Who Is Rose Hanbury's Husband David Cholmondeley?

Before the world learned of the tragedy surrounding Princess Catherine and her cancer diagnosis, conspiracy theories were rife regarding the princess' whereabouts. One major rumor was the alleged affair between Prince William and Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Whispers of an affair between William and Hanbury have circulated for years, but they finally came to a head during "Kate-gate" when idle chatter surfaced suggesting that the princess had a breakdown due to her husband's supposed indiscretions. Hanbury addressed the Prince William rumors through her attorneys who told Business Insider that "the rumors are completely false." 

Furthermore, Rose Hanbury made legal moves against talk show host Stephen Colbert, who referenced the alleged affair on his show. Her attorneys issued a statement to In Touch, saying, "We have written on our client's behalf to CBS and various other reputable media organisations to confirm that the allegation is false." Hopefully, this will squelch the affair rumors once and for all and allow William and Catherine to focus on her health. 

But what about Hanbury's family? With so much focus on the Rose Hanbury-William-Catherine love triangle, it's easy to forget that there's a fourth person, Hanbury's husband, David Cholmondeley (pronounced "Chumley") in the mix. So who is the  7th Marquess of Cholmondeley? By all accounts, he is a man with ties to the monarchy that span decades with royal roots that run deep.

David Cholmondeley is entitled in more ways than one

Like many British blue bloods, or "turnip toffs" as the Wales' inner circle is known, David Cholmondeley holds many names and titles. Born June 27, 1960, David George Philip Cholmondeley was christened Viscount Malpas before becoming the Earl of Rocksavage. He inherited his current title as the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley following his father's death in 1990. That title came with the role of Lord Great Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth II until her death in 2022, a responsibility he once told The New York Times that he was somewhat reluctant to take. Maybe because it involved walking backward in front of the queen as she walked down the aisle of the House of Lords at the annual opening of Parliament, and occasionally carrying her crown. ”Being marquess wasn't something I would have chosen for myself,” he told the outlet in 1997. ”In fact, I was rather frightened when it happened. I still am. I haven't got it all quite right yet.”

Cholmondeley, who didn't miss a step, was appointed Lord-In-Waiting to King Charles III following the queen's death. Unlike his former position, his current role doesn't require any fancy footwork. It only asks that he put his best foot forward as he represents the king at various royal events and engagements. His son, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, is following in his father's royal footsteps, having served as a Page of Honour at the king's coronation.

In his youth, David Cholmondeley lived up to his Rocksavage title

To those who know him now, David Cholmondeley may seem regal. However, in his youth, the man was dubbed "the greatest catch in England" and was living up to his Rocksavage name by partying like a rock star. Like many of England's elite, Cholmondeley was schooled at Eton and then moved to France, where he studied at the Sorbonne. Rather than embrace the rules and rigidity imposed by his heritage, the young man's life was less soon-to-be Lord and more lifestyles of the rich and famous. He cemented his reputation as a playboy by dating a bevy of beautiful models and actresses. One can assume that his little black book read like a "who's who" with names like heiress Sabrina Guinness and French actress Isabelle Adjani among the women on his arm. 

It wasn't just his womanizing ways that made the rakish aristocrat the talk of the town. He was known for hobnobbing with a host of celebrities, including Johnny Depp and Mick Jagger, both of whom were known for their wild ways. Cholmondeley also struck up what turned out to be a lifelong friendship with François-Marie Banier. The two reportedly bought a home together in Paris, where they threw infamous parties for their collection of A-list friends. The French photographer, who served jail time for scamming L'Oréal shampoo heiress Liliane Bettencourt out of a large chunk of her fortune, is named godfather to Cholmondeley's twin boys.

The 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley is a very wealthy man

They say a man's home is his castle, but in the case of David Cholmondeley, it's true. He may not be a prince or a king, but he does own the ancestral Cholmondeley Castle located in Chesire. The 1st Marquess built the castle in the early 19th century, and generations of the Cholmondeley family have called it home ever since. While the castle is private, the lush, beautiful 70 acres of gardens surrounding it are open to the public at designated times. The estate is just part of the estimated £112 million, ($140 million ) that Cholmondeley inherited when he was only 30 years old, perhaps contributing to his "greatest catch" status. It also includes the palatial Houghton Hall located in Norfolk, close to the residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, where the Cholmondeley family primarily reside. 

