Harry and Meghan leave The Royal Foundation to launch their own

20 June 2019, 14:21 | Updated: 20 June 2019, 15:34

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to split from the joint charity they run alongside their Cambridge counterparts and set up their own.

Less than 18 months after the couples appeared together at a Royal Foundation forum for the first and ultimately final time, it has been announced that Prince Harry and Meghan are to forge their own path.

It follows reports over the past year of a rift, first between Kate and Meghan and then Prince William and Harry, but sources have denied any such issues and the foundation said the move would give both couples the chance to "better align their charitable activity with their new households".

Harry and Meghan left the Cambridge household at Kensington Palace in May to start their own at Buckingham Palace, launched their own Instagram account, and now live at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

Royal sources have said the changes are "largely about preparing both couples for their future roles, which are obviously on divergent tracks".

The statement on the Royal Foundation website said: "Later this year the Royal Foundation will become the principal charitable and philanthropic vehicle for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will establish their own new charitable foundation with transitional operating support from The Royal Foundation."

Harry - who recently welcomed baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor - met with William and trustees of the foundation at Kensington Palace on Wednesday to finalise the split, but the duchesses were not there.

Despite the move, the Royal Foundation insisted that the couples would continue to work together in the future, including on the Heads Together mental health campaign.

But it still marks a major change to the makeup of the foundation, which William and Harry had been associated with since they launched it in 2009 to run all their charitable campaigns and ventures.

Kate joined when she became a member of the Royal family in 2011 and Meghan joined in May 2018, with the couples dubbed the "fab four" after appearing together at the forum in London last year.

It was supposed to become an annual event.

Looking ahead, there is speculation that Harry and Meghan may choose to focus their charitable efforts on overseas projects, possibly in the US, where Meghan is from, and Africa, a continent Harry is passionate about and already has a charity called Sentebale.