Who Is Rose Hanbury? Prince William's Alleged Affair with Glamorous Marchioness of Cholmondeley Resurfaces Amid Kate Middleton Drama

Rumors surrounding the alleged affair between William and Hanbury surfaced in 2019 when In Touch magazine reported the claim.

Rose Hanbury is hogging the limelight again as rumors swirl around Prince William and Kate Middleton's relationship. In Britain's aristocratic circles, she is known as Lady Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (pronounced "Chumley"). She has been linked to the British Royal Family through her affluent family and their prestigious place in British high society.

"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 Tuesday's episode of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert." What's he talking about?

Sparking Rumors Afresh

Rose Hanbury
Rose Hanbury X

Middleton, 42, has rarely been seen in public since undergoing planned abdominal surgery in January. Speculative conspiracy theories regarding her whereabouts and the cause of her prolonged absence have circulated widely on social media.

Prince William, 41, has refrained from addressing questions about his wife's condition and her recovery from an unspecified medical issue.

Kate  Middleton and Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William Twitter

The situation took an unusual turn when Kensington Palace released a Mother's Day photo showing Middleton smiling alongside her children: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.

The photo was later recalled by news agencies, alleging that it had been "manipulated." A "kill notification" issued by AP read, "Upon closer inspection, it appears that the source has manipulated the image."

Middleton addressed the issue herself on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, explaining why the portrait had been "manipulated."

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused," she wrote.

She concluded, "I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day" — which was Sunday in the UK — and ending casually with "C," for her first name, Catherine.

Rose Hanbury
Rose Hanbury X

Kensington Palace has declined to release the original, unedited version of the photo. The intention behind releasing the photo was to quell speculation surrounding Middleton's prolonged absence from public view, but instead, it backfired.

"Canceling all plans this afternoon as I'm now down a very deep rabbit hole," one user joked on X.

"I'm not generally into conspiracy theories but this Kate Middleton photo has got me feeling like a flat earther," another user wrote.

As Colbert highlighted on his show, some speculation surrounding Middleton has involved Hanbury. So, who is Hanbury?

Her Royal Connection

Hanbury, 39, holds a prominent position within William and Kate's inner circle. Her ties to the royal family span generations, as her grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, served as one of the bridesmaids at the late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's wedding in 1947.

Kate Middleton fake photo
The Mother's Day photo of Kate Middleton with her children released Kensington Palace which is being called digitally manipulated and fake X

Hanbury has been married to David Rocksavage, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, since 2009. The couple live at their family estate, Houghton Hall, located near Anmer Hall, the estate of William and Kate.

Hanbury and her husband are known to socialize with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Their 15-year-old son, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, was one of the pages of honor at the coronation, alongside Prince George. They have two other children: Oliver's twin, Alexander Hugh, and Iris Marina Aline, who is 8 years old.

Before her marriage, Hanbury worked as a researcher for Conservative Party Parliament member Michael Gove. Reports suggest that she also used to work as a model.

Rumors surrounding the alleged affair between William and Hanbury surfaced in 2019 when In Touch magazine reported the claim. Hanbury was also rumored to have been close friends with Middleton before allegedly falling out around 2019, although this claim was never confirmed.

In 2022, an Instagram gossip account, Deuxmoi, shared a tip suggesting that a British royal couple's "extramarital affair is an open secret," as reported by Cosmopolitan.

The message did not specify the royal involved, but fans believe that it referred to William.

Hanbury, Middleton, and Prince William have not publicly addressed the affair rumors. However, William's attorney denied the allegations, labeling them as "false and highly damaging" in a statement to the Daily Beast.

Rose Hanbury
Rose Hanbury with Prince William and Kate Middleton X

Omid Scobie touched on the alleged scandal in his latest book about the royals, "Endgame," and wrote he believes that nothing happened between Prince William and Hanbury.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Scobie said that he understands why gossip has spread regarding William's fidelity. He said the challenge of addressing rumors once they gain traction, as they can quickly proliferate worldwide.

"They never addressed it, so those rumors will never go away even though there's no truth to suggest that they are true," he added.