Why The Rose Hanbury Affair Rumors Started Again With William's Latest Appearance

Rumors of an affair between Prince William and family friend Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, have been swirling for years. While a liaison between the two has never been publicly confirmed, tabloids have made much of the story with one source insisting to the Daily Mail that William "has always had a roving eye."

Kate and William have ignored the rumors and appear to be happier than ever, though, and also seem to be on good terms with Hanbury. By all appearances, Hanbury is also happy in her marriage to David Cholmondeley.

Still, the public loves a royal scandal — whether real or imagined — and rumors about William and Hanbury have never really died down, although they've taken a backseat as of late in light of other scandals such as the controversy around Prince Andrew. But the rumors have now started up again after William's recent appearance at this year's Parliament Opening. What made royal watchers kick the rumor mill into high gear again?

Twitter was quick to revive the rumors

As Twitter users were quick to point out, Prince William and David Cholmondeley were both in attendance at the Opening of Parliament. "Did Prince William just walk behind David Cholmondeley? Husband to one Rose Hanbury," tweeted one account.

Cholmondeley's presence is not surprising, though; as Lord Great Chamberlain, his attendance is actually expected. Per Tatler, he was seen at last year's ceremony, where he carried the Imperial State Crown — an act he repeated this year (via Express). In 2021, the queen herself walked behind the Lord Great Chamberlain since he was carrying the Imperial State Crown, which is the symbol of the sovereign's power, via CNN.

Yet people found the fact that William walked behind Cholmondeley amusing in light of the rumors about him and Hanbury, with many social media users tweeting the hashtag "#PrinceWilliamAffair." Others brought up Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla, who infamously had an affair while Charles was married to Princess Diana. "A repeat of history," tweeted one person. "Rose's husband just needs to look to Charles and Camilla to see how this story ends."

Rumors about an affair between Prince William and Rose Hanbury started in 2019

When anything happens in high society, gossip spreads like wildfire, and there were rumors of a falling out between Kate Middleton and Rose Hanbury in 2019, according to the Daily Mail. That rumor, as it happens, centered around an alleged affair between Prince William and Rose Hanbury, with it being reported that Kate was going to "phase out" Hanbury from their mutual friend group, per Marie Claire Australia. Fuel to the rumor fire was stoked when Giles Coren, a reporter for The Times of London posted — then deleted — a tweet that read in part, "Everyone knows about the affair, darling."

It didn't help the rumor mill that Hanbury is closer in age to William than she is to her husband; he's 23 years her senior, according to Tatler. The couples have also lived close to each other and run in the same social circles; they both have houses in Norfolk with Hanbury and her husband living in Houghton Hall and William and Kate in Anmer Hall — though William and Kate are contemplating a move to Windsor this summer.

Neither Kate Middleton nor Prince William have publicly acknowledged the rumors

While royal gossip can take over a news cycle, neither Kate Middleton nor Prince William have personally commented on the affair allegations. In fact, a family friend told Us Weekly in 2019 that, "Kate finds the rumors hurtful, obviously, and hates the thought that one day her children will be able to read about them online." And per The Daily Beast, after In Touch published a story about an affair between Rose Hanbury and Prince William in 2019, the Duke of Cambridge had lawyers send a warning to British publications about publishing anything on the topic. At the time, as reported by the Daily Mail, none of the involved parties understood where the rumors of a falling out between the two women or of an affair were coming from.

The gossip wheel began turning again –about a Hanbury and William affair — in December 2021 when journalist Alex Tiffin tweeted about the alleged liaison. He seemed to hint that the media knew about the affair and helped keep it quiet, per Geo News. Subsequently, the 2022 Parliament opening lineup seems to be keeping it at the forefront for some.

While people are cracking jokes about the rumored affair, the quips aren't getting as much traction as the fact that Prince Charles took the place of Queen Elizabeth at the ceremony, delivering the opening remarks as her health was too poor to attend (via the Daily Mail). Charles appeared quite emotional over Elizabeth's absence, leaving many worried about the monarch's health.