In 2019, the royal rumour mill erupted with news of an alleged affair.
To recap, one of Kate Middleton‘s close friends, Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley—neatly dubbed her “rural rival,” as they both lived in Norfolk—was accused of having an affair with Prince William. Middleton and Hanbury then allegedly had a falling-out, which ended with Middleton having Hanbury and her husband ‘phased out’ of their friendship group.
Of course, since it’s not royal protocol to comment or denounce every rumour, we’ve relied on reports to tell us the rumours are fairly unfounded and the two royal ladies have no feud to speak of—they even both attended the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2020, and are expected to be at King Charles’ coronation.
Us Weekly reported at the time that the rumours “turned out to be a good thing for them in the end.”
A family friend of the Middletons divulged to the outlet, “Kate finds the rumours hurtful, obviously, and hates the thought that one day her children will be able to read about them online.”
“It forced her and William to sit back and examine their relationship, which they realised they should have been doing more often.”
Another sourced noted that the initial rumours “didn’t go down well” with the Duchess, but that their marriage remains strong.
“[They] are doing a great job at getting their marriage back on track again,” that source said. “It’s not unusual to have a few hiccups in a marriage, especially after eight years, and Kate and William are no different. They’re still going strong. Regardless of their ups and downs, they love each other dearly and their kids are the most important thing in their lives.”
Who is Rose Hanbury?
Rose Hanbury, whose official name is Sarah Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, was part of Kate and William’s inner circle for many years, and was an attendee at both Prince Philip’s memorial service and Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
Prior to marrying her husband, David Cholmondeley, the 7th Maquess of Cholmondeley, in 2009, she worked as a fashion model and was represented by Storm Models agency. She was also a researcher for Tory MP Michael Gove.
Rose and David share three children together: 13-year-old twins Oliver Timothy and Alexander Hugh, and seven-year-old Iris Marina Aline.
Oliver will be making an appearance at the coronation as one of King Charles‘ pages of honour.