Parents of the Duchess of Cambridge’s ‘rural rival’ looked to each other for support before revealing there was ‘nothing to say’ about their daughter’s alleged falling out.
At their Devon home yesterday, Rose Hanbury’s parents, Tim and Emma, expressed surprise at reports the Duchess of Cambridge reportedly banished her from their social circle.
Kate and William have long been close to their Norfolk neighbours, the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley. But speculation about a serious rift between Kate and the Marchioness – former model Rose Hanbury – is said to have intensified in recent weeks.
Kate and William have long been close to their Norfolk neighbours, the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley. But speculation about a serious rift between Kate and the Marchioness (pictured together, with William looking on) – former model Rose Hanbury – is said to have intensified in recent weeks
Asked whether her daughter had discussed them, Mrs Hanbury glanced at her husband before replying: ‘Nothing to say about it.’ Mr Hanbury then intervened, saying: ‘Got no comment. There is no comment.’
Rumours of a rift gained further momentum yesterday with a report that the Duchess wants Rose ‘phased out’ as one of her confidantes, though the cause of the apparent friction remains a mystery.
A member of staff answering the intercom at the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley’s Houghton Hall said: ‘They are not available today.’
While Kate and William stay at ten-bedroom Anmer Hall, which was previously rented out to a kitchen timber boss, Rose and her husband live in splendour three miles away at Houghton Hall (pictured), one of the country’s finest Palladian houses
Rose Hanbury, 35, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, is pictured with William and Kate at a gala dinner in support of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices Nook appeal
And when asked if the couple knew of the allegations reported in The Sun, the employee said: ‘We are fully aware.’
The report in The Sun newspaper claimed that the alleged rift is ‘much worse’ than has previously been suggested. And it said attempts by William to try to effect a reconciliation between the two women have been cooly rebuffed.
William is said to be good friends with the Marquess, David Rocksavage, who at 58 is 23 years older than Rose.
The first inkling that something was awry came when Daily Mail diarist Richard Eden reported that friends of the Duchess claimed ex-model Rose was ‘a rival to her rural crown’.
Among their Norfolk set – affectionately nicknamed the ‘Turnip Toffs’ – it was Kate who was always presumed queen bee. ‘On the face of it, it’s bizarre, but Kate seems to see Rose as a rival,’ one source was quoted as saying.
While Kate and William stay at ten-bedroom Anmer Hall, which was previously rented out to a kitchen timber boss, Rose and her husband live in splendour three miles away at Houghton Hall, one of the country’s finest Palladian houses, surrounded by 1,000 acres of parkland. The Cambridges moved to Anmer on the Sandringham Estate in 2014 when William joined the East Anglian Air Ambulance charity.
One source told The Sun: ‘It is well known that Kate and Rose have had a terrible falling out.
‘They used to be close but that is not the case any more.
‘William wants to play peacemaker so that the two couples can remain friends, given they live so close to each other and share many mutual friends.
‘But Kate has been clear that she doesn’t want to see them any more and wants William to phase them out, despite their social status.’
Rose and her husband have twin boys, Alexander and Oliver, and daughter Iris. The boys have been playmates of Prince George.
At William and Kate’s wedding eight years ago, Rose was widely considered to be the best-dressed guest. In 2016, the Royal couple attended a black-tie gala at Houghton Hall. And the two couples are said to have shared dinner dates.
Rose was on the books of the same modelling agency that discovered Kate Moss. The Marchioness was also briefly a researcher for Tory MP Michael Gove.
Rose (pictured with William and Kate in 2016) was also, at one stage, named as a potential contender for Prince William’s affections, although when they first met – and whether they ever became close prior to the Cambridge’s move to Norfolk – remains unclear
She first came to national attention in 2005 when she and her elder sister Marina – both wearing pink bikinis – posed alongside the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Her husband, the party-loving Marquess, used to be described as the ‘greatest catch in England’.
When he succeeded his father to the title, he not only became a Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain but came into a legacy of nearly £120 million – the largest sum ever bequeathed in Britain.
He had relationships with several extremely glamorous women, including model and actress Lisa B, French film star Isabelle Adjani and heiress Sabrina Guinness, but friends believed that he would never marry.
Rose and David first met at a party at Villa Cetinale, the Italian home of the disgraced politician Lord Lambton. They married at Chelsea Town Hall in 2009.
The Marquess is a friend of Prince Charles and would often be invited to Sandringham for tea. When he was 14 the Queen selected him as Page of Honour. Now she sees him once a year as he shuffles backwards in front of her in his role as Lord Great Chamberlain at the State Opening of Parliament.
