Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are splitting from Prince William and Kate Middleton, breaking up their joint “court” at Kensington Palace by creating two separate offices, the palace announced Thursday. Meghan and Harry’s office be moving out of Kensington Palace and into Buckingham Palace, where the Queen resides, while William and Kate’s office will remain in Kensington Palace, where they live with their three children.
A family friend says of the royal brothers, “They have always been different, they are very different characters. They drew great comfort from each other when their mother died, and as they’ve grown up together. But they need to be separate. Now Meghan has arrived it is the right time to make that break.”
“The time has come,” the friend adds. “They are in their 30s and can’t be treated as young unmarried men any more. Now, they are spreading their wings. William more than Harry as he has his three children – but Harry is now starting his own – and it is time to move on.”
The move is a natural progression for the royal family, as William will one day become the Prince of Wales – and all that entails as heir to his father, Prince Charles – so William will have very different responsibilities from his younger brother.
And while it made sense for Prince William, 36, and Prince Harry, 34, to share one office when they were single men with limited public engagements, their marriages to Kate and Meghan added another element.
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“The arrival of Meghan has changed the dynamic of the relationship in a fairly significant way,” royals author Sally Bedell Smith previously told PEOPLE of the split. “It is inevitable and practical because it gives Harry and Meghan some freedom to build up their own collection of interests and charities.”
“Meghan has very strong views on what she is interested in and that may be what Harry shares, but not what William and Kate share,” she added.
It’s now practical for both families to have their own staff.
Royals author Robert Lacey says, “In this generation there are only two of them, and it makes sense for them to go their separate ways and create separate identities. Looking to the future, their children will proliferate around those two centers.”
this link opens in a new tabMeghan Markle and Kate MiddletonRichard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty
Meghan and Harry will leave Kensington Palace’s two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage, where they have lived since their engagement, this spring for their new home in Windsor. The couple’s official residence will be at Frogmore Cottage, and they won’t have any rooms at the palace.
tMeghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate MiddletonChris Jackson/Getty
Harry and Meghan’s new household will be predominantly supported by the Queen and Prince Charles. The Queen uses her own money, from the Duchy of Lancaster, to fund the offices of working members of the royal family. They will also have some money from Charles, via the Duchy of Cornwall, and some money, from the Sovereign Grant, to pay for the communications, headed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor Sara Latham.
A private secretary is being recruited, but it’s unknown how many more staffers they will have under the private secretary and Latham.
In an update from Kensington Palace, it was announced that Jason Knauf has been appointed as Senior Adviser to William and Kate. His responsibilities will include advising the royal couple on their charitable initiatives – including work on the environment, mental health, and early childhood – and supporting a review of the charitable structures that underpin their work. Christian Jones has been appointed as their Communications Secretary.
“I think it really is just a shift in priorities and interests,” Bedell Smith previously said of the split. “William is a husband and father of three and his focus is primarily on them, and Harry will soon be a father.
“Each of them will continue the very strong representative of the Queen in carrying out tasks and assignments that she, and probably their father, wants them to do,” she continued. “They are going to be sharing in this diffusion of activities on behalf of the Queen.”
But will we still see the royal foursome together? Absolutely!
There are a number of events, such as the annual Trooping the Colour and Commonwealth Day celebrations, where we’re sure to see William, Kate, Harry and Meghan all attend.