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What the Splitting of Royal Households Means for Meghan, Prince Harry, Kate and Prince William

With William set to become the Prince of Wales, his responsibilities will soon be quite different than Harry's.

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Photography by: Stephen Pond / Getty

There are changes in store for the royal family.

 

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 will 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.

 

Related: Get a look at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Countryside Home

 

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.

 

"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."

 

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.

 

This post originally appeared on PEOPLE.com by Simon Perry and Stephanie Petit.