What It's Supposedly Like In The California Town After Meghan And Harry Moved In

It isn't always easy when a major celebrity packs bags and relocates to an off-the-beaten-path town. Taylor Swift's neighbors in Watchhill, Rhode Island were infuriated after Swift built a "sea wall" in front of her waterside mansion in December 2013 (the singer had just undergone a break-in that summer), the Daily Mail reported. In Swift fashion, she wrote a song about it ("I had a fabulous time / ruining everything," she sings on 2020's "The Last Great American Dynasty," via Genius). For Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, meanwhile, their move from the U.K. to California following their 2019 resignation from the British royal family has been seemingly peaceful, a word the couple has needed for quite some time. 

Friend and mental health advocate Bryony Gordon penned in The Telegraph in May that Harry was "spiritually at home" in California, even with Meghan giving birth to their second child, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, there, to much media scrutiny. Harry has been "set free," Gordon wrote, adding that, whether due to cultural differences or the physical distance, the prince no longer lived "in fear of the repercussions of existing as himself, as he wants and needs to be." 

But what is it really like to live in Montecito, Calif., the neighborhood the Sussexes now call home? Keep reading to find out.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's new hometown is surprisingly lowkey

The town of Montecito, Calif. has seen its share of famous names and faces come and go. And as of July 2020, per Insider, that list includes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Rob Lowe, a resident along with other A-listers like Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and Ellen DeGeneres, mused to ​​E! News that "Once the royals move into your neighborhood, the neighborhood is never going to be the same...property values go up. The bad news is the lines are longer at Starbucks." 

Anneta Konstantinides, a writer for Insider, visited Montecito and was surprised by its (relative) modesty. Unlike the Pacific sunset views offered by downtown Santa Barbara, Konstantinides reported that "Montecito is really just a long road of restaurants, cafés, and boutiques," with no water-views to be found. That said, she applauded Harry and Meghan's home for its culinary delights, even dining at Lucky's, where the couple reportedly double-dated with Katherine McPhee and husband David Foster. "Every meal I had in Montecito was absolutely delicious — making it a surprising culinary destination," Konstantinides noted. 

But what floored the reporter most was the quiet suburban town's lack of stargazing, despite its celebrity presence. As she reported, "I didn't see any celebrities or even any paparazzi," and a Starbucks employee even refuted Lowe's joke about longer lines. By all of Insider's interviews with locals, Harry and Meghan are just a "totally normal" couple, as a Lucky's waitstaff member told Konstantinides.