British tabloids have reported about some friction between Kate and William and their old friends, and the story only gets stranger from there.
It was perhaps high time for a new character to work her way into the fabric of the royal world, and the rumors and reports that swirl around it. This past weekend saw the British tabloids work themselves into a frenzy surrounding the—get ready for this title—Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Yes, that is what she goes by—we barely even need to go any further with this summation, right? This is already like a Downton Abbey fever dream come to life.
This marchioness—her given name is Rose Hanbury—is a “longtime friend” of Kate Middleton’s, per a breathless report from The Sun, which came out on Saturday. The newspaper goes right for the jugular from the beginning of its write-up, describing Hanbury as “the woman caught in an unlikely clash with the Duchess of Cambridge,” and characterizing her as someone with “an eye for social climbing [who] lives in a palatial home.” (Imagine being described by those two attributes—pretty enviable, honestly.) Hanbury, a former model, is part of a social set in Norfolk that is nicknamed the “Turnip toffs”—we’re not sure what that refers to, but it seems about right. According to The Sun, Hanbury is the “Queen Bee” of the group, with Kate and Rose frequently getting together for playdates, dinner parties, weddings, and the like.
But The Sun has found trouble in Turnip paradise, as Kate reportedly wanted Hanbury “phased out” as one of her “closest confidantes,” even though Prince William is friends with Hanbury’s husband, David Rocksavage, the Marquess of Cholmondeley. (Yes, as if this all couldn’t get more British high society and delightful, his last name is “Rocksavage”!) The Sun said that the dynamic between Kate and Rose had become “tense,” dramatically adding, “No one understands quite how things have come to this.” Kate and Rose live about three and a half miles away from each other, and Rose and David attended Kate and William’s wedding. They are said to have become closer when their children became friendly: Rose and David have twin boys, both nine, and a three-year old daughter, Lady Iris.
So: is there actually a feud between the two women?
It seems like the answer is . . . there is not. The Daily Mail has been covering the story obsessively, as you’d expect, and after the reports of the friction between Kate and her “rural rival,” the Daily Mail’s Richard Kay said Sunday that he has been told that “rumors of a falling out” between the two are “false.” He also wrote, imbuing the scenario with some gravity: “I can also reveal both sides have considered legal action, 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.” There is something pretty funny about this being pointed out plainly: none of these stories even floated what the feud was about!
Kay posits that the two couples aren’t even that close, and have reportedly “been to each other’s homes only three times.” Specific! Another source told Kay, “They see each other occasionally and like each other . . . They are not part of each other’s close circle. It isn’t even remotely a bosom-close friendship.” Kay says that William and Rocksavage were initially amused by the rumors, but the latest reporting has “baffled” them. “Both wives are hurt by the suggestion that there is any argument or even a coolness between them.”
It would seem all, then, is well between Hanbury and Kate and Rocksavage and William. But somehow, considering the sudden and dramatic way in which this saga was delivered to us, we feel like this is not the last we have heard of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley.