In the most recent season of the Netflix drama The Crown, there’s an episode in which Queen Elizabeth does some soul searching in an effort to determine if she has a favorite among her four children.
While she eventually comes to the conclusion that she’s not that crazy about any of her kids, the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, insists that her clear favorite is the perennially troubled Prince Andrew.
This has long been the perception among outsiders, and the events of this past week seem to confirm that Elizabeth has quite the soft spot for her second-eldest son.
Before their departure for America, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry lived at Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s estate.
The couple invested a great deal of time and money redecorating the property, and it was widely assumed that they would continue to reside there during their visits to the UK.
Now, however, the Queen has bestowed the property to Princess Eugenie, the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew.
To describe Eugenie as what Charles might call a “fringe” royal would be rather generous.
She’s tenth in line to the throne, and even if you’re a regular reader of royal gossip, you might have never heard of her.
Not only does she have very little chance of ever inheriting a title of any importance, Eugenie’s branch of the family is currently embroiled in a scandal that dwarfs any controversy related to Harry and Meghan.
It may have been largely overshadowed by the events of 2020, but Prince Andrew’s involvement with Jeffrey Epstein remains one of the most shocking royal scandals of all time.
And yet, following Eugenie’s marriage to Jack Brooksbank, Elizabeth decided to gift the young couple with Harry and Meghan’s former abode.
And like everything the Queen does, the move is being dissected for ramifications and passive-aggressive messages.
According to a new report from UK tabloid The Sun, the exchange took place covertly, under cover of night.
“Removal vans pitched up in the dead of the night and cleared out the cottage. They definitely did not want to be seen,” a source said.
“Emptying their home and handing over the keys is a pretty strong sign Harry and Meghan have no plans to return. It appears they are tying up loose ends as they plan to extend their stay in the US perhaps permanently.”
Despite the shadiness of the circumstances, one insider tells The Sun that the move was made for practical reasons:
Chief among them is the fact that Eugenie is expecting her first child, and Harry and Meghan designed Frogmore as a place to raise kids.
“Frogmore was kitted out to Meghan and Harry’s tastes with son Archie in mind, so it is the perfect place for a couple to bring up a baby,” says The Sun’s insider.
“It has the bonus of being around the corner from her parents and, of course, the Queen. Harry and Meghan didn’t fancy Frogmore for whatever reason but Jack and Eugenie are delighted with it.”
Were it not for previous instances of subtle shade, such as the Queen leaving Harry and Meghan out of her holiday address, we might be inclined to think this is just a case of putting good property to use.
As it is, however, we’re seeing this as another sly “eff you” from the Queen of Shade.