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Rumors Prince William is having an affair with Rose Hanbury are flooding social media again after Stephen Colbert waded into 'Katespiracy'

Rumors Prince William is having an affair with Rose Hanbury are flooding social media again after Stephen Colbert waded into 'Katespiracy'
  • The internet is abuzz with rumors about Kate Middleton and Prince William's marriage.

  • A new theory is that Kate being MIA is related to unsubstantiated rumors Prince William had an affair.

  • The theory was bolstered after Stephen Colbert addressed the rumored affair on his late-night show.

"Katespiracy," a term the internet has dubbed speculation about Kate Middleton's whereabouts, has taken another bizarre turn.

It's been 80 days since Kate's last official public appearance. Kensington Palace said in a statement that the Princess of Wales' absence from the public eye is due to her recovery from a "planned abdominal surgery" on January 19. The official line from the palace is that she'll be back in action by Easter.

Still, speculation hit a fever pitch on Monday after Kate admitted to editing a photograph Kensington Palace released of her and her children for Mother's Day on Sunday. Her admission — a statement shared on social media — only poured more fuel onto the rumor mill fire.

Worse still, the photo-editing scandal coincided with the spread of a new conspiracy theory: that Kate's absence from the public is somehow connected to speculation Prince William had an affair with Sarah Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, who is a friend of the Wales' with ancestral ties to the royal family.

Kensington Palace declined to comment. Meanwhile, through her lawyers, Hanbury said that "the rumours are completely false."

Here's a breakdown of how an unsubstantiated rumor — that's not entirely new — became the internet's favorite "Katespiracy" theory.

On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert devoted part of his opening monologue to the royal affair rumor.

Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."
Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Colbert spent the final minutes of his opening monologue of Tuesday's episode of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" discussing the latest conspiracy theory behind Kate's public absence.

"The Kingdom has been all a flutter about the seeming disappearance of Kate Middleton," Colbert said. "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."

Colbert went on to name-drop Hanbury as the woman at the center of the rumor mill. He also noted that speculation about Hanbury and William first cropped up in 2019.

"According to tabloids back then, when Kate supposedly confronted him about it, he laughed it off, saying there was nothing to it," Colbert said, jokingly adding, "Always a good response when you're wife accuses you of cheating."

Colbert's commentary stirred up more online chatter about Rose, Kate, and William.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, David Cholmondeley, and Rose Hanbury at Houghton Hall on June 22, 2016.
Prince William, Kate Middleton, David Cholmondeley, and Rose Hanbury at Houghton Hall on June 22, 2016.Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Having the alleged rumor discussed on late-night television was all some Kate conspiracy theorists needed to validate their suspicions that her absence from the public eye is not just because she is recovering from surgery.

"When Stephen Colbert is now spilling the affair rumors, you know things are not good between William & Kate," an X user wrote.

"The cat is out of the bag," another user wrote in an X post that links to Colbert's monologue, and that has over 1.1 thousand reshares.

However, some users responding to that thread were less positive about Colbert's decision to rehash the old rumor without proof.

"Whenever someone tells me of a third parties' affair, I always respond by asking them if they were in the room. End of story," a more critical commentator responded, while another questioned whether it was Colbert's "business" to discuss the rumors in the first place.

In the comment section of a clip of the monologue on YouTube, there were also calls for stopping the proliferation of rumors and for Kate and William to be left alone.

The late-night host's controversial comments came days after the British newspaper The Independent shared an updated article about Hanbury.

Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, and David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley at Westminster Abbey on March 29, 2022.
Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, and David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley at Westminster Abbey on March 29, 2022.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The article, headlined "Lady Rose Hanbury: Who is the Marchioness of Cholmondeley?" was shared on X, formally known as Twitter, on Sunday.

Summarizing Hanbury's background and ties to the British royal family, the report explains that she is a 39-year-old former model who is married to David Rocksavage, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, making her the Marchioness of Cholmedely.

According to the outlet, Hanbury and her husband tied the knot in 2009, share three children, and live at Houghton Hall, an estate in Norfolk neighboring Amner Hall, the home where Kate and William spend time with their children when not in Windsor. Hanbury is said to have become acquainted with the couple through the proximity of their homes.

But Hanbury, born Sarah Rose Hanbury, isn't a stranger to British aristocracy.

