Prince William and Kate Middleton's private life is under even more scrutiny than usual in the midst of Meghan Markle's pregnancy thanks to rampant speculation around a rumored affair. While Kensington Palace has yet to comment on the rumor, it continues to gain traction online with every passing moment.
When the rumors that Prince William allegedly cheated on his wife (with no supposed mistress initially named) first hit, we broke down the Kardashian-level drama, comparing it to the brouhaha around Tristan Thompson, Khloé Kardashian, and Jordyn Woods (which would go on to be confirmed by at least two of the parties involved). But with this comparison comes one crucial question: If William is Tristan, and Kate is Khloé, then who's the Jordyn in all this? Meet Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Kate's former friend (more on that in a minute), and a royals-adjacent fixture.
Hanbury has long been close to the royal family (her grandmother was a bridesmaid in Queen Elizabeth II's wedding to Prince Philip in 1947). A former model, she became the Marchioness of Cholmondeley following her 2009 marriage to the seventh Marquess of Cholmondeley, a.k.a David Rocksavage. She might have briefly dated Prince William years ago, but since marrying, she definitely became part of his elite crew, known as, ahem, the Turnip Toffs— a group of British aristocrats who live near one another in the country. As neighbors, they do the usual countryside hangs, according to Flare: they hunt, they throw garden parties, and they spend time with their children. (Like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Hanburys also have three kids.)
Middleton and Hanbury, each in their respective Anmer Hall and Houghton Hall homes, apparently had a falling out earlier this year, and the Duchess wanted her out of the group. (British tabloids referred to Hanbury as a "rural rival.") Now, Twitter theorists and tabloids are linking the two events, claiming that Hanbury is at the heart of this supposed cheating scandal. She has not spoken publicly on the matter, nor does she have public social media accounts for people to pour over.
Many of the initial tweets about an affair, like one from a Daily Mail journalist, have since been deleted since the rumors peaked back in March, which makes it difficult to decipher what parts — if any — of the royal gossip is true. For what's it worth, Prince William and Kate just announced that they will be taking a trip next week, just in time for their 8-year-anniversary.