In The News

Horgan: Harry and Meghan, we’ve got a bargain manse for you

By JOHN HORGAN |PUBLISHED: January 16, 2020 at 5:20 am | UPDATED: January 16, 2020 at 5:43 am

You really can’t blame them too much. Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, are eager to be on their own.

They announced last week that, in a desire for more independence, they are seeking to greatly reduce their official roles in the Royal Family and pursue their particular progressive interests away from the incessant prying eyes of the salivating British media.

Good for them. However, they have taken a lot of grief for this move, especially the idea of living abroad for part of the year. Apparently, they are looking to move to North America (perhaps Canada) to create a second home.

It would give them a fresh start and put considerable distance between them and the rest of the British royals — and the salivating minions populating the scandal-loving London journalism warrens.

With all due deference, we would suggest that the couple consider something here on the Peninsula where the weather is placid (most of the time), liberal views are rampant and celebrity cash is often king.

Scott McNealy’s asking a record-smashing $96.8 million for his Palo Alto castle (REX Real Estate) 

Since cost is probably no object, they could afford just about anything located in these admittedly pricey parts. We have just the place for them.

The co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNealy, has greatly reduced the asking price for his 32,000-square-foot mansion on Los Trancos Road in Portola Valley.

It’s currently listed at $53.9 million, according to published reports over the last several months. For Harry and Meghan, it amounts to affordable housing. Earlier, the digs had been listed at $100 million. It’s a bargain — well, sort of.

Promotional blurbs indicate that the 20-room manse sits on 13.4 acres in relative isolation on a pristine hilltop. The huge house features such amenities as a basketball court, gym, wine cellar, theater, poker room, yoga studio and a climbing wall.

There’s even a safe room in case of an emergency or threat to the family. A guest house on the property could be used for Harry and Meghan’s security people. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the tabloids and their annoying paparazzi wouldn’t try to hover if they wanted to slip away for a quick meal at the nearby Alpine Inn.

Well, there’s always bangers and mash via Grubhub

The big chill 

You have to hand it to hardy administrators in the San Mateo Union High School District. They sometimes go beyond the call of duty.

Last week, three of them — Superintendent Kevin Skelly, Deputy Superintendent Kirk Black and Burlingame High School Principal Paul Belzer — took the plunge. Literally.

They helped to celebrate the opening of the re-built Burlingame High swimming pool by donning swimsuits, gritting their teeth and diving right in. It was no small physical challenge.

The evening temperature hovered in the low 50s, and the wind chill was even lower. It seemed to be getting close to polar bear weather by the time the chilled trio ignored the thermometer and jumped in.

You can be pretty sure this unusual aquatic pursuit is not part of their official job descriptions. The new pool, by the way, is a sparkling gem.

The last word

Speaking of quasi-arctic activity, our Alaska correspondent, John Egenolf (a San Mateo resident during his younger years), has checked in with an appropriate bumper sticker he spotted recently in Fairbanks.

It read: “The reason we are HERE is that we are not all THERE.”

Tell that to those three shivering public school guys.

John Horgan’s column appears weekly in the Mercury News. You can contact him by email at or by regular mail at P.O. Box 117083, Burlingame, CA 94011.