Vulture: Why have so many articles about Rose Hanbury been deleted?


It really was the royal-gossip Wild West in the first six months of the year. A missing princess, an unsteady and drunk heir, the death of Thomas Kingston, and the renewed interest in Rose Hanbury. The rumors of a much-alleged affair between Rose and Prince William have circulated for years. We picked up on the story in March 2019, which is when the “rural rival” gossip began in the British tabloids. That was the story about the then-Duchess of Cambridge “phasing out” Rose because of some kind of falling out. There were enough breadcrumbs left out by the tabloids to lead us straight to an unfaithful egg. In the years that followed, the Rose rumors have been more of a persistent hum and an open secret. Then everything exploded this year for obvious reasons. Certainly, when Stephen Colbert name-checked Rose and the affair, it suddenly felt like everything went super-mainstream.

What happened after the Colbert segment was even weirder – Rose’s lawyers threatened to sue CBS and they were sending out formal denials of the affair. Even weirder was the fact that suddenly Rose was much more visible, showing up at the Badminton Horse Trials and chatting with Queen Camilla, then attending the OBE service with her husband. It felt… pointed. Well, adding to the years of shenanigans is the fact that so many of the shenanigans have been deleted from the digital record. Ellie Hall at Vulture did a HUGE breakdown of the years-long affair rumors and everything else, and Hall points out which rumors have been subsequently removed, mostly from the Mail, Express and the Sun. There are so many links to our coverage over the years too – we’ve got a lot of the good Rose Hanbury stuff archived here. You can read the full Vulture piece here.

Since 2019, rumors have circulated on gossip blogs and royal social-media spaces of a supposed affair between the Marchioness of Cholmondeley and Prince William despite lawyers for both parties strongly denying that there’s any truth to them…

As far as royal scandals go, the Rose-William story barely registers on a list that includes the far more sordid (and substantiated) stories of the previous generation of Windsors, such as Squidgygate, the now-King Charles’s infamous tampon comments, and the whole Fergie toe-sucking thing. But if you start to dig a little more into the history of these recent royal-affair rumors — if you go looking for information about the Marchioness of Cholmondeley’s connections to the House of Windsor — you quickly encounter a problem. Years of U.K. media coverage about Rose have now vanished. And, to be clear, we’re not talking about just allegations of “aristocratic extramarital romance” but also allusions to an apparent tension between friends Rose and Catherine. Foundational stories about Rose and the future king and queen now lead to unavailable pages or redirect to the host website’s homepage.

Other stories remain online but were updated post-publication to remove details about the “feud” or other unspecified “rumors” about Rose, William, and Catherine, as seen via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine or Vulture is unable to share links to the deleted stories for legal reasons. However, the mysterious individuals in charge of removing stories didn’t do a great job cleaning up after themselves. Broken links to these vanished stories still exist in each publication’s royal coverage from this timeframe and, in many cases, on these outlets’ official social-media accounts.

In total, this investigation found 21 deleted stories and six stories that were edited post-publication to remove information, published from 2019 to 2024. All of the media outlets in question are based in the U.K.: Tatler, the Daily Mail/MailOnline/Mail on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Mirror, the Sun, the Daily Express, the Guardian. Vulture sent several requests for comments to these outlets over a period of three months; the Guardian was the only news company to respond.

So where did they go? The gossipmongers’ assumption has always been that the Palace is pulling strings behind the scenes, leaning on media outlets to suppress news of or speculation about the alleged affair in order to protect the future king. (There have even been — wholly unsubstantiated, for the record — rumors on social media about a “media blackout” or “super injunction” on stories about William and Rose.) According to a Daily Beast story from April 2019, royal lawyers sent strongly worded letters to at least one media outlet warning them off reporting on the affair rumors, not just because they were “false and highly damaging,” but because they apparently violated Article 8 of the European Convention to Human Rights, they claimed.

But there have been no reports of the Palace asking media organizations to remove stories or parts of stories, and certainly no statements from the U.K. media outlets in question — or notices to readers — explaining why they’ve chosen to delete paragraphs and even entire posts. Legal representatives for both the royal family and the Marchioness of Cholmondeley strongly denied all rumors of an alleged affair between William and Rose but declined to provide any specific on-the-record statements about the deletion of or removal of information from the stories referenced above.

[From Vulture]

Vulture does one of the most substantial breakdowns I’ve ever seen of the chronology of the rumors and which articles have been since deleted or edited. We’ve covered that extensively over the years too, and Ellie Hall cites our stories throughout. One of the funniest censorship attempts was with Tatler’s Kate the Great cover story in 2020. Kensington Palace absolutely threw a sh-tfit and threatened to sue Tatler and KP made Tatler remove almost all of the story… months after the fact, months after the damage had been done. I absolutely feel like that’s why so many of the Rose stories have been edited, changed or removed too – Rose is not the one trying to censor the rumors. It’s almost always Kensington Palace. I’m including those infamous James Palmer tweets. When the editor of Foreign Policy is stating something as obvious…

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red, Cover Images.