Architecture & Real Estate | August 23, 2020 12:38 pm

The Controversial History of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s New House

A luxurious design, but also a risk of natural disasters

Chateau of Riven Rock
The Chateau of Riven Rock.

What does one do if you’re a high-profile married couple who recently broke with the traditional expectations of one side of the family and ventured across the ocean for a new start? For starters, you might want to find a place to live. That’s the conundrum faced by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who recently solved it by buying a house in California.

If this was an ordinary house, this story would end here. But a new article at AirMail by Stuart Heritage offers a sense of their new home’s history — and there’s a lot of it. Custom wine cellar? Natural disasters? Check. A controversial oligarch? Check.

The house purchased by the happy couple (for, reportedly, $14.3 million) has been dubbed the Chateau of Riven Rock. The AirMail article notes that it was built in 2003; when it was previously on the market, it sold for $25 million. Much of Heritage’s article focuses on the obvious question: at a time when luxury properties aren’t generally losing value, how did this one turn into such a (relative) bargain?

One option is the relatively hazardous nature of the California landscape: the Chateau of Riven Rock is reportedly at risk of wildfires, earthquakes and mudslides. (Hopefully not all at the same time.) Also potentially playing a part: oligarch Sergey Grishin, whose ex-wife has accused him of some truly horrific domestic violence.

Still, the house is a luxurious one. And with Markle looking to take a larger role in the upcoming election, it’s certainly not a bad time for the couple to have a permanent base of operations.

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