Prince Harry and Meghan Markle treated their son to a ‘custom £5,000’ playhouse

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released their annual Christmas card last night, showing the couple with their 19-month son Archie while next to an impressive playhouse. 

The miniature cottage, designed in a traditional British style, is thought to have been a custom commission and would have cost the Duke and Duchess of Sussex up to $7,000, toy specialists told FEMAIL.    

Featuring a thatched roof and split stable doors, the playhouse has a ‘rustic British cottage effect’. Jamie Stanford, managing director at UK-based toy company Liberty Games added it has ‘English countryside vibes’ that wouldn’t look out of place in the grounds of one of the British royal residences.

Indeed the playhouse looks strikingly similar to the Wendy house the Queen was gifted on her sixth birthday by ‘the people of Wales’ that remains in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge for each generation of the royal family to use. Prince Charles grew up playing in the house and Princess Eugenie has spoken of her love for it. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released their annual Christmas card last night, showing the couple with their 19-month son Archie while next to an impressive playhouse

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released their annual Christmas card last night, showing the couple with their 19-month son Archie while next to an impressive playhouse

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released their annual Christmas card last night, showing the couple with their 19-month son Archie while next to an impressive playhouse

The playhouse featured in the card looks very similar to the one the Queen enjoyed as a little girl (pictured), gifted to her on her sixth birthday by 'the people of Wales', and still standing in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge for each generation of the royal family to use

The playhouse featured in the card looks very similar to the one the Queen enjoyed as a little girl (pictured), gifted to her on her sixth birthday by 'the people of Wales', and still standing in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge for each generation of the royal family to use

The playhouse featured in the card looks very similar to the one the Queen enjoyed as a little girl (pictured), gifted to her on her sixth birthday by ‘the people of Wales’, and still standing in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge for each generation of the royal family to use

Jamie Stanford, Managing Director at Liberty Games, said: ‘We believe Harry and Meghan’s is a custom-made playhouse, likely to cost in the range of $4,000 to $7,000.

‘In our opinion it looks like it’s been custom-made to create a rustic British cottage effect, complete with stable-style door, ornate roof ridge and of course some beautiful foliage. The wooden chair and paved path really add to this effect. 

Meghan and Harry’s Christmas card created by a ‘skilled illustrator’

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Christmas card has left fans wondering just how the image was created.

The card is a drawing of a photograph taken by Meghan’s mother Doria earlier this month.

While no creator has been credited, a graphic designer has told FEMAIL that the image must have been made by a ‘skilled illustrator’.

Anna D’Assaro said: ‘Having had a good look at the card and being an illustrator myself, I can say that it looks like this has been done manually from a skilled illustrator or an artist. 

‘Taking a closer look at the image, you can notice how the shadow and highlights are all tiny little strokes which long ago would have been done by a paint brush. 

‘Nowadays this can be done with Adobe Photoshop brushes or an iPad Pro and pen and you still wouldn’t notice a difference. 

‘It is difficult for me to say if this has actually been painted on canvas with the use of acrylics and then digitized later on, or if this was entirely done digitally with the help of a pen and pad.

‘The dogs and scenario as well could have been shot individually even to then be edited all together to accomplish the perfect snap.’

Illustrator Anna added that the image could’ve cost the couple between $500 to $2.000. 

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‘If custom-made, the playhouse would have been the work of real specialists working to order to create something unique, which naturally makes for a higher price than “off-the-shelf” playhouse kits due to design time and manufacture time. 

‘It’s very much English countryside vibes – perfectly suited to rural Windsor,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Red Monkey Play, a playground equipment supplier based in the UK, placed the cost of the playhouse slightly lower.

‘If we were manufacturing a similar item and selling this, it would sell from a starting price of $3000 + vat for the playhouse itself,’ he said. ‘If we delivered to the location and installed, that would be an additional $500 so total cost I would say $3500 + vat.

‘The design has features almost like a thatched cottage roof which is a nod to the British countryside. The colour schemes are also red, white and blue in this particular picture.’ 

The playhouse was reminiscent of Her Majesty’s The Little House, the miniature cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge where the Queen played as a child. 

The miniature thatched, whitewashed cottage is tucked away from public view in the south side of the gardens of Windsor’s Royal Lodge.

Called Y Bwthyn Bach, or The Little House, it has been a play den for the Queen and subsequent generations of her family for the past 88 years.

The two-thirds size cottage, which measures 24 feet long, eight feet deep and with five feet high rooms, was presented to Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret in March 1932 on behalf of ‘the people of Wales’ on the occasion of Elizabeth’s sixth birthday.

