The Truth About Prince William And Rose Hanbury's Relationship

If you're even slightly interested in the British royal family, you've no doubt heard of Prince William and Rose Hanbury's rumored affair. The speculations were plastered all over tabloids in early 2019, leaving many people confused since Prince William had always seemed to be a devoted husband to his wife, Princess Catherine, not to mention a loving father to their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

Of course, the royal family is no stranger to scandals. Anonymous sources said that William's alleged fling with Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (pronounced chum-lee), is common knowledge among Britain's privileged circles. This caused many people to believe that William was following in his father's footsteps of infidelity. But others weren't quite sure. For starters, there was a distinct lack of evidence about the affair, and no one connected to the royal family publicly commented on the alleged infidelity.

Then, in 2024, things took a turn when Princess Catherine disappeared from public view, prompting many to wonder if her marriage to William was on the rocks. The affair rumors were once again ignited leading Hanbury to take legal action. Of course, since Princess Catherine's cancer diagnosis was announced, the public understood the reason for her absence, leaving many to wonder about the validity of the affair claims.

The rumors of Prince William and Rose Hanbury's alleged affair began in 2019

The news of a supposed affair between Prince William and Rose Hanbury was reported in April 2019, but rumors of infidelity circulated for a year before it was shared by the mainstream press. According to the rumors, William's alleged affair unfolded when Princess Catherine was pregnant with their third child, Prince Louis, who was born on April 23, 2018. This means that by the time the press picked up on the potential scandal, at least a year had passed since the alleged affair took place. 

An anonymous source told In Touch (via the Daily Beast) that Catherine heard rumors circling among British high society and confronted her husband. William reportedly "just laughed it off saying there was nothing to it."

"They come across as a perfect couple who can do no wrong," the source said. "But the reality is, most couples have their issues and William and Kate are no different."

A source claimed Prince William has always had a 'roving eye'

The relationship between Prince William and Princess Catherine goes back to the early 2000s. The pair became friends their first year at the University of St. Andrews in 2001 and began dating in 2003. 

In 2007, the couple hit a rough patch and briefly split up. While they were on the break, an anonymous source told the Daily Mail that William wasn't serious about Catherine, and although he cared about her, he wasn't ready to settle down yet. "He has always had a roving eye, far more so than Harry, who is meant to be the family playboy," the source quipped. "That's something Kate has always known and accepted — it was part of the deal, if you like. I suppose in that respect, she would have made a perfect Princess of Wales."

In spite of the rumors at the time, the prince proved just how important Catherine was to him. Just a couple of months after the split, the two were back together and seemed to be stronger than ever.

Princess Catherine allegedly asked Prince William to distance himself from Rose Hanbury

Although Prince William reportedly denied the affair with Rose Hanbury when confronted by his wife about the rumors, In Touch said that Princess Catherine still took action. The Princess of Wales was said to have told her husband to stop associating with not just Hanbury, but also her husband, effectively ending the friendship between their children as well. "Kate sees their friendship in an entirely different light now," a source told the magazine (via the Daily Beast).

Even before the news of the alleged affair broke, papers reported a rift between the two women. The Sun claimed Catherine told William that Hanbury needed to be "phased out" of their inner circle. "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 anymore," a source claimed. "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."

According to an insider, Princess Catherine didn't believe the rumors

According to an alleged friend, Princess Catherine didn't actually believe the rumors of her husband's infidelity. If true, the fact that she seemed to be distancing herself and her husband from Rose Hanbury might have been to put the rumors to rest by giving the press no opportunities to photograph her husband with the marchioness.

The anonymous source told Hollywood Life in April 2019 that the royal couple "generally ignore these sorts of nasty rumors" and were actually worried for their friend. "And it doesn't just hurt them, they are very concerned for Rose," the source relayed. "She's a married woman with children, and she's not used to this kind of public scrutiny. She's a friend of not only Kate's but also the entire family, so this is upsetting for everyone."

The source added that, while Catherine is "extraordinarily strong" and "good at rising above these kinds of things," she is still upset about the rumors. "They don't feel good, even though she doesn't believe them," the insider shared. "She trusts William and doesn't want to give the rumors any attention."

Rose Hanbury and Princess Catherine were once reportedly close

Before the scandal erupted, Rose Hanbury and Princess Catherine seemed to be friends, or at least, seemed to be on friendly terms. An article originally published in 2016 by Hello! described Hanbury as the princess' friend and revealed that she and her husband, David Cholmondeley, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, lived just 15 minutes away from Anmer Hall, the Prince and Princess of Wales' country home.

Their proximity led to a natural friendship between the couples and their families, as did their mutual aristocratic backgrounds. Before the rumored affair, the two couples were said to be quite close, setting up play dates for their children and even attending weddings together. "William and David's backgrounds are similar while Kate and Rose's lives were at similar points," a source told The Sun in a since-deleted article.

