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Meet Lady Sarah Rose Hanbury, a British noblewoman whose family has been linked to royals for generations

Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Rose Hanbury at Houghton Hall on June 22, 2016.
Rose Hanbury, Prince William, and Kate Middleton at Houghton Hall in 2016.Stephen Pond/Getty Images
  • Rose Hanbury is a British noblewoman whose family has been linked to the royals for years.

  • She and her husband, David Cholmondeley, are neighbors of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

  • They have three children. Their son Oliver was a page of honor at King Charles' coronation.

Rose Hanbury recently found herself thrust into the spotlight amid continuing speculation about Kate Middleton's absence from the public eye.

A British noblewoman residing in a stately home close to Kate and Prince William's countryside residence, Hanbury is no stranger to royalty.

Here's a closer look at her aristocratic upbringing, career, relationships, and why Hanbury, who inherited the Marchioness of Cholmondeley title upon marriage, became embroiled in rumors surrounding the Princess of Wales.

Rose Hanbury's family has moved in royal circles for generations.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day in 1947. Lady Elizabeth Lambart, Rose Hanbury's grandmother, is the fifth bridesmaid from the left.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day in 1947. Lady Elizabeth Lambart, Rose Hanbury's grandmother, is the fifth bridesmaid from the left.Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Hanbury's maternal grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, was a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth II's, the Daily Mail reported. She was also a bridesmaid at the Queen's wedding to Prince Phillip in 1947. In the above photo of the wedding party on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, she's the fifth bridesmaid from the left.

The Queen Mother also attended Lambart's wedding to Mark Longman in 1949.

After graduating from university, Hanbury worked as a model and political researcher.

Rose Hanbury (left) models Escada Sport skiwear in 2002.
Rose Hanbury (left) models Escada Sport skiwear in 2002.Andy Butterton/PA Images via Getty Images

Hanbury attended the prestigious Stowe boarding school, whose famous alumni include Prince Rainier of Monaco, Richard Branson, and Prince Harry's ex-girlfriend Chelsea Davy, Buckinghamshire Live reported.

Hanbury then studied at The Open University, which offers distance learning but is headquartered in Milton Keynes, England.

She signed with Storm Management, the same modeling agency that represented Kate Moss, when she was 23 years old, Tatler reported. She also worked as a researcher for the British member of parliament Michael Gove.

She's married to David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, and they have three children.

David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury in 2015
David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury at a party at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2015.David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Serpentine Gallery

Cholmondeley — pronounced "Chumley" — is a lord-in-waiting to King Charles III, attending official functions with the monarch and occasionally representing him at events.

They have three children: Alexander Hugh George, who carries the title Earl of Rocksavage, Lord Oliver Timothy George, and Lady Iris Marina Aline.

Their son Oliver was a page of honor at Charles' coronation.

From left to right: Prince George, Oliver Cholmondeley, and Nicholas Barclay stand beside King Charles and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their coronation in September 2022.
From left to right: Prince George, Oliver Cholmondeley, and Nicholas Barclay beside King Charles and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the king's coronation in September 2022.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Oliver, second from the left in the above photo, helped carry the train of Charles' robe as he processed into Westminster Abbey for the coronation. He also appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace alongside Prince George after the ceremony.

Hanbury and Cholmondeley attended the coronation, as well.

The couple owns two historic homes, but they primarily live at Houghton Hall in Norfolk.

Houghton Hall was built in the 1720s.
Houghton Hall was built in the 1720s.Angelo Hornak/Corbis via Getty Images

The couple's real-estate portfolio includes two historic homes in the UK: Cholmondeley Castle, a gothic country house in Cheshire that is Grade II* listed — meaning it's been designated of special interest or national importance — and Houghton Hall, a palladian-style mansion in Norfolk. Parts of both residences are open for public visits on select days.

The Financial Times reported that Cholmondeley inherited Houghton Hall, where he and Hanbury primarily live with their children, in 1990.

Built in the 18th century, the 106-room home is filled with renowned art and artifacts. It's roughly a 10-minute drive from Anmer Hall, a country home that Queen Elizabeth II gave Kate and William after their 2011 wedding. When they aren't in Windsor, the Wales' have been known to spend time there with their children.

Her charity work includes supporting East Anglia's Children's Hospices, the National Gallery, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Rose Hanbury attends a gala in support of the National Gallery in 2022.
Rose Hanbury at a fundraiser for the National Gallery in 2022.David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The National Gallery

In 2016, Hanbury and Cholmondeley hosted a fundraising gala for EACH at their Houghton Hall home, which William and Kate attended. Hanbury became a patron of EACH in 2018, Cambridge Network reported.

Kate is also a patron of the organization, occasionally visiting on royal engagements.

She and her husband have been friends with William and Kate for years.

Prince William and Kate Middleton greet David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury at a gala in support of East Anglia's Children's Hospices' at Houghton Hall in 2016.
David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury greet Prince William and Kate Middleton at a gala in support of East Anglia's Children's Hospices at Houghton Hall in 2016.Stephen Pond/Getty Images

The Cholmondeleys and the Waleses have run in similar circles for years and have even attended many of the same events. Kate and William were photographed being greeted by the Cholmondeleys as they arrived for a charity event hosted at Houghton Hall in 2016.

In 2023, the Daily Mail reported that Kate made an appearance at a music festival at Houghton Hall after attending a dinner hosted by the Cholmondeleys.

Stephen Colbert mentioned Hanbury on his late-night talk show while discussing Kate's absence from the public eye.

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

Kate underwent a "planned abdominal surgery" in January, after which Kensington Palace said she would be taking time away from royal duties to recover and would be expected to resume work after Easter. But in the weeks since, the internet has exploded with "Katespiracies," unsupported rumors about Kate's condition and whereabouts.

On March 13, Colbert waded into the ongoing discourse around Kate's absence from the public eye and mentioned Hanbury during his opening monologue on "The Late Show." He referenced unverified rumors from "internet sleuths" that Prince William had an affair with Hanbury.

Hanbury's lawyers told Business Insider that "the rumors are completely false." Kensington Palace declined to comment.

William and Kate, who have been together for nearly 13 years, haven't indicated their marriage is in trouble. William took a break from royal duties following Kate's surgery to support her and has referenced her during several recent appearances, including at a conference on homelessness on Tuesday, the Daily Mail reported.

While discussing children, an area that Kate's work focuses on, William said, "Venturing into my wife's territory here. She needs to be sat here to hear this."

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