keeping up with the royals

Unpacking the Newest Round of Royal Feud Rumors

Kate Middleton. Photo: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

As they do, the British tabloids have recently been fixated on rumors of an alleged royal-related feud — this time, between Kate Middleton and her “rural rival” (their words!) Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley.

Given that these publications only just stopped pushing tiresome rumors of an alleged rivalry between Kate and her sister-in-law Meghan Markle, these sort of reports are fairly hard to take seriously. Yet, of course, the tabloids have widely covered this new “feud” over the past few days — and now, Richard Kay, a royal reporter for the Daily Mail (one of the outlets that reported on the rumors in the first place?) claims the stories are false, and that both parties have considered suing over the reports.

So what’s going on with these rumors? And also, what is a marchioness? Here’s what we know.

Let’s start with the basics: The tabloids claimed that Kate had allegedly been feuding with Rose Hanbury, one of her neighbors in Norfolk, U.K.

As Celebitchy points out, the Daily Mail had a gossip item last week that “friends” claimed Kate is feuding with Rose Hanbury, a former model married to David Rocksavage, the Marquess of Cholmondeley (which makes Rose the marchioness). The couple lives near Kate and Prince William’s country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, and thus hang out in the same circles — and apparently, the high-society set in that part of the U.K. is known as the “Turnip Toffs,” which, okay.

The Daily Mail report offered no reasons behind any supposed feud, except to say that Kate and Rose had a “terrible” falling out. The Sun further reported that Kate and her “rural rival” used to be close until this falling out, and that Kate is now trying to “phase” Rose out of her life. But again, no reasons behind why they might have fought were included.

Rose Hanbury. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Chr

Okay, but before we continue, what is a marchioness?

Ah, yes, the perplexing titles of the British aristocracy. If you don’t live in the U.K., chances are you might have been confused by Rose’s title. But luckily, Merriam-Webster (yes, the dictionary!) published a handy explainer of the title when a character from Downton Abbey (Edith) became one:

marquess is “a member of the British peerage ranking below a duke and above an earl.” It’s less well-known as a title than duke or earl (or viscount or baron), possibly because there are fewer marquessates than dukedoms or earldoms in Britain.

When Rose married the Marquess of Cholmondeley, she thus became a marchioness, which Merriam-Webster states means “the wife or widow of a marquess” or “a woman who holds the rank of a marquess in her own right.”

Great. So, how has everyone reacted to these rumors?

They seem upset! Richard Kay writes in the Daily Mail that he has been told that the rumors of a falling out are false, and that “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.” Kay also states that the “gossip started doing the rounds at small dinner parties late last year.” A “figure close to Rose” told him, “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.” Moreover, a “family source” also told Kay that “These hurtful rumours of a fall-out are simply false,” and that both women are hurt by the rumors.

Understandable!