Last night the Cholmondeleys were unavailable for comment.
A member of staff answering the intercom at Houghton Hall said: ‘They are not available today.’ When asked if the couple knew of the allegations reported in The Sun, the employee said: ‘We are fully aware.’
Last night a Royal source said the rumours of a rift were untrue and upsetting. Kensington Palace declined to comment.
The beguiling beauty Kate has ‘banished’ from ‘Turnip toffs’: Duchess’s rural rival who was once rumoured to be a match for William, loves to defy convention and is a model married to film-maker Marquess 23 years her senior
By Jo MacFarlane for the Mail on Sunday
The first hint that frost might be forming over relations between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and some of their high-born friends in Norfolk, came when friends of the Duchess said a former model believed herself to be ‘a rival to her rural crown’.
Then yesterday it was reported the Duchess had instructed her husband to banish the offending female friend from their social circle – following a ‘terrible’ falling out.
Kate and William had long been thought close friends of their Norfolk neighbours, the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley – he, a 57-year-old Old Etonian, she a 35-year-old former model.
Rose’s twin sons are playmates of Prince George and she is also a former model for the same agency that discovered Kate Moss
Rose attended the royal couple’s wedding and, together with husband David, the four have gone on several double dates (pictured)
But speculation about a serious rift between Kate and the Marchioness – former model Rose Hanbury – is said to have intensified in recent weeks.
At their Devon home yesterday, Rose’s parents, Tim and Emma Hanbury, remained tight-lipped, expressing surprise but offering no comment.
So who is the Norfolk beauty whom the future Queen wants ‘phased out’ of her social set?
Ms Hanbury is married to David Rocksavage (pictured left together), the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley – a wealthy Old Etonian 23 years her senior. She came to public attention in 2005 after the publication of a racy photograph showing her (pictured right with her sister) in matching skimpy pink bikinis flanking then-Prime Minister Tony Blair
Described most frequently as a ‘beguiling socialite’, the willowy Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, has always commanded attention. As a renowned society beauty and former model with an impeccably aristocratic pedigree, there were no shortage of suitors for her hand including, it was once rumoured, a young Prince William.
That the honour eventually fell to charismatic David Rocksavage, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley – a wealthy Old Etonian 23 years her senior – may have raised a few eyebrows on the London scene, particularly when they married just two days after announcing not only their engagement but that Rose was pregnant with twins.
But there is little doubt that the family, which now includes nine-year-old twins Alexander and Oliver, and Iris, three, are today the toast of their North Norfolk enclave.
Rose was on the books of the same modelling agency that discovered Kate Moss (left). The Marchioness was also briefly a researcher for Tory MP Michael Gove (right)
They are part of a band of so-called ‘Turnip Toffs’, a party-loving set with bigger homes than the Royals. Fellow members include William’s close friends William and Rosie Van Cutsem, Tom and Polly Coke, the Earl and Countess of Leicester, neighbours at nearby Holkham Hall, and James and Laura Meade, who is a godmother to Prince Louis.
Rose has ‘always liked to defy convention’, according to friends. The tall, leggy and doe-eyed brunette, now 35, signed up to model agency Storm, the firm that was also home to Kate Moss, when she arrived on the London scene with elder sister Marina.
The sisters came to public attention in 2005 after the publication of a racy photograph showing them in matching skimpy pink bikinis flanking then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Their younger brother David is a financier in Hong Kong.
The trio were brought up at Wembury House, a Georgian manor house in Devon, by rather unconventional parents. Their father Tim is an Old Etonian website designer and part of the brewing dynasty Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co, and their mother is designer Emma, who owns and runs the Marosa fashion label. The couple were ‘more like friends than parents’, a friend of the family once noted.
‘It’s not unusual to see Timmy and Emma at [nightclub] Boujis with the girls.
‘Likewise, Marina and Rose are just as happy in the company of their parents’ friends as they are with their own age group.’
The family reportedly used to holiday together in Ibiza and ‘really knew how to throw a party’.
Wembury, which the family inherited in 1980, is an eclectic mix of vibrant colours, historic oil paintings and chintz. It has a pool, sweeping gardens with views to Dartmoor, and an elegant dining room draped with fairy lights.
A neighbour in Devon told a newspaper: ‘An invitation to Wembury is much coveted around here. One minute you’ll be talking to one of Emma’s bohemian friends, the next you’ll be talking to a feckless peer. Add to the mix a rock star or an actor and a couple of the girls’ leggy young friends and you get the picture.’
