When I was a cub reporter at The Malibu Times (back when Herbert Hoover was in the White House) I was all aflutter to get one of my first big stories—Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were planning on making a move to our humble little beach town.
The notorious Sun tabloid (the Brits’ equivalent of the National Enquirer) described our cozy city of 13,000 as a “swank ocean hamlet.”
As the Sun described it, “they wanted an escape from the royal spotlight”—a spotlight that drove them to their untimely deaths in a tunnel in Paris.
Now, 20 years later, I am on the beat again (although it changes minute by minute). Prince Harry and his American bride have stepped aside as “senior royals,” deciding to move to Canada with a paparazzi-free home in the ’Bu where Meghan can be close to her mum in Los Angeles.
According to reports, Prince Harry and “Suits” star Markle have their sights set on Malibu where they can live “a normal life.”
According to numerous news outlets, they are looking at an expansive $20 million mansion owned by “Baywatch” star David Charvet and ex-wife Brooke Burke.
It’s a place where they can boast neighbors such as “Doctor Doolittle” star Robert Downey Jr., aging lead actor Mel Gibson and the unstoppable Mary Poppins song and dance man Dick Van Dyke.
The posh pad is called Petra Manor and it’s just one of the properties the ex-royals are reportedly considering.
The listing says “it is outfitted for the most discerning of guests; you’ll find extensive amenities, a luxuriously private setting and artisan craftsmanship.”
If the ex-palatial pair decide on the divine new digs, their nine-month old son Archie could enjoy learning to put on his floaties in an exceptional pool while Meghan and Harry can practice their backhands in a tennis court and get in a few exercise moves in at the dance studio. The place has eight bedrooms and six bathrooms.
So, are folks about town ready to roll out the royal welcome mat? It depends on whom you ask.
“I’m from Canada,” sniped one gent at a local eatery. “You can gladly have them.”
“I can’t wait to see the traffic,” signed a longtime local.
Others were more effusive. “Oh Wow! I didn’t know that,” said Kim, a checker at a local supermarket. “That means that Meghan will be buying her tea at Ralphs.”
“I heard that,” added longtime Malibu newsstand owner Nathan. “They’ll be stopping by for “Hello!” (the U.K. equivalent of “People”) before you know it.”
Many high profile and not-so-high profile celebrities have settled on Malibu’s “way of life” because of its natural beauty, seaside location and relaxed, unobtrusive atmosphere or, as longtime local Oliva Newton-John might ask: “Have You Never Been Mellow?”
In the meantime, the royal drama seems to be in a state of flux. As one local shopper summed it up, “It’s fine by me. We just have to wait and see what happens, if it happens.”
In any case, it’s been a jolly good show so far!