- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to officially step down from The Royal Foundation, the charity they shared with Prince William and Kate Middleton, could be yet another sign of family rivalry, according to royal experts.
- Kensington Palace announced on Thursday that while the couples will continue working together on the Foundation’s mental health programme, Heads Together, Harry and Markle will soon go on to create their own charity.
- The news has led many to speculate whether rumours of a “royal rift” between the couples have anything to do with the decision, or whether Harry and Markle’s reported working sabbatical in Africa is a factor.
- INSIDER spoke to royal experts, who weighed in on what the split could mean for both couples.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s decision to officially resign from The Royal Foundation, the charity they shared with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is yet another sign of family rivalry, according to royal experts.
Kensington Palace announced on Thursday that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be stepping away from the Foundation – established by William and Harry in 2009 – in order to start their own charity.
“Later this year The Royal Foundation will become the principal charitable and philanthropic vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,” the palace said in a statement.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will establish their own new charitable foundation with transitional operating support from The Royal Foundation.”
It went on to say that both couples will continue to work together on projects in the future, including on The Foundation’s mental health programme, Heads Together.
With no further explanation given by the palace, royal fans are now contemplating the reason behind the decision.
With the ongoing rumours of a rift between the couples, as well as reports that Harry and Markle could be relocating to Africa for a working sabbatical, there are certainly many possible causes of the split.
INSIDER spoke to royal experts who broke down what the split could means for the relationship between the two couples, and what could be in store for Harry and Markle’s future charity.
The split could indicate there’s still ‘rivalry’ within the family
There have been reports of a feud between the two couples ever since Markle married into the family in 2018.
These rumours only increased after it was announced Harry and Markle were splitting households from William and Kate earlier this year.
The two couples previously shared an office at Kensington Palace, however Harry and Markle were given permission by the Queen to open their own office with a new set of staff at Buckingham Palace.
Nonetheless, ITV royal editor Chris Ship recently said that the “issue” was only “between William and Harry.”
“There was an issue between William and Harry. It was written as a problem between the wives – that actually isn’t true,” he said on the Air Time podcast for ITV.
Despite Ship’s suggestion that their relationship is improving – “a royal aide told me recently that they’re back on track,” he said – the split has given fans the opposite impression.
In fact, The Sun’s royal correspondent Emily Andrews believes the “royal rift” hasn’t healed at all, and this is in fact the main reason for the split.
“Things did get very bad between the brothers and they didn’t see each other privately for a number of months after the royal wedding,” a source told Andrews.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told INSIDER that Prince Harry foreshadowed the split during the first – and only – Royal Foundation Forum last February.
“For months there have been rumours about difficulties in their relationship,” said Fitzwilliams, former editor of “The International Who’s Who.”
“When Harry said at the only meeting of the Royal Foundation Forum held last February ‘Working as a family does have its challenges,’ few interpreted this as referring to any rivalry. Subsequently things have radically changed.”
However, BBC royal commentator Kristen Meinzer has a different view.
Meinzer told INSIDER the split is “perfectly natural.” While the media are portraying the couple to be completely cutting ties with one another, this actually isn’t the case, she notes.
“I think it’s perfectly natural for a future monarch to have charities that are exclusively their own.
“One need only look at Prince Charles’ many charities – from the Prince’s Trust to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation. None of these are the Prince Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward Foundation. And that’s fine,” said Meinzer, host of the “When Meghan met Harry” podcast.
“Also, Will and Kate are not completely severing ties with Harry and Meghan. The four of them will still be working on other charitable projects together like Heads Together.”
Harry and Meghan’s new charity could have a feminist focus
Meinzer added that the split will allow Harry and Meghan to explore causes which are closer to their hearts, such as feminism.
“Both Meghan and Harry are feminists who see women’s rights as human rights,” she explained.
“Harry, visiting the charity Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, proudly declared himself a feminist this year.
“Meghan has demonstrated her commitment to feminism since she was a child calling out Proctor and Gamble for depicting housework as women’s work.
“I’m not sure that Will has ever referred to himself as a feminist, and I think the Old Guard still sees feminism as a controversial word. Harry and Meghan clearly don’t,” she added.
The resignation could mean rumours of a “working sabbatical” in Africa are true
Royal biographer Katie Nicholl previously told INSIDER that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could take a short working sabbatical in Africa and that Botswana is “high up on the couple’s wish list.”
The actual role the couple would undertake is yet to be seen, however it’s possible their new charity could have something to do with the move.
Harry and Markle are expected to relocate with baby Archie for a period between several months and two or three years – certainly enough time to establish a range of new projects.
Prince Harry’s recent royal engagements could also be an indication that Africa is the main priority. Last week, he attended the Sentebale Audi Concert in London, a charity event to support children and young people affected by HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, Botswana, and Malawi.
The concert, which was set up by Harry’s charity Sentebale, was described by the palace as a “celebration of African and Western culture” with performances by Rita Ora and George the Poet.
On Monday, he also attended the Chatham House Africa Programme event, where he spoke about the legacy his late mother, Princess Diana, left after her charity work with landmines in the continent.
“In fact I was told just the other day of the positive transformation in Huambo since my mother walked that minefield all those years ago,” he said in his speech.
In January 1997, the Diana made headlines across the world after walking though a live minefield in Angola. According to Fitzwilliams, the couple’s charity work is largely inspired by Diana’s own charity work in Africa.
“Diana is the inspiration,” he previously told INSIDER. “She was the one who got her message across to a global audience and broke the stigma surrounding HIV, AIDS, and landmines.”
Although the details surrounding the new charity are yet to be released, we can be certain the split will mean great change for the royal family.
Harry and Markle’s marriage in 2018 was a “turning point for the monarchy,” according to Nicholl – and it looks like the couple have no plans to slow down any time soon.
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