Rose Hanbury Takes Action On Claims She Had An Affair With Prince William

The media was a frenzy of affair rumours during Kate Middleton's public absence, and it's not the first time.

Did Prince William have an affair with Rose Hanbury? The question has permeated media reports for years since the unsubstantiated rumours arose in 2019, and has recently reached fever pitch with Kate Middleton’s extended absence from the public eye due to an abdominal surgery.

Now, Rose Hanbury has released a statement on the matter, formally addressing the claims and sent a legal notice to at least one media organisation. It’s a change of pace from Middleton and Hanbury’s prior approach, which was to ignore the issue as there was little evidence to prove it so.

So, why has Hanbury broken her silence now?

How Kate Middleton’s Absence Spurred Affair Rumours

Despite telling the public that she would be keeping a low profile until Easter due to surgery, rumours swirled online that Middleton was ‘missing in action’. The situation was made worse when Middleton released a photo with her children for Mother’s Day that had been digitally edited. The Princess was forced to release a statement explaining that as an ‘amateur photographer’ she occasionally experiments with editing.

With the public rumours of her MIA status far from assuaged, the Rose Hanbury affair rumours roared back to life.

“The kingdom has been all aflutter by the seeming disappearance of Kate Middleton. Well now, internet sleuths are guessing that Kate’s absence may be related to her husband and the future king of England William having an affair,” Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

“So, I think we all know who the alleged other woman is. Say it with me – the Marchioness of Cholmondeley – what a beautiful name!” he joked.

William and Catherine chat to Rose as she hosts a gala dinner to support East Anglia's Children's Hospices at Houghton Hall in 2016
William and Catherine chat to Rose as she hosts a gala dinner to support East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices at Houghton Hall in 2016. (Credit: Getty)

Who Is Rose Hanbury?

Sarah Rose Hanbury is the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, a member of the British nobility and a former model and political staffer. She has also been a prominent figure within Kate and William’s inner circle for a long time. Her presence was notable at both Prince Philip’s memorial service and Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.

Before her marriage to David Rocksavage Cholmondeley, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, in 2009, Rose Hanbury pursued a career as a fashion model, represented by the esteemed Storm Models agency. Additionally, she worked as a researcher for Tory MP Michael Gove.

Rose and David are proud parents to three children: 14-year-old twins Oliver Timothy and Alexander Hugh, as well as eight-year-old Iris Marina Aline. They live at Houghton Hall, which is located in Norfolk, not far from where the Prince and Princess of Wales live at Anmer Hall.

It’s worth mentioning that her son, Oliver, had a significant role at the coronation of King Charles, serving as one of his pages of honour, alongside Prince George. David Cholmondeley was also named King Charles III’s ‘lord-in-waiting’.

What Happened Between Kate Middleton And Rose Hanbury?

Kate Middleton and Rose Hanbury were thought to be close friends until 2019, when rumours of a falling out were reported by The Sun

It reported that the Princess of Wales and Rose’s friendship soured with Kate seeing her as a “rural rival” and wanting her “phased out” of their close-knit country community. Sources allegedly added the rift was so bad, Prince William tried to step in to “try to broke peace”. 

“It is well known that Kate and Rose have had a terrible falling out. They used to be close but that is not the case any more,” an insider told the publication. “William wants to play peacemaker so the two couples can remain friends, given they live so close to each other and share many mutual friends. But Kate has been clear that she doesn’t want to see them anymore and wants William to phase them out, despite their social status.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William
(Credit: Getty)

Royal commentator Richard Kay revealed in his column for the Daily Mail that both parties were considering legal action over the claims. 

Twitter went wild that the breakdown in their friendship was due to a rumoured (and unsubstantiated) affair between William and Rose. The Times food writer Giles Coren wrote,  “Yes. It is an affair. I haven’t read the piece but I know about the affair. Everyone knows about the affair, darling.”

His Tweet was quickly deleted. 

Neither Kensington Palace nor the Cholmondeleys commented on the matter at the time, however The Daily Mail’s Richard Kay said the allegations were totally “false” and were spread to “damage Kate”.

“Both wives are hurt by the suggestion that there is any argument or even a coolness between them. They have plans for future events involving their charity,” a source told the publication.

The History Between Rose Hanbury, Prince William and Kate Middleton

Prince William and Kate Middleton met as young adults at St. Andrew’s University back in 2001 and began dating two years later in 2003. In 2010, Prince William proposed to Kate while on a trip to Kenya, and the two wed in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 2011

Meanwhile, Rose is connected to the British family through her paternal grandmother, Lady Rose Lambert, as well as through her marriage to the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley. Lady Rose Lambert was so close to the crown that she was actually a bridesmaid at the late Queen’s wedding to Prince Philip in 1947.

Prince William and Rose Hanbury would likely have been in similar social circles in their youth, but their friendship was never substantiated before both the Cholmondeley’s and the Wales’ moved to Norfolk.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had been happily married for nearly eight years and are the proud parents of three beautiful children – Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 11-months (at the time).

However, the picture perfect couple were then rocked by claims that Middleton’s friend, Rose, had an affair with Prince William.

How Has Rose Hanbury Addressed The Latest Affair Rumours?

In March 2023, Rose Hanbury chose to break her silence about the rumours that have plagued her for five years, given Kate Middleton’s extended absence from royal life.

According to Business Insider, through Hanbury’s lawyers, she said that “the rumours [sic] are completely false.”

A few days after this news broke, In Touch broke the news that Rose Hanbury’s lawyers had sent a notice to CBS, the network behind The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

“The rumor appears to have entered into the mainstream media recently as a result of another joke made about it on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. We have written on our client’s behalf to CBS and various other reputable media organisations to confirm that the allegation is false,” Hanbury’s lawyers told In Touch in a statement.

While it might seem obvious that Hanbury would deny the affair, given it is the first time that she has even acknowledged the allegations, this was a turning point in the story.

Since then, no new rumours have surfaced about Rose Hanbury and Prince William having an affair, and most media outlets have put their attention onto Kate Middleton’s health, as well as usual public appearances and royal business.

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