The sisters are certainly of thoroughbred stock. Emma’s mother Lady Elizabeth Longman was a childhood playmate of Queen Elizabeth, and a bridesmaid at her wedding to Prince Philip. The family hosts an annual cricket match where the guest list often includes Zac Goldsmith, Hugh Grant and Imran Khan.
But while Rose could have become a career socialite, she stepped into politics, working as an aide to Michael Gove, at the time Shadow Schools Secretary, while attending a host of glamorous London parties. She and Marina routinely featured on Tatler’s 100 Most Invited list.
Rose (pictured with husband David) has had a flock of aristocratic admirers. She was linked with Lord Freddie Windsor, Lord John Somerset and Lord Lambton’s grandson Fred, to whom she was rumoured to be engaged
Unsurprisingly, there have been a flock of aristocratic admirers. Rose was linked with Lord Freddie Windsor, Lord John Somerset and Lord Lambton’s grandson Fred, to whom she was rumoured to be engaged.
In fact, the families were so close that Fred’s father Ned, the Earl of Durham, later married Marina (again, with an age gap of 20 years between them).
Rose was also, at one stage, named as a potential contender for Prince William’s affections, although when they first met – and whether they ever became close prior to the Cambridge’s move to Norfolk – remains unclear. William was surrounded by a coterie of hair-flicking beauties, including Jecca Craig, Isabella Calthorpe and Olivia Hunt, both before his relationship with Kate and during the couple’s brief split in 2007.
William, at just two years older than Rose, may once have been considered a more realistic prospect than David.
Indeed, many believed playboy David might never marry. His party-loving friends included Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, rock star Mick Jagger and Peter Mandelson, and there were a string of high-profile flings with model and actress Lisa B, French film star Isabelle Adjani and heiress Sabrina Guinness.
But after meeting Rose at a party at Villa Cetinale, the Italian playground of the Lambton family, the stars finally aligned and they married at Chelsea Town Hall in 2009.
Rose’s parents did not bat an eyelid at their daughters’ unconventional relationships.
A family friend told a newspaper: ‘It’s not about what age they are, it’s about who they are – and by that I mean whether the person is right for their daughters. All they want is for them to be happy.’
And who wouldn’t be happy with such a match? In 1990, Lord Cholmondeley, a direct descendant of Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, inherited £118 million and two stately homes upon the death of his father, the sixth Marquess, and in doing so became ‘the greatest catch in England’.
The Marquess of Cholmondeley is 23 years the Marchioness’s senior and they have three children together (pictured together)
He owns Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire but the family home is Norfolk’s Houghton Hall, a 106-room stately home in the Palladian style – constructed in the 1720s for Walpole himself – with a sculpture park, a five-acre walled garden and 1,000 acres of parkland. The Hall is rather more roomy than the average family home, but after the twins were born, David insisted it was very much where the family should be based.
Rose had quit her job in Westminster when severe morning sickness – which also afflicted the Duchess of Cambridge during her pregnancies – took its toll.
The babies were born several months prematurely by Caesarean section – and this posed an unusual conundrum for the couple.
Reportedly, both boys had been born at the same time, so which one should inherit their father’s title and lucrative multi-million pound estate? In the end, it was decided by a fluke of biology. Alexander, known as Xan, who weighed 8ozs more than Oliver, was given the honour.
He is known as the Earl of Rocksavage, while his twin is simply Lord Oliver Cholmondeley.
The family, which expanded in 2016 with the birth of Lady Iris, is now at the centre of the Norfolk set and Rose has, to date, counted Kate as one of her closest friends. Both have young children, live in a rural idyll and occupy a similar position of immense privilege.
Rose and David are extremely well-connected and said to be fabulous hosts and ‘great fun’ – undoubtedly an asset in the Cambridge’s closely guarded inner circle. The Cholmondeley estate is just four miles from the Duke and Duchess’s home, Anmer Hall, and the Royal couple and their children are said to have been regular guests. Indeed, Prince George was a playmate of the Cholmondeley twins.
Their interests, too, are shared – Rose and Kate are patrons of the charity East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and Kate has attended the Houghton Hall Horse Trials with her brood.
A gala dinner for the charity was hosted by the Cholmondeleys in July 2016, and Kate and Rose were pictured chatting animatedly.
In fact, Rose is considered so much a part of the Royal scene that she sat next to Prince Harry at a Buckingham Palace state banquet in 2017.
If Kate is seeking to extricate Rose, as it is rumoured, it could prove a rather bothersome – and humiliating – business for everyone concerned.
The reported row must indeed have been serious…