Rose Hanbury Sends Legal Notice to Stephen Colbert Over Prince William Affair Joke on ‘The Late Show’

Kate Middleton may also have a lawsuit of her own on her hands.

Rose Hanbury and Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After Stephen Colbert brought the all-but-dead Prince William and Rose Hanbury affair rumors back to life during an opening monologue on The Late Show on March 12, Hanbury has not only spoken out publicly about the rumors for the first time in five years (the speculation started in 2019) but is also threatening legal action against Colbert over his joke, Us Weekly reports.

Rose Hanbury

Both Hanbury and the Princess of Wales could take potential legal action, Hanbury against Stephen Colbert for comments about affair rumors with Prince William, and Kate against The London Clinic for a breach of her private medical records.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It has been confirmed that Hanbury’s lawyers sent a legal notice to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after Colbert “poked fun at rumors she was unfaithful with William in 2019—and linked the alleged affair to speculation about Princess Kate Middleton’s whereabouts as she recovers from surgery,” Us Weekly reports.

“The rumor appears to have entered into the mainstream media recently as a result of another joke made about it on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Hanbury’s lawyers said in a statement. “We have written on our client’s behalf to CBS and various other reputable media organizations to confirm that the allegation is false.” 

Rose Hanbury

Hanbury, who is friends with William and Kate, spoke out publicly against the affair rumors for the first time since speculation began in 2019.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Also, through her lawyers, Hanbury spoke out for the first time about the rumors, telling Business Insider that the allegations “are completely false.” This is the first time that Hanbury has addressed the story publicly since its origins; Hanbury and her husband, David Rocksavage (who, together, are the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley), are the parents of three children and are neighbors of William and Kate’s at the country home of the Wales family, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk. Hanbury and her family live nearby at Houghton Hall. In 2023, both Marquess Cholmondeley and his son, Lord Oliver, had major roles in King Charles Coronation—David as the King’s lord-in-waiting and Oliver as a Page of Honor alongside Prince George, William and Kate’s eldest child.

Rose Hanbury at the Coronation

Hanbury at King Charles' Coronation in May 2023

(Image credit: Getty)

Meanwhile, Kate could “absolutely” file a civil lawsuit after her private medical records were involved in a security breach at The London Clinic, where she underwent abdominal surgery on January 16. As the public continues to wonder what has sidelined Kate from public-facing royal duty for so long, The London Clinic launched an investigation into its employees after members of the hospital’s staff reportedly tried to access Kate’s private medical records; the investigation began after one staffer attempted to access the Princess of Wales’ file without permission.

“Kate can always file a civil lawsuit for invasion of privacy,” attorney and legal expert Neama Rahmani told Us Weekly, adding it should be “easy to catch” the perpetrator, given the nature of the breach. “If she wants to go after the perpetrator to say that her privacy rights were violated, she can absolutely do so,” adding “It’s pretty clear right now whenever you access a file or a site, who’s doing so,” he said. “It’s just really a question of, did the perpetrator just try to access the data, or was he or she able to actually see it? In which case that would be a very serious violation.” 

Kate Middleton

As if Kate didn't have enough going on in 2024, now this, a security breach of her private medical records.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If caught, consequences for the perpetrator could range from “a criminal investigation and prosecution” to a professional penalty, resulting in suspension or even losing their license entirely.

It remains to be seen whether Kate will opt to take legal action or not. The London Clinic CEO Al Russell addressed the security breach in a statement to NBC News this week, writing “Everyone at The London Clinic is acutely aware of our individual, professional, ethical, and legal duties with regards to patient confidentiality.” He noted that the hospital has “systems in place to monitor management of patient information and, in the case of any breach, all appropriate investigatory, regulatory, and disciplinary steps will be taken.”

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.