In The Crown season six, episode three, Elizabeth Debicki’s Princess Diana and Khalid Abdalla’s Dodi Fayed commiserate over the onslaught of media attention they’ve received since their relationship became public. “They make like they’re your friend, and they write insult after insult anyway,” Diana says of the press. “Makes me just want to move away. Start afresh. Move to another country, somewhere like. . .”
Like his mother, Prince Harry wanted to move from England with his wife, Meghan Markle, to escape the press attention. “What if we could spend at least part of each year somewhere far away, still doing work for the Queen, but beyond the reach of the press?” Harry wrote in his autobiography.
Princess Diana did indeed have a desire to live abroad. “There is no doubt that she was looking for a new direction in her life at this time,” her brother, Charles Earl of Spencer, said in his eulogy at her funeral. “She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment that she received at the hands of the newspapers.”
Dodi finishes her sentence: “California?”
At first, it was a toss-up between New Zealand and South Africa for the couple, as they were both Commonwealth countries that maintained close ties to the United Kingdom. Yet, after they officially left the royal family, they settled on the very country their mother ruminated about too: America. “We found a place. Priced at a steep discount. Just up the coast, outside Santa Barbara. Lots of room, large gardens, a climbing frame—even a pond with koi carp,” he said. They purchased the home in the summer of 2020, and have remained there ever since.