Prince Harry and his girlfriend Cressida Bonas have split up, but remain "the best of friends" after calling time on their two year relationship.
The pair had been widely tipped to walk up the aisle, with speculation growing in recent months that the 29-year-old fourth in line to the throne and 25-year-old Cressida would marry.
"It's very, very sad that they have decided to split. It's very amicable but they have decided to go their separate ways," a source close to the couple said.
Rumours that Cressida was "the one" for Harry gathered pace in March when she joined the Prince at one of his official engagements for the first time. They sat together and embraced in the stands at Wembley Arena at a We Day UK charity event.
The pair are still the "best of friends" and did not split because Harry found Cressida "too needy", the source added.
One of the reasons they decided to end their relationship was to enable Cressida, who completed a one year contemporary dance course at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in Greenwich, London, last year and now has a marketing job in London's West End, to concentrate on her career.
Cressida is also thought to have disliked the attention she faced while dating a member of the royal family as rumours of a possible engagement escalated.
The couple will be hoping their split will bring an end to the media interest in Cressida and allow her the privacy to focus on her work life.
But the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge broke up briefly and amicably during their long term relationship, four years before they married, which is likely to prompt suggestions that Harry and Cressida's decision to separate may eventually be temporary.
News of Harry and Cressida's split came on the day William and Kate celebrated their third wedding anniversary.
Harry and Cressida, who headed off on a skiing trip together to Kazakhstan last month, are said to have been introduced by the Prince's cousin and Cressida's friend Princess Eugenie. They began dating in May 2012.
Well connected in high society circles, aristocratic Cressida is the daughter of Old Harrovian businessman Jeffrey Bonas and Sixties "It girl" Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon - who once posed semi naked, streaked in engine oil, for a coffee table book called Birds of Britain in homage to her racing driver grandfather Francis, the 5th Earl Howe.
Lady Mary-Gaye has five children and has been married and divorced four times, providing Cressida with a large network of half siblings.
Cressida's half sister is Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe - once reportedly the object of the Duke of Cambridge's affection - who is now married to Sam Branson - the son of tycoon Sir Richard Branson.
Harry and Cressida holidayed on Sir Richard's Caribbean Necker island for Sam's birthday in the summer of 2012.
The Prince headed to Afghanistan for a tour of duty and was reunited with Cressida on his return in January 2013, setting off for a ski break with Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Sarah, Duchess of York and the Duke of York. Harry and Cressida were spotted hugging on the slopes.
A summer of festivals and gigs in 2013 saw the pair spending more and more time together, including a weekend at the Queen's private Sandringham retreat in Norfolk. Rumours of an engagement started to surface just 18 months after they began dating.
In January this year, Kensington Palace announced that Harry had switched the focus of his military career from a combat role flying Apache helicopters to a desk job helping to organise major ceremonial events involving the Army as a Staff Officer at HQ London District.
The post enabled Harry to focus on staging the Paralympic-style Invictus Games in the UK, but also meant he was able to see more of Cressida.
His most serious previous girlfriend was Chelsy Davy with whom he had a long-distance relationship while he was training in the Army and overseas and while Chelsy was at university in South Africa. They split and reunited a number of times.
The Prince, who turns 30 in September, has a busy few months ahead and is planning two overseas official royal tours, including a visit to Estonia and Italy in May, followed by a visit to Brazil and Chile in June, which is likely to coincide with the football World Cup.
Just hours before news of the split broke, Harry visited Tedworth House in Tidworth, Wiltshire and met more than 25 potential competitors who are hoping to take part in the wheelchair rugby, cycling and indoor rowing events at the Invictus Games, marking the beginning of a selection process for his championships.
Kensington Palace declined to comment.