So if the very place Harry and Meghan have so long been linked with is now up for grabs, why wouldn’t they seize the opportunity to move in? Picture: EPA

London - As many people with long years of royal service behind them have been at pains to point out to me in recent weeks, Prince Harry, 34, is a grown man now and as strong-willed as his new wife.

"Rather dictatorial," is how one source, who actually very much likes him, describes the prince. And while he loves his brother and his little niece and nephews, Harry is equally keen to move out.

Not to appease his wife, but because he wants to escape the goldfish bowl of royal life for the sake of his marriage and his unborn child.

It is a move that the sixth in line to the throne believes is for the best of reasons.

And yet his decision to take on secluded Frogmore Cottage, in the grounds of Windsor Estate, close to his adored grandmother, has raised eyebrows.

Not least because, as has been reported many times over, the couple had eyed up the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester’s home, Apartment 1, at Kensington Palace, right next to the Cambridges’ 22-room home.

Contrary to speculation, the queen’s cousin Richard and his wife, Birgitte, were happy to move out for Harry and his new bride. Indeed, I can reveal that the Gloucesters, whose children have long left home, are moving out in the new year to live in the vastly smaller Stables Cottage in the palace grounds.

So if the very place Harry and Meghan have so long been linked with is now up for grabs, why wouldn’t they seize the opportunity to move in? Could it be because of tensions between the brothers and their wives?

One source has told me that until very recently there were "multiple" options on the table for the couple, including moving into somewhere bigger at Kensington Palace.

It was only decided after they returned from their recent tour to Australia and the South Pacific that Frogmore was the preferred option and plans were quickly lodged with the council to bring it up to scratch. One reason given to me is the cost of the work that would be needed to bring Apartment 1 up to scratch.

Renovating anywhere in a historic royal palace is not cheap – William and Kate’s apartment cost taxpayers more than £4.5million.

The other reason is that Harry simply doesn’t want to bring his family up in such a visible manner as his brother.

While many would be delighted at the idea of living in a palace, large swathes of it are actually open to the public all year round.

And although the Cambridges do have a charming garden in which their three children can play, spaces for youngsters to run wild are severely limited.

George and Charlotte are regularly photographed by paparazzi on the school run.

Any trip into neighbouring Kensington Gardens attracts attention, whether from well-meaning members of the public or the occasional photographer. And while attempts have been made to shield a large grassy area to the left of the palace from prying eyes, with a new line of evergreen trees, they have been slower-growing than hoped.

It means that anyone using the area for play or recreation can be seen from the nearby private road, often used as a thoroughfare by people walking to Kensington High Street or the gardens themselves.

As second in line to the throne, William has no choice but to put up with the arrangement as he must have a permanent base in the capital - and Kensington Palace is probably the best option.

Still, others admit that new duchess, has been "an acquired taste" and one that, perhaps, isn’t to the Duchess of Cambridge’s liking.

Indeed, a second, very well-placed source, remarked tellingly that "the royal lifestyle and constraints are taking a time for Meghan to get used to".

They revealed: "She’s woman who has lived life into her 30s in her way, she’s been a relatively successful actress, has her own humanitarian interests and her own circle of friends. She is very self-sufficient. Understanding the Palace way, the deference, the politics and the fact that there’s a pecking order, is taking a while for Meghan to get her head around.

Daily Mail