Friends told the paper that Catherine and Hanbury bonded over their love of organic food and frequently talked about parenting. The two couples also reportedly enjoyed many dinner parties together.

Queen Elizabeth allegedly forced Prince William to stay married

After In Touch broke the news of the rumored affair, other publications in 2019 began reporting that the royal marriage was struggling but that there was no chance of the couple divorcing. Some might interpret the couple's decision to stay together as proof that nothing happened or, at the very least, that Princess Catherine had forgiven her husband. However, others believed the pair were staying together because Queen Elizabeth II wanted to avoid any more scandals in the family.

In 2006, the Sunday Express reported that a palace aide divulged the details of an alleged conversation between Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William before he married Catherine. The monarch allegedly told her grandson to choose his bride carefully because there had been too many royal divorces and "enough was enough" (via Express). If the conversation really transpired, the queen was no doubt referring to the divorce of Prince William's own parents, King Charles III and Princess Diana, as well as Princess Anne and Prince Andrew's divorces.

Prince William eventually got his lawyers involved to extinguish the rumors

Even though Prince William was said to have denied the rumors, he didn't stand idly by as the press reported them. The rumors about William and Rose Hanbury had become vicious enough that his lawyers threatened legal action against the media outlets spreading them.

In June 2019, at least one British publication was served a warning by Harbottle and Lewis, a law firm working on behalf of the royal family. The warning said that "in addition to being false and highly damaging, the publication of false speculation in respect of our clients' private life also constitutes a breach of his privacy pursuant to Article 8 of the European Convention to Human Rights."

Duncan Larcombe, who previously worked as royal editor of The Sun, told the Daily Beast that taking legal action "is very much a move of last resort" as well as a break from tradition. "While traditionally, the British royal family would not take specific legal action — the old saying was 'never complain and never explain' — William and Harry are willing to do it in their own way," Larcombe remarked.

Rose Hanbury's marriage is believed to be on rocky territory

The truth about Rose Hanbury's marriage to David Cholmondeley is also one marred by scandal. Not only is Hanbury accused of adultery with Prince William, but Cholmondeley's personal life is also flooded with impropriety.

The 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley has long been connected to the disgraced photographer François-Marie Banier who was found guilty of money laundering in 2015. The pair have known each other since the '80s but wagging tongues have alleged their relationship goes beyond friendship due to the amount of time the two men spend together. "Just read that #RoseHanbury's husband has a male lover & he only needed Rose to produce Heirs to his estate & that they have an open marriage, leaving Rose to fully engage with Prince William," one user tweeted.

"Rose is up there in Norfolk in a nice stately pile," an anonymous source told The Sun (via Inquisitr). "She's a pretty girl and David is often a long way away in Paris or London." The source, who is a member of the same club as Hanbury's brother, also noted that the couple's marriage isn't the happiest. "He [Hanbury's brother] let it slip when he had been drinking that Rose is aware of what people are saying about her and William," the insider confessed. "And it seems Rose's marriage has less romance these days. He's much older than her and they have different interests."

Rose Hanbury appeared at a banquet without her wedding ring amid the speculations

New life was breathed into the rumors in June 2019, when Hanbury appeared with her husband at a state banquet for President Donald Trump at Buckingham Palace. Appearing at the public event with her husband could have been taken as a sign that the couple were stable despite rumors, except for one detail: Hanbury wasn't wearing her wedding ring.

Friends said that Hanbury hadn't been holding up well through the gossip. "People are worried about her," one source told the Mail on Sunday (via Hollywood Life). "The most loyal friends are sticking by her but others, they haven't. On top of that, she has a husband who is away more than he is present. It has been a lonely time."

Of course, there are any number of reasons why Hanbury might have chosen to appear in public sans a wedding ring. While it's possible she is having marital problems, she might also have been having her ring resized or cleaned.

Rose Hanbury was at William and Catherine's wedding

Before she became part of Princess Catherine's circle of friends, Rose Hanbury worked as a model and was signed to Storm, the same agency that discovered Kate Moss. She also briefly worked in Parliament. Hanbury married her husband in 2009 when she was pregnant with their twins. At the time of their marriage, the aristocrat was considered to be one of the most eligible bachelors in the country. 

While the marchioness obtained her title through marriage, she has aristocratic roots herself. Rose Hanbury's grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Longman, was close friends with Queen Elizabeth II and was even a bridesmaid at her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip. While Hanbury wasn't part of the wedding party when Catherine married Prince William in 2011, she was present at the royal event, where she was considered to be one of the best-dressed guests in attendance.