But even with two grand homes and approximately 10,000 acres of land, it was reported that Cholmondeley, an avid art collector, sold several pieces of furniture and artifacts from the family's Houghton Hall home to pay taxes and help with restoration costs. One piece, Hans Holbein the Younger's "Lady With A Squirrel And A Starling," sold to the National Gallery for £10 million (more than $12 million). "These are hard decisions but you have to make sacrifices, as many families have had to, in order to keep up these houses," Cholmondeley told the Financial Times.

A long courtship led to a whirlwind wedding for David Cholmondeley

With his vast fortune and party-boy lifestyle, it seemed highly unlikely to those who knew David Cholmondeley that he was ready to settle down and start a family. Then, a young 19-year-old model named Rose Hanbury entered the scene, and the 42-year-old marquess was smitten. The May-December romance first bloomed in 2003, when the pair met in Italy at the home of disgraced politician Lord Lambton. Although Cholmondeley was old enough to be her father, the two looked good on paper despite the 23-year age difference. Like the marquess, Hanbury also has royal connections. Most notably, her maternal grandmother was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II to the Duke of Edinburgh.  

While the courtship lasted six years, once the couple's engagement was announced in June 2009, things escalated quickly. The next day, Hanbury's mother revealed that her daughter was pregnant, and the following day, Hanbury and Cholmondeley tied the knot. Unlike their close friends, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the marchioness and marquess decided to forgo the pomp and circumstance of a fairytale wedding and instead quietly wed at the Chelsea Town Hall.  While Cholmondeley is often reluctant to discuss his private life, he did express his enjoyment of married life in a Vanity Fair interview saying, "But to do things together, with someone, rather than doing things here alone, as I was for many years, has been very exciting."

David Cholmondeley went from bachelorhood to fatherhood in the blink of an eye

The road from bachelorhood to fatherhood was short for David Cholmondeley. Just a few months after marrying Rose Hanbury in 2009, he had not one but two male heirs. The twin boys were born 12 weeks early via Cesarean section, making it challenging to determine their birth order, as the firstborn inherits properties and titles. The topic became the talk of the town until the family revealed that Alexander Hugh George Cholmondeley was the firstborn and thereby christened the Earl of Rocksavage while his barely younger brother was titled Lord Oliver Timothy George Cholmondeley. The marquess, however, stands firm that the distinction between his heir and spare will be in title only. "Both boys are being brought up with the name Cholmondeley," their father told Vanity Fair. "The elder is only heir to the title 'Marquess of Cholmondeley,' and to nothing else obligatorily." In fact, it was the younger twin, Lord Oliver who served as a Page of Honour at the Coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort. 

The family welcomed a girl, Lady Iris Marina Aline Cholmondeley, in 2016. The siblings are growing up together at Houghton Hall, which delights their father, who spent his formative years at Cholmondeley Castle. "It's very nice to have a family here," he told Vanity Fair. "It's the first time there have been young children living here for about 80 or 90 years."

The Marquess of Cholmondeley's family estate is no ordinary country home

Calling Houghton Hall a country home is like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch. Originally built for David Cholmondeley's ancestor and Britain's first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, in 1722, the marquess inherited the 4,000-acre, 106-room estate at the age of 30. However, the long-time bachelor didn't call it home until  2009 when he and his new wife, Rose Hanbury, welcomed their twin sons. To provide context as to just how grand this home is, the boys often rollerskate throughout the entrance hall. 

According to Hanbury, maintaining a home of this size and historical significance is a full-time job, but the family has mostly conserved its original design, adding a few modern comforts like a cozy family kitchen to accommodate their growing brood. "Family life brings a new dimension and some things need to adapt," Hanbury told The English Home.

The house is home to an astounding art collection begun by Walpole and amassed throughout generations of the Cholmondeley family. However, the 7th Marquess had to sell some pieces to pay for taxes, restoration, and to create a healthy endowment for the home when it became his to manage. Since then, he has continued to preserve the past with an eye on the future, adding modern art to the grounds while maintaining the majority of the interior's original furnishings and decor. "Every generation has to find a way to keep these places going," he told Vanity Fair. 

David Cholmondeley is accