Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Harry, Picture: Chris Jackson/pool via AP

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to move out of their Cotswolds bolthole within weeks.

The couple took a two-year lease on the £2.5million former farmhouse in the picturesque hamlet of Great Tew in the run-up to their wedding last year and spend most weekends there.

Friends say it gives Harry and Meghan the chance to escape the ‘goldfish bowl’ of royal life at Kensington Palace, where they live in two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage.

It had been anticipated that the couple, who are expecting their first child in April, would keep the house on after moving from London to Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s Windsor estate this spring.

But the Daily Mail has learnt that the couple will be cancelling the lease early and moving out in March.

One source suggested that the sudden move is down to the fact they are struggling to pay for the upkeep of two properties, particularly as the building works on Frogmore Cottage are expected to cost up to £3million.

While taxpayers will shoulder the bulk of the bill, Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, are having to pay for all the fixtures and fittings themselves.

However, another source insisted that finance was not an issue and suggested that the real reason behind the move was security.

The isolated luxury home, which the Mail has chosen not to identify, is on the vast Great Tew Estate, near the trendy private members’ retreat Soho Farmhouse, where many of Meghan’s UK-based friends hang out.

The estate, owned by multi-millionaire Old Etonian Nicholas Johnston, lies eight miles north-east of Chipping Norton and is at the heart of an area described as ‘Poshfordshire’ thanks to its regular celebrity visitors and weekend residents.

Little more than a decade ago, the 18th century listed farmstead comprised a pair of decaying buildings for cattle, along with the unusable stables and barns next door, beside a burnt-out farmhouse. It has since been transformed into a stunning country residence, nestled in a hidden vale.

But the house is not situated on a heavily guarded estate, like Windsor or Sandringham. And while security measures have been put in place, the house is not a permanent royal residence and so not as heavily protected as it could be.

It is understood that locals are less than happy at the attention the couple’s presence has brought and worry about the added strain on local police resources. Costs for guarding the property would be split between the Metropolitan and Thames Valley police forces.

With the couple’s baby due in April, it seems they have decided to up sticks to Windsor entirely. Frogmore Cottage is undergoing massive renovations.

A spokesman declined to discuss plans for the Great Tew property.

Daily Mail

© Daily Mail