Prince William was reportedly friends with Rose Hanbury's husband

The friendship between the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley goes even deeper than play dates and dinner parties. Rose Hanbury and Princess Catherine aren't the only ones who were said to have enjoyed a close personal friendship. Prince William and David Cholmondeley were also reportedly quite close before the alleged rift and enjoyed the company of one another beyond the double dates with their wives.

Cholmondeley's relationship with the royal family goes back further than his ties with the prince, though. The marquess isn't just friends with William but is also a friend of his father, King Charles III. He also had a special link to Queen Elizabeth II. At the age of 14, Cholmondeley was awarded the title of "page of honor" by Queen Elizabeth. The marquess was also the Lord Great Chamberlain and was responsible for overseeing things when the queen opened parliament each year, meaning that he had, at minimum, annual contact with Prince William's grandmother.

The press hinted at a rivalry between Princess Catherine and Rose Hanbury

It's quite likely that the gossip about the alleged royal affair was nothing more than a vicious rumor that has spiraled out of control. This wouldn't be the first time the tabloids have tried to pit Rose Hanbury and Princess Catherine against each other. In 2016, the Daily Mail portrayed the friends as frenemies, implying that Hanbury's lavish lifestyle might make her even more worthy of envy than Catherine, making her the true queen of the "turnip toffs" — the nickname given by the press to the Princess of Wales' friends.

Is the rivalry real or just something made up on a slow news day? One family source told the Daily Mail in March 2019, shortly before the press published rumors of the affair, that there was no truth to the alleged rift between the women. "These hurtful rumors of a fall-out are simply false," said the source. "William and David were in touch with each other over the weekend, not knowing whether to laugh or complain. Both wives are hurt by the suggestion that there is any argument or even a coolness between them."

Princess Catherine and Rose Hanbury appeared to be on good terms

After the rumor mill first went into a frenzy over Prince William and Rose Hanbury's alleged affair, Hanbury seemingly retreated from public life, perhaps waiting for everything to blow over. In January 2020, she resurfaced with her husband at the first Sunday church service of the year at Sandringham church St. Mary Magdalene. Also in attendance at the service were Prince William, Princess Catherine, and Queen Elizabeth II. While the couples weren't photographed together, Tatler noted that, despite everything that happened the previous year, Catherine and Hanbury appeared to be "amicable" and "relaxed" at the service.

While it could be assumed that Hanbury and her husband were coincidentally at the same service as William and Catherine, the outlet noted that the first service of the year is the only service that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend at St. Mary Magdalene, and their annual presence at the service is a known tradition. Hanbury's attendance at the service, then, could very well have been a deliberate move to show that she and Catherine remain on friendly terms.

Rose Hanbury's family refused to comment on the rumors

Aside from Prince William's lawyers warning the press to back off, the royal family remained quiet about the speculated affair as well as the alleged rift between Rose Hanbury and Princess Catherine. Hanbury's family also refused to add fuel to the rumors and avoided the press. Before the press reported on the alleged affair in early 2019, the Daily Mail asked Hanbury's parents about the rumored rift between the Princess of Wales and their daughter. While the paper said the Hanburys "expressed surprise" at the falling out between the two, they refused to comment further. "Nothing to say about it," Hanbury's father stated. "Got no comment. There is no comment."

During the initial rumors in 2019, Hanbury didn't say anything about the affair either, although a spokesperson for the Cholmondeleys made a statement on her behalf after the news broke. "There is no foundation to any of the tabloid articles that have appeared," warned the representative (via the International Business Times). "There is nothing else to say whatsoever."

However, five years later, the rumors were rife once again but this time with a slew of internet-fueled conspiracy theories that prompted Hanbury to take legal action.

Rose Hanbury finally responded to the affair rumors in 2024

During the first few months of 2024, Princess Catherine's absence from the public eye sparked wild rumors. Many chimed in on the online speculation offering theories that ranged from cosmetic surgeries gone wrong to a collapse in her marriage, with Prince William fanning the flames of the rumors with a single statement on X, formerly Twitter. However, things became even more tense when Stephen Colbert poked fun at the long-rumored affair between the Prince of Wales and Rose Hanbury.

Though Colbert was just one of many celebrities to weigh in on Prince William's affair rumors, his jokes about William and Hanbury resulted in the accused adulterer publicly commenting on the alleged affair through her lawyers. On March 16, Hanbury's legal team told Business Insider that "the rumors are completely false." Furthermore, In Touch learned that Hanbury's team performed damage control with media powerhouses to extinguish any further rumors. "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 said.

When Princess Catherine finally revealed the reason for her absence as a cancer diagnosis, Colbert acknowledged the jokes he made on his show and extended well wishes to the princess from himself and "The Late Show" team.