Designed by architect Edmund Willmott, who had earlier built a less grand little house for his own daughter to play in, it was intended as a symbol of the love and fascination of the Welsh people for the little princess who was, at that stage, never expected to become Queen. 

Over the years, the Queen’s children have also played in the house as well as her grandchildren – most likely including Prince Harry – and her great-grandchildren. It’s thought to hold a special place in the hearts of all the royal children, but Princess Beatrice was especially captivated by it and refurbished the build in 2012. 

Prince Harry and Meghan’s Christmas card was their first since relocating to California, and showed off 19-month old Archie’s shock of red hair. 

Prince Charles standing outside the Little Welsh cottage at the Royal Lodge in Windsor in England on April 7, 1954

Prince Charles standing outside the Little Welsh cottage at the Royal Lodge in Windsor in England on April 7, 1954

Prince Charles standing outside the Little Welsh cottage at the Royal Lodge in Windsor in England on April 7, 1954

The Queen's playhouse is thought to hold a special place in the hearts of all the royal children, but Princess Beatrice  (pictured) was especially captivated by it and refurbished the build in 2012

The Queen's playhouse is thought to hold a special place in the hearts of all the royal children, but Princess Beatrice  (pictured) was especially captivated by it and refurbished the build in 2012

The Queen’s playhouse is thought to hold a special place in the hearts of all the royal children, but Princess Beatrice  (pictured) was especially captivated by it and refurbished the build in 2012

The couple can be seen playing with Archie in the garden of their £11million ($15million) home in Montecito, along with dogs Pula and Guy. The card is a drawing of a photograph taken by Meghan’s mother Doria earlier this month. 

It was released via Mayhew, the London-based animal charity based for which 39-year-old Meghan is a patron and reads: ‘Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.’

A tiny Christmas tree in the picture is decorated with ornaments selected by Archie. The Mayhew tweeted the image yesterday along with a thank you for an undisclosed personal donation from the royals.

Meghan writes in it: ‘This year we, as a family, have made donations to several charities with you in mind. From a local California organisation that helps families transition out of homelessness, to two of our UK patronages: one that supports animal and community welfare, and the other, a memorial fund for a cherished friend that helps to educate children and fight poverty in Uganda, we have honoured their work on behalf of all of us.’ 

Last year, Harry and Meghan's Christmas card showed the couple grinning as baby Archie stared down the camera lens

Last year, Harry and Meghan's Christmas card showed the couple grinning as baby Archie stared down the camera lens

Last year, Harry and Meghan’s Christmas card showed the couple grinning as baby Archie stared down the camera lens

In 2018 the then newlyweds sent a black and white image from their summer wedding at Windsor Castle in Berkshire

In 2018 the then newlyweds sent a black and white image from their summer wedding at Windsor Castle in Berkshire

In 2018 the then newlyweds sent a black and white image from their summer wedding at Windsor Castle in Berkshire

‘The small Christmas tree, including the homemade ornaments and other decorations, were selected by Archie, and the tree will be replanted after the holidays.’

The card offers a sneak peek into the family’s home and Archie’s playhouse. A spokesman for the couple said: ‘The original photo of the family was taken at their home earlier this month by the Duchess’s mother. 

Mayhew, which is based in Kensal Green, West London, said on its website that the money would help it ‘weather the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and enable us to reach the animals and people who are struggling’.

Caroline Yates, Mayhew’s chief executive, said: ‘We are delighted to have the Duchess of Sussex as our patron, and she has shone a huge light on our community-based animal welfare work over the last two years.

‘We were especially honoured to recently receive a personal donation from the Duke and Duchess, which will enable us to help even more cats, dogs and pet owners in need over this tough winter period.’

Harry and Meghan relocated to Montecito after staying at Tyler Perry’s £13million ($18million) home with 12 bedrooms in Beverly Hills.

They enjoyed last Christmas in Canada after stepping down as senior royals and are understood to be spending this festive period with Doria in their new home.

A Wendy house fit for a Queen: The history of the tiny Welsh cottage in the grounds of Windsor where generations of royals have played 

The Little House is the miniature thatched, whitewashed cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge where the Queen played as a child. It is tucked away from public view in the south side of the gardens of Windsor’s Royal Lodge.

Called Y Bwthyn Bach, or The Little House, it has been a play den for the Queen and subsequent generations of her family for the past 88 years.

The two-thirds size cottage, which measures 24 feet long, eight feet deep and with five feet high rooms, was presented to Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret in March 1932 on behalf of ‘the people of Wales’ on the occasion of Elizabeth’s sixth birthday.

