keeping up with the royals

Prince William and Prince Harry Are Officially Splitting Their Royal Courts

Prince William, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton.
Prince William, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Kate Middleton. Photo: Paul Grover/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace announced last week that Queen Elizabeth had agreed to formally split Prince William and Prince Harry’s royal courts, a division that had been rumored to be in the works for some time. As of this spring, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s office (or “household,” as it’s called) will be based at Buckingham Palace, while Prince William and Kate Middleton’s office will remain at Kensington Palace.

Now, Sunday’s Times reports that the Sussexes had wanted their new household to operate independently so that they could focus on their own philanthropy, humanitarian work, and activism. But the queen and Prince Charles, who jointly fund Prince Harry and the Duchess’s office, reportedly insisted that it should operate out of Buckingham Palace.

“They wanted their household to be entirely independent of Buckingham Palace, but were told ‘no,’” a royal source told the Times. “There is an institutional structure that doesn’t allow that kind of independence. The feeling is that it’s good to have the Sussexes under the jurisdiction of Buckingham Palace, so they can’t just go off and do their own thing.”

It was first reported back in November that the Sussexes and Cambridges would be splitting their royal courts — which led to weeks of nonstop tabloid rumors that the two brothers are not as close, as well as extremely tiresome claims that their wives, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, did not get along. Since then, the two couples put up united fronts during public outings, and by February, theTimes reported that the split was imminent.

At the time, the report stated the split would happen ahead of the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan’s first royal baby (whose due date is in late April). It seemed well-timed, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are also moving out of their home at Kensington Palace and into Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate in March. (The Times notes that the Sussexes are expected to eventually have an apartment at Buckingham Palace as well.)

In a statement on Thursday, we learned that the Sussex and Cambridge households will be operated out of different palaces, and former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Sarah Latham will lead communications for Prince Harry and Meghan, per Royal Central. Writing for Harper’s Bazaar, royal reporter Omid Scobie notes that the staff that previously worked for the Sussexes will remain at Kensington Palace under the Cambridges. A source told Scobie that the two couples will continue to serve as patrons of their Royal Foundation. They will also reportedly keep working together at Kensington Palace until the split is complete, as the Sussexes still need to hire a full staff. “It will be a step-by-step process,” the source said.

The brothers operated under the same office for years, and according to the Thursday announcement, Prince Harry has had a private office (that supported Meghan) since his engagement. The official court split (which, in essence, means that the Cambridge and Sussex families will formally operate under two separate offices) makes sense. The two princes have growing families: Kate and Prince William have three children (Prince George, 5; Princess Charlotte, 3; and Prince Louis, 9 months), and Meghan and Prince Harry are expecting their first child. Beyond that, Prince William will one day become the prince of Wales, and then eventually the king, so the Cambridges and Sussexes just naturally have different roles. So, it seems perfectly logical that they should officially have two separate offices.

Given that the Sussexes will soon be welcoming their first child, we hope all these big changes go as undramatically as possible, so they can focus on all the excitement of their own royal baby.

This post has been updated throughout.

Prince William and Prince Harry to Officially Split Courts