The truth about Prince William and Rose Hanbury's relationship

You've no doubt heard of Prince William and Rose Hanbury's alleged scandal, if you're even slightly interested in the British royal family, that is. Their rumored affair has been plastered all over tabloids since early 2019, leaving many people confused as Prince William has always seemed to be a devoted husband to his wife, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, 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. Still, while many people are all too willing to believe that Prince William is following in his father's footsteps of infidelity, others aren't quite sure what to believe. For starters, there's a distinct lack of evidence about the affair, and no one connected to the royal family has publicly commented on the alleged infidelity. Yet anonymous sources say that Prince William's alleged fling with Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (pronounced chum-lee), is common knowledge among Great Britain's privileged circles. What's going on? Is it even possible to unravel the truth of Prince William and Rose Hanbury's relationship? We're certainly going to try.

The rumors about Prince William and Rose Hanbury started a while ago

The news of the supposed affair was reported in April 2019, but rumors of infidelity had circulated for a year before it was shared by the mainstream press. According to the rumors, Prince William's alleged affair unfolded when wife Kate Middleton 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 Kate heard the rumors that were 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," a source told the magazine. "But the reality is, most couples have their issues and William and Kate are no different." Of course, there's a big difference between having normal couple problems and having a full-fledged affair. Is the royal couple's relationship really as troubled as the tabloids would have us believe?

A friend says Prince William has always had a "roving eye"

The relationship between Prince William and Kate Middleton goes back to the early 2000s. The pair become friends their first year at the University of St. Andrews in 2001 and, by 2003, had begun dating. 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 Prince William wasn't serious about Middleton, although he cared about her, and that 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," said the source. "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 Middleton was to him. Just a couple of months after the split, the two were back together and seemed to be stronger than ever.

Rose Hanbury and Kate Middleton were said to have once been close

Before the scandal erupted, Rose Hanbury and Kate Middleton seemed to be friends, or, at least, seemed to be on friendly terms. A 2016 article by Hello! described Hanbury as the duchess' friend and revealed that Hanbury and her husband, David Cholmondeley, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, lived just three miles away from Middleton and Prince William's residence, Anmer Hall.

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 about the friendship between the two couples.

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

Prince William's wife allegedly asked him 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 Kate Middleton still took action. Middleton is said to have told her husband to stop associating with not just Hanbury, but also with 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 affair broke, papers reported a rift between the two women. The Sun claimed that Middleton had 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 any more," a source stated. "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 any more and wants William to phase them out, despite their social status."

Is the queen forcing Prince William to stay married?

After In Touch broke the news of the rumored affair, other publications reported 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 Middleton had forgiven her husband. Others, however, might think that the pair are staying together because of Queen Elizabeth II's desire to avoid any more scandals in the family.

Back in 2006, the Sunday Express reported that a palace aide divulged the details of an alleged conversation Queen Elizabeth II had with her grandson before he married Middleton, as noted by a 2019 Express article. She allegedly told him to choose his bride carefully because there had been too many royal divorces and "enough was enough." If the conversation really transpired, the queen was no doubt referring to the divorce of Prince William's own parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and those of two of her other children. Only son Prince Edward has remained married to his first spouse; he celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary just a couple months after the published reports of his nephew's alleged infidelity.

Prince William got his lawyers involved

Even though Prince William is said to have denied the rumors, he didn't stand idly by as the press reported them. The rumors about Prince William and Rose Hanbury have become vicious enough that his lawyers have threatened legal action against the media outlets spreading them. The Daily Beast reported that, after the press broke the news of the alleged affair, 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," said Larcombe.

Rose Hanbury's marriage is rumored to be rocky

The seemingly solid relationship between Prince William and Kate Middleton makes it hard to believe that he would ever cheat. With a beautiful wife and three gorgeous kids, the prince looks like he is living in an actual fairytale. On the surface, at least, it appears that their life is idyllic.

Rose Hanbury's life might not be quite as charmed. While Middleton and William are close in age and have known each other since their youth, Hanbury's husband is much older. The 23-year difference in age doesn't just put them in different generations (Hanbury is a millennial while her husband is a boomer), but it also means that their marriage is statistically more likely to end in divorce.

A source who is a member of the same club as Hanbury's brother told The Sun that her marriage isn't the happiest, claiming to have heard the news from her brother. "He let it slip when he had been drinking that Rose is aware of what people are saying about her and William," the insider said. "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

While everybody seems to be going on with their lives and refusing to let the rumors control them, the press has remained relentless in scrutinizing the alleged relationship between Prince William and Rose Hanbury. 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 are stable in spite of rumors, except for one detail: Hanbury wasn't wearing her wedding ring.

Friends said that Hanbury hasn't been holding up well through the gossip. "People are worried about her," one source told the Daily Mail. "The most loyal friends are sticking by her but others, they haven't." The insider noted, "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 that Hanbury might have chosen to appear in public sans 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 Prince William's wedding

Before she became part of Kate Middleton'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 first child, as reported by Hello! magazine. 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. Her grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Longman, was close friends with Prince William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and was even a bridesmaid at her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip (via People).

While Hanbury wasn't part of the wedding party when Middleton 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 is reportedly friends with Rose Hanbury's husband

According to the Daily Mail, the friendship between the two couples goes even deeper than play dates and dinner parties. Rose Hanbury and Kate Middleton aren't the only ones who were said to have enjoyed a close personal friendship. Prince William and the marquess David Cholmondeley were also reportedly quite close before the rift and enjoyed the company of one another beyond the double dates with their wives.

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

The press has long hinted at a rivalry between Kate Middleton and Rose Hanbury

It's quite likely that the gossip about an affair is 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 Kate Middleton 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 Middleton, making her the true queen of the "turnip toffs," the nickname given by the press to Middleton's friends.

Is the rivalry real or just something made up on a slow news day? One 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, who claimed to be a family friend. "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."

A friend said that Kate Middleton doesn't believe the rumors

According to a friend, Kate Middleton doesn't actually believe the rumors of her husband's infidelity. If true, the fact that she seems to be distancing herself and her husband from Rose Hanbury might be 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 that the royal couple "generally ignore these sorts of nasty rumors" and are actually worried for their friend. "And it doesn't just hurt them, they are very concerned for Rose," said the source. "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 Middleton 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, noting, "She trusts William and doesn't want to give the rumors any attention."

Rose Hanbury and her family refuse to comment on rumors

Aside from Prince William's lawyers warning the press to back off, the royal family has remained quiet about the speculated affair as well as the alleged rift between Rose Hanbury and Kate Middleton. Hanbury's family is also refusing to add fuel to the rumors and has been avoiding the press. Just before the press reported on the alleged affair, the Daily Mail asked Hanbury's parents about the rift between Middleton 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."

Hanbury isn't saying anything about the affair, either, although a spokesperson made a statement on her behalf after the news broke. "There is no foundation to any of the tabloid articles that have appeared," said the representative (via the International Business Times). "There is nothing else to say whatsoever."