Society beauty Cressida Bonas was not ready for life in the royal spotlight but remains on good terms with Prince Harry, British newspapers said Wednesday after the couple reportedly split.
Sources said the break-up might only be temporary while the 25-year-old mulls over a lifetime of royal duty, just as Kate Middleton did before marrying Harry's brother Prince William.
The demise of their relationship comes only a month after Bonas joined Harry at an official engagement, a first which fuelled speculation of an impending marriage.
Army captain Harry, 29, who is fourth in line to the throne, has recently taken up a desk job in London after years away in the barracks, in theory giving him more opportunity to see her.
However, reports suggested blonde-haired Bonas, a dance graduate who has started a London job in marketing, was not yet ready to settle down and wanted to establish a career for herself.
Newspapers reported that the split may not be permanent.
"The relationship has certainly at least paused for a breather," a source told The Daily Telegraph.
"It is virtually impossible to have a successful romance and relationship in the full glare of the world's media," the source said, adding that it was "impossible to say" what the future held for the pair.
A friend told the broadsheet last month: "People talk to her about Harry and she gets quite cross and says, 'I don't want to get married yet'."
Meanwhile a source close to Bonas told the Daily Mail newspaper: "It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they got back together in a few months' time."
Harry's elder brother William split up with his future wife Kate in 2007, giving her time to consider whether she really wanted the onerous demands of royal life.
Harry's Kensington Palace office declined to comment, saying they would not discuss his private life.
The prince, who has taken up the cause of wounded soldiers, seemed in good spirits on Tuesday as he visited a recovery centre for injured service personnel.
Reportedly introduced to Harry by her friend and his cousin Princess Eugenie, the prince and Bonas were first spotted together in July 2012.
But wedding speculation was fuelled by her appearance at one of Harry's major official engagements.
Public appearances by unmarried royals and their partners at events are carefully choreographed, and taken as a sign of the relationship's status.
Harry and Bonas were seen cuddling in front of 12,000 people at a children's charity event at London's Wembley Arena, where he gave a speech.
Two days later, they sat together at a rugby international before going off skiing in Kazakhstan.
The Sun tabloid said the couple split after talks about their future.
A souce close to the pair was quoted as saying: "It's obviously very sad news indeed but it is an incredibly amicable split.
"Both Harry and Cressida are determined to remain the best of friends. It was a mutual decision to go their separate ways.
"It gives Cressida a chance to focus on her career."
Bonas comes from a bohemian but blue-blooded family.
Her mother is Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, a darling of the London social scene during the 1960s whose late father, Richard Curzon, was an earl who counted King Edward VII among his godparents.
Curzon was married four times and had Bonas with her third husband, entrepreneur Jeffrey Bonas.
Harry previously had a seven-year, on-off relationship with law graduate Chelsy Davy, the daughter of a Zimbabwe safari operator, between 2004 and 2011.