Prince Harry and girlfriend Cressida Bonas have split up, it has been announced, just hours after the prince visited Tedworth House in Tidworth.

The prince met more than 25 potential competitors at the Help For Heroes gym who are hoping to take part in the wheelchair rugby, cycling and indoor rowing events at the Invictus Games.

Prince Harry, 29, and his girlfriend Ms Bonas, 25,  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 Ms Bonas 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 the prince found Ms Bonas "too needy", the source added.

One of the reasons they decided to end their relationship was to enable Ms Bonas, 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.

Ms Bonas 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 Ms Bonas 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 the decision to separate may eventually be temporary.

The announcement of the split came on the day William and Kate celebrated their third wedding anniversary.

Prince Harry and Ms Bonas, 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.

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 Ms Bonas.

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 is 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.

Kensington Palace declined to comment.