Just as the allegations that Tristan Thompson stepped out on Khloé Kardashian (again) with her good friend Jordyn Woods riveted the American public, so, too, have new allegations against Prince William across the pond. The most recent allegations circulating are gaining more traction than the others, which makes one wonder if Kensington Palace will get involved to shut down the rumours, or just hope that the newly born royal baby (whenever they arrive) will shift the narrative for them.
However, unlike the Kardashian drama — which bled into Twitter, and was splashed across every tabloid — this particular piece of royal gossip is a bit more complicated to unpack.
So, what's going on with Prince William and Kate Middleton? Let's break it down, rumour by rumour.
The Initial Drama
In March, The Sun was the first to claim that Kate Middleton had a falling out with Rose Hanbury, a former model and the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Apparently, Prince William attempted to play "peacemaker" between the two women, who were neighbours in Sandringham, Norfolk. Alas, Kate allegedly insisted that her "rural rival" be phased out of their lives.
Of course, the drama could have stopped with The Sun piece. After all, does anyone really care that Kate may or may not be salty with her country house bestie? Then, days later, The Daily Mail wrote an excessive rebuttal of The Sun's piece, claiming that the rumours Kate iced out Hanbury were malicious lies. In fact, The Daily Mail stated that "both sides have considered legal action" over the false rumour, but "because none of the reports have been able to offer any evidence about what the so-called dispute is about, they have chosen to ignore it."
The Affair Tweet
The royal family very, very rarely comments on the stories about them, and this tiny little rumour pales in comparison to all the drama people report on Kate's "feud" with sister-in-law Meghan Markle. So why stir anything up at all, if, in fact, Kate and Hanbury really did consider legal action?
Well, according to a deleted tweet from gossip reporter Giles Coren, it's because of "an affair."
"Yes, it is an affair," Coren tweeted. "I haven't read the piece but I know about the affair. Everyone knows about the affair, darling."
The idea, of course, is that The Sun hinted at an affair without outright saying it. (It's worth mentioning that, in the United Kingdom, a defamatory statement is presumed to be false, unless the defendant can prove its truth, which can make libel lawsuits a particularly tricky situation for tabloids publishing gossip.) American publication In Touch Weekly later published a front page story on the alleged drama.
The Royal Family Bites Back
The royal family is, allegedly, fighting the rumours with vigour. According to The Daily Beast, attorneys for the royal family sent letters to multiple publications about the affair story.
"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," the letter reads.
The Prince Harry & Kate Middleton Appearance
While the world waits eagerly for news of the birth of the newest royal baby, Prince Harry was seen out with his sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. Their outing also marks another surge in chatter around Prince William being unfaithful with a "model friend" of Kate's. One tweet that went particularly viral notes the supposed pattern of behaviour between William and his father Prince Charles.
Prince William cheating on Duchess Kate with a model friend as his father did on his late mother Princess Diana proves that no amount of money nor royalty will make a man loyal if he doesn’t care for it.— ? Iris ? (@irisvicencio) April 25, 2019
The palace has still not weighed in on the rumours circulating social media and the tabloids.
So, What Can We Make Of This?
Though it may seem like an extreme move for a rumour such as this, it's not the first time that legal action against publications have been taken by the family. Prince William and Kate sued French publication La Provence for posting topless paparazzi shots of Kate in 2017, and were awarded $115,000.
Ultimately, could the Hanbury rumours have hurt Kate? Sure. It may be exactly the reason why legal action was considered, and why the letters were sent to publications: No one wants their relationship picked apart by the press. The former "royal way" may have been to stew in silence, but it seems that Prince William and Kate are ready to clap back using their legal means. Sorry, rumour mill, but consider yourself shut down. Although... it would be really fun is Kate would just go off on Twitter about it.
This story has been updated with additional information and reporting.