The article notes that Hanbury's grandmother was one of Queen Elizabeth II's eight bridesmaids at her wedding. She has been spotted front and center at several major royal events, like the 2017 state banquet at Buckingham Castle, where she reportedly sat next to Prince Harry. She also attended King Charles III's coronation, where her son, Lord Oliver, served as one of the Pages of Honour alongside Kate and William's eldest son, Prince George.

Internet users were quick to speculate about the article's timing amid Kate's absence from the public.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Rose Hanbury at Houghton Hall on June 22, 2016.
Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Rose Hanbury at Houghton Hall on June 22, 2016.Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Shortly after The Independent shared the article on X, many social media users quickly questioned why news about Hanbury is recirculating amid Kate's absence from the public eye — especially given long-standing unsubstantiated rumors that Hanbury and William had an alleged affair.

The replies to The Independent's post are flooded with comments like "soft launching William's mistress now is WILD" and "interesting timing."

Some users also compared the affair Charles had with Queen Camilla while married to the late Princess Diana.

As some social media users pointed out, rumors about Hanbury's relationship with William aren't new.

Prince William and Rose Hanbury.
Prince William and Rose Hanbury.Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage, Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

While The Independent's post led to social media chatter about whether Kate's step back from the public is related to an alleged relationship between William and Hanbury, rumors of an affair first surfaced in 2019.

In a timeline of the rumors published by Cosmopolitan, the drama reportedly began after British tabloid The Sun published an article speculating on a rumored fallout between Kate and Hanbury and alleged that the Princess of Wales asked William to have her "phased out" of their social life. The article, which no longer appears on the site, didn't mention the exact cause of the rumored fallout.

No British tabloid, including The Sun, went on to publish articles about a rumored affair, which led to the Daily Beast reporting that the palace threatened legal action against publications that covered it. But any alleged attempts to suppress coverage didn't stop some users on X and US outlet In Touch from doing so, Cosmopolitan reported.

The rumor mill slowed down significantly after 2019, likely thanks to the royals' long-held "never complain, never explain" PR strategy.

But it cropped up again in July 2022 when The Cut reported Deux Moi, a popular celebrity gossip Instagram account, published a blind item from an anonymous submitter alleging that a member of the royal family was having an affair that was essentially an "open secret." At the time, internet sleuths pointed the finger at William.

Again, the palace did not comment on the rumor, but The Cut reported that it had weighed up legal action against Deux Moi.

Besides a brief resurgence in discussion after royal expert Omid Scobie told Entertainment Tonight he was "careful" about addressing rumors of an affair in his 2023 royal book "Endgame," talk about the rumor again fell quiet.

Kate is still MIA while "Who is Rose Hanbury" articles spread across the internet.

Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley departs Westminster Abbey after the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla
Rose Hanbury at Westminster Abbey after the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in 2023.Karwai Tang/WireImage

Besides an unclear photograph of Kate in a car with William on Monday, the Princess of Wales remains out of the public eye as she recovers.

While she does, however, speculation is mounting. Compounding Colbert's monologue and The Independent's article, many other publications are starting to publish versions of the "Who is Rose Hanbury" article and individual timelines of the unsubstantiated affair rumors online.

Through it all, the palace is sticking to its favored PR strategy of staying silent, as is Hanbury.

Rumor mill aside, William and Kate haven't given any indication they're anything but happily married.

Kate Middleton and Prince William wave from a balcony during King Charles' coronation in May 2023.
Kate Middleton and Prince William at Buckingham Palace on King Charles' coronation day in May 2023.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Through over a decade of marriage, the college sweethearts have been spotted engaging in PDA, speaking highly of each other, and putting on a united front through highs — such as the birth of their three children and their anniversaries — and lows, such as the death of Queen Elizabeth II and, more recently, Kate's health issues.

After taking a break from royal duties to support Kate after her surgery, William resumed his work schedule on February 7.

At one of his first events, Town and Country reported he made a speech directly referencing Kate, adding that it meant "a great deal to us all" that the public was sending "kind messages." On Thursday, the Prince of Wales spoke about Kate again during a visit to a youth center in London, telling children, "My wife is the arty one," while decorating biscuits, The Independent reported.

Whatever internet sleuths say, the real evidence is simple: Kate and William haven't said or done anything to suggest they haven't been happily married for nearly 13 years.

Read the original article on Business Insider