Why Prince William and Prince Harry's Split Is 'Future-Proofing' for Succession to the Throne

As heir, William will have very different responsibilities from his younger brother

Dividing Prince William and Prince Harry‘s offices was a necessary step moving forward for the royal family.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle split from Prince William and Kate Middleton, breaking up their joint “court” at Kensington Palace by creating two separate offices last month.

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.

“This is a future-proofing exercise,” a member of their team tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story about dividing the Sussex and Cambridge “courts.”


William has gravitated toward his grandmother, the Queen, for lessons in how to conduct himself publicly as monarch-in-waiting. But Harry sees his older brother as being hemmed in by protocol and a path that is already determined, say sources.

The Queen And Duke Of Cambridge Attend The Thistle Service In Edinburgh
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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.

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Pre-Ceremony, Windsor, Berkshire, UK - 19 May 2018
James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

Meghan and Harry recently launched their own Instagram page, while Kensington Palace made changes to focus more on William and Kate’s family. In addition, the royal parents-to-be moved out of London for Frogmore Cottage in Windsor Castle, about 25 miles away.

Commonwealth Day 2019
Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty

Despite the royal brothers’ very different roles, longtime palace staffers had the “homogenous idea” of the two princes working in tandem. However, it’s now clear that with their growing families, a united foursome wasn’t feasible.

“It was only going to work until they married — and it went on a while longer than perhaps was originally thought,” one palace courtier says.

“It’s a shame,” says a household source. “There was power in that unity and great strength in the foursome, but I see why it is happening. There is always that tension: trying to do the PR thing and then realizing that they are just real people. They want their own place and their own things.”

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