition’s Instagram page today, Harry (pictured bottom right) appeared via video link to discuss the importance of their online community with the members of the multi-sport event, which was founded by the royal in 2014

Harry (seen bottom left) also touched on the power of sport before suggesting it's imperative to check in on one another 'even if your life is on track'

Harry (seen bottom left) also touched on the power of sport before suggesting it’s imperative to check in on one another ‘even if your life is on track’

She was speaking with co-founder and CEO of The 19th Represents Emily Ramshaw for the 2020 Virtual Summit, when she touched upon the state of modern journalism.

She described how her ‘personal experience in the past couple years’ has changed her view on the media, noting that both she and Prince Harry believe that there is too much emphasis based on ‘salacious’ details.

It is another chapter in the couple’s war against the media and comes days after the release of flattering ‘unauthorised’ biography of Harry and Meghan Finding Freedom which features a host of intimate information about the couple from an army of anonymous friends and sources.

The couple insist they were not interviewed for Finding Freedom despite an authors’ note contained in the back of the book appearing to acknowledge some involvement from Harry and Meghan – which one author has brushed off as a ‘few words at engagements’ rather than a ‘full interview’.

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Particulars of voicemails Meghan sent to her father and tense conversations between Harry and William have been published in the book, which its authors say was based on interviews with more than 100 sources including ‘close friends of Harry and Meghan’s, royal aides and palace staff (past and present)’.

Interview: Duchess of Sussex, 38, took part in a virtual summit today in which she interviewed The 19th* co-founder and CEO Emily Ramshaw

Interview: Duchess of Sussex, 38, took part in a virtual summit today in which she interviewed The 19th* co-founder and CEO Emily Ramshaw

Clickbait: Meghan discussed how 'clickbait' headlines have influence, calling out news organizations that print what is 'salacious versus what is truthful'

Clickbait: Meghan discussed how ‘clickbait’ headlines have influence, calling out news organizations that print what is ‘salacious versus what is truthful’

During the Q&A yesterday, Meghan discussed how much influence that media can have — and that quite a bit of that influence can come from a single person or a single place.

‘What’s so fascinating, at least from my standpoint and my personal experience in the past couple years, is the headline headline alone, the clickbait alone, makes an imprint,’ she said.

‘That is part of how we view the world, how we interact with other people.

‘There is so much toxicity out there in what is being referred to as, my husband and I talk about it often, this to the economy for attention,’ she went on. ‘That is what is monetizable right now.

‘So if you’re just trying to grab someone’s attention, you’re going for something salacious versus what is truthful.

‘And I think that once we can get back to the place where what you’re creating is so important, where people are just telling the truth in their reporting, and telling it through a compassionate and empathetic lens, it’s gonna help bind people.

‘It’s gonna build community in a way I think that at the moment we’re feeling much more of a disconnect in a space where it could be one more of connection.’ 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017 in Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017 in Canada

Meghan said she hopes that The 19th, which bills itself as ‘a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting at the intersection of gender, politics and policy,’ will help lead the way in the kind of reporting she wants to see. 

The interview yesterday marked Meghan’s second appearance at a virtual summit in recent weeks, following her address to young women around the world last month for the UN initiative Girl Up.

In the months since moving to Los Angeles at the start of lockdown, the Duchess of Sussex has made only a handful of virtual appearances.

In the immediate wake of the death of the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, Meghan delivered a speech to the graduating class of her former high school about racial equality and justice.

She also joined Prince Harry for a virtual roundtable discussion with young leaders from around the Commonwealth. 

A cut-price palace… but running costs could reach $4.4million per year

Harry and Meghan bought their new home for $14.7million, a bargain compared to its earlier selling price of more than $25million and a previous listing of $34million. 

However, the mansion comes with eye-watering bills of its own which could stretch as high as $4.4million per year. 

MORTGAGE: $480,000 PER YEAR 

The couple have secured a $9.5million mortgage for the $14.7million home, suggesting they made a down-payment of around $5.2million. 

At typical interest rates provided by Bank of America, the couple would have to pay around $40,000 a month or $480,000 a year in order to repay their $9.5million mortgage over 30 years. 

PROPERTY TAX: $68,000 PER YEAR  

Finance technology firm SmartAsset estimates that a $14.7million home in Montecito, California would be liable for around $68,000 per year in property tax.

The tax is based on the purchase price of the home, but is also affected by other variables such as the rate of inflation. 

STAFF: $300,000 PER YEAR 

Harry and Meghan have not revealed what kind of staff they will employ, but a full-time staff of cooks, gardeners and housekeepers would come with a hefty bill.

Christopher Baker, who runs a firm that supplies domestic staff in California, told the Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that a staff for A-list celebrities can cost $200,000 to $300,000 per year, or even more. 

UTILITIES: $24,000 PER YEAR   

According to cost-of-living database Numbeo, utility bills for a 900 sq ft home in Santa Barbara County are typically around $200 per month. 

Harry and Meghan’s mansion is more than 10 times larger, suggesting a possible bill of at least $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year. Justin Rubinstein of real estate firm Compass told Business Insider last year that utility bills of $2,000 to $3,000 a month were typical for large mansions.   

SECURITY: $3.3MILLION PER YEAR

Reports earlier this year claimed that Harry and Meghan had hired  $9,000-a-day security firm GDBA to protect them in Los Angeles.

If GDBA were hired for 365 days a year at that rate, Harry and Meghan would be left with a $3.3million bill for security alone. 

GDBA is run by Gavin de Becker, a security expert and former presidential adviser who was previously hired by Jeff Bezos as a private investigator.

The firm offers ‘highly trained, highly screened’ security guards who control access to the homes of the rich and powerful, boasting that its thousands of clients include ‘over 90 of the world’s most prominent families and at-risk individuals’, said to include Tom Hanks and Madonna.

TOTAL: $4.4MILLION PER YEAR 

 

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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