In the months before her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997, Princess Diana was thriving: Newly divorced and free of the burdens of the royal family, Diana was dating businessman Dodi Fayed and reportedly planning a move to Malibu, where she planned to spend plenty of time with both Fayed and her sons. Now, newly freed of their senior royal duties, her son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are reportedly house-hunting in Malibu, the area where Princess Diana reportedly planned to live and where Fayed had just bought a home. Fayed and Diana had only begun dating a few weeks before they both passed away, and there are conflicting reports about how serious they were, but her former butler has maintained that Diana had been planning a move to Malibu at the time of her death.
In 2003, six years after her death, Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, told ABC in a tell-all interview that the princess had believed that she and her sons would have a better life in Malibu. “[The house] was going to be in Malibu…I saw the plans,” he said. “We sat on the floor, spread out all the maps and the layout of the house…She said, ‘This is our new life, just won’t it be great, think of the lifestyle the boys—nobody’s judgmental here in America, you don’t have the class system, you don’t have the establishment,’ ” Burrell said.
Of the boys being based in the U.K. when Diana died, Burrell said: “Why couldn’t they come and spend a portion of their time in America? That would be very stiff and staunchy if the queen would say, ‘No, they can’t go to America.'” Diana had joint custody of the boys, who were 12 and 15 at the time.
Meghan and Harry have other strong connections to the area: Meghan grew up in Hollywood, and her mom Doria Ragland still lives in View Park-Windsor Hills—an easy drive from Malibu. Now, Meghan and Harry are reportedly on the hunt for a quiet, private home by the beach where they can raise Archie (and, presumably, any other children that might have) away from the lens of the royal family and the British press, who have been notoriously cruel (and times deeply racist) towards Meghan since the couple began dating in 2016.