Princess Catherine Secretly Attends a 24-Hour Music Festival on a Whim—and with Rose Hanbury

“Catherine was nervous about the idea, but, after much discussion with her protection officers, she went with lots of security.”

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

Well, this is nothing short of unexpected: Multiple outlets report that, while on summer break (as she remains), the Princess of Wales reunited with old friend Rose Hanbury (yes, that Rose Hanbury, of the unfounded cheating rumors with Catherine’s husband, Prince William) and went to an all-night music festival with her. Okay, what?

After being persuaded by friends at a dinner party—and though she was nervous to go—Catherine apparently went in secret to an upper-class, 24-hour rave at Hanbury’s estate in Norfolk, the first time she’d ever gone to such an event.

Kate Middleton at polo

(Image credit: Getty)

The idea apparently originated at Hanbury’s home, Houghton Hall, over dinner with the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Rose and her husband, David. (They are neighbors of William and Catherine when they are at their beloved country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk.) At the time of said dinner, the Houghton Festival was taking place on the Marquess and Marchioness’ 1,000-acre estate. “After dinner, one of the guests suggested that Catherine go to the festival,” a source told The Daily Mail. “Catherine was nervous about the idea, but, after much discussion with her protection officers, she went with lots of security. William wasn’t there.”

Kate Middleton at Wimbledon 2023

(Image credit: Getty)

The Houghton Festival is billed as Britain’s only 24-hour music festival and was launched in 2017. This year, over 200 artists performed across 13 stages, with music playing somewhere on the Houghton Estate at all times from Thursday to Sunday. The Daily Mail reports over 12,000 were expected to attend.

The music festival wasn’t the first time Catherine has been to the estate—in 2018, Catherine attended the Houghton Horse Trials with two of her three children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, Hello reports. The estate is nearby Anmer Hall, which William previously said was a place where “we spend as much time as we can here. It’s very peaceful.” 

Rose Hanbury in blue, clutching a program

Rose Hanbury

(Image credit: Getty)

The festival is the brainchild of DJ Craig Richards and is described by organizers as a “celebration of art and music in the Norfolk countryside.” Richards has previously said, per The Mirror, that one of his favorite parts about the festival is that there is no cell signal.

“Different levels of fantasy and freedom come with not having a phone,” he said. “We’re all on those things so much, and while it’s an absolute drama for us not to have phones in there while we’re building and preparing, it’s one of the greatest happy accidents of the festival. People leave the festival having not interacted with their phone. I mean, possibly not even to use it as a camera. If you remove phones from the dance floor and from the campsite, you really are in a much more liberated environment.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.