The Little House (pictured) is the miniature thatched, whitewashed cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge where the Queen played as a child. It is tucked away from public view in the south side of the gardens of Windsor’s Royal Lodge

The Little House (pictured) is the miniature thatched, whitewashed cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge where the Queen played as a child. It is tucked away from public view in the south side of the gardens of Windsor’s Royal Lodge

The Little House (pictured) is the miniature thatched, whitewashed cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge where the Queen played as a child. It is tucked away from public view in the south side of the gardens of Windsor’s Royal Lodge

Princess Margaret looking down to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth from the 'Dolls House' in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor

Princess Margaret looking down to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth from the 'Dolls House' in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor

Princess Margaret looking down to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth from the ‘Dolls House’ in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor

Designed by architect Edmund Willmott, who had earlier built a less grand little house for his own daughter to play in, it was intended as a symbol of the love and fascination of the Welsh people for the little princess who was, at that stage, never expected to become Queen.

The mining communities of the valleys had suffered more unemployment than any other part of Britain during the Depression, and the house, built exclusively by Welsh labour and from Welsh materials left over from the Llandough Hospital, was a poignant reminder of a workforce in despair.

It was also designed as a link between the two little princesses and those who lived in genuine cottages. It gave the sisters the chance to play at keeping an ordinary house – although it was far more luxurious than the vast majority of family homes at the time.

The layout of a typical Welsh cottage was followed for the interior. The front door opens onto a small hallway with a kitchen to the right and the ‘siamber fach’, or Little Chamber, on the left. A staircase gives access to a bedroom and a bathroom, which, when it was first built, was very modern, with hot and cold running water, a heated towel rail and electricity.

The dining room in the Queen's Windsor cottage, with a portrait of the queen's mother and Prince Beatrice's teddies, pictured left

The dining room in the Queen's Windsor cottage, with a portrait of the queen's mother and Prince Beatrice's teddies, pictured left

The dining room in the Queen’s Windsor cottage, with a portrait of the queen’s mother and Prince Beatrice’s teddies, pictured left

Princess Margaret sits on the wall of the Welsh House at Royal Lodge, Windsor in 1936

Princess Margaret sits on the wall of the Welsh House at Royal Lodge, Windsor in 1936

The replica gas stove with sparkling pots and pans beside a washing machine, mangle and apron, in the cottage

The replica gas stove with sparkling pots and pans beside a washing machine, mangle and apron, in the cottage

Princess Margaret sits on the wall of the Welsh House at Royal Lodge, Windsor in 1936, pictured left, and the replica gas stove with sparkling pots and pans beside a washing machine, mangle and apron, in the cottage, pictured right

The contents included a tiny radio, a little oak dresser and a miniature blue and gold china set. There was linen with the initial ‘E’ and a portrait of the Queen’s mother, the Duchess of York, hanging over the dining room mantelpiece. A bookcase filled with Beatrix Potter’s little books, including Jemima Puddleduck, ensured the girls never grew bored. Lattice windows, blue and white checked curtains, blue carpets and white walls finished off the decor.

The house also contained little books, pots and pans, food cans, brooms, a packet of Epsom salts and a radio licence, all made to order and to scale. In the kitchen, there was a gas cooker and a fridge which both worked. There was even a working, miniature-sized telephone. The house also had its own front garden with scaled down hedges and flower borders.

The presentation of the finished house was preceded by a narrowly averted disaster. When the house was in transit, first by low loader and then by a steam traction engine, the tarpaulin protecting it caught fire, destroying the thatched roof and many of the timbers. Luckily, the Sea Insurance Company had issued a miniature fire policy for £750 on the building and £500 on the contents.

Craftsmen worked day and night to repair the damage, with the final bill for all the work coming to an estimated £1,100. When it was finally ready, it was displayed at the Daily Mail’s Ideal Home Exhibition at Olympia for the masses to see. It was then reconstructed in Windsor Great Park for Elizabeth and became a favourite pastime.

The princesses spent many hours cleaning and tidying their tiny home, with Elizabeth in particular developing a reputation for being exceptionally neat. This was the children’s domain, and adults, who had to crouch to fit through the door, were admitted only by invitation.

Over the years, the Queen’s children have also played in the house as well as her grandchildren – most likely including Prince Harry – and her great-grandchildren. It’s thought to hold a special place in the hearts of all the royal children, but Princess Beatrice was especially captivated by it and refurbished the build in 2012. 

Under Beatrice’s guidance, new curtains and upholstery were put in, the paintwork was refreshed, the roof was rethatched and the cottage was rewired. The original blue colour scheme was replaced by pale green sofa coverings and cream curtains with tiny dark pink flowers.

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Link hienalouca.com

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