Prince William and Prince Harry have decided to cut ties with their late mother, Prince Diana's, memorial fund. ET has learned that the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund's money has been split between the two brothers. William, 38, has attributed those funds to the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry, 35, asked for the money to go to Sentebale, the charity he set up to honor his mother and her work.
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was set up in 1997 after Diana's death to continue her humanitarian work in the U.K. and overseas. While the fund closed in 2012, The Royal Foundation would still receive money from legacies and other donors. Per its annual report, last year it received $27,000.
Harry and wife Meghan Markle departed from The Royal Foundation, which also includes Kate Middleton, in June of last year to start their own charity.
The Royal Foundation was set up by William, Kate and Harry in 2011. Meghan made her first appearance in connection with the organization in February 2018, before officially joining in June 2018 following her wedding to Harry.
Harry and Meghan went on to create Sussex Royal. However, after stepping down as senior members of the royal family earlier this year and not able to continue to use the word "royal," they began looking for a new title for their foundation.
A Sussex spokesperson released a statement to ET in February, saying, “While the Duke and Duchess are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organization, given the specific U.K. government rules surrounding use of the word 'royal,' it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organization, when it is announced this Spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation."
Over the weekend, paperwork was filed with Companies House and the Charity Commission to formally close the charity down. This will appear on the online public record in the coming days. The charity formally enters a period of "solvent liquidation."
During this period all trustees will step down from their roles, except for Harry, who will formally remain as a Director and Trustee until the liquidation process is complete. During its 12-months, the sole program in operation and development at the charity has been the sustainable travel and tourism initiative, Travalyst.
A source tells ET that "the Duke and Duchess remain incredibly grateful for the support and guidance the Trustees have given during this period."
"The travel and tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic, with communities and peoples livelihoods heavily impacted around the world. The Travalyst partnership is committed to playing an active role in helping communities that rely on tourism rebuild and recover in ways that support their long-term sustainability and resilience," the source says, adding that the pair "will have more to announce on this in the coming weeks and months.”
Queen Elizabeth II previously announced that she entirely supported the couple's decision to step back from a life of royalty, noting that in doing so they would lose part of the HRH titles, become financially independent from the royal family and split their time between North America and the U.K.
As the Sussexes began to distance themselves from the royal family, rumors began that Harry and William were having problems. In May, however, following much reported tension in their relationship, ET learned that the brothers were “back in touch.”
The restrengthening of their brotherly bond came following a hectic few months which saw their father, Prince Charles, battle the coronavirus, Harry moving to North America with his family while stepping down from royal duties, and reported conflict between Meghan and Kate.
“There have been clearly some quite major rifts in that relationship, but things have got better and I know that William and Harry are in touch on the phone,” royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET. “They have done video calls together, they have done a lot of family birthdays and I think with Prince Charles not being well, that really forced the brothers to pick up the phone and get back in touch.”
The brothers were said to have started working on mending their relationship in February. But Nicholl said with Harry feeling homesick in L.A., it had been the “right time” to reconnect with William. Furthermore, the supposed tension between Meghan and Kate had waned, according to Nicholl.
For more on William and Harry's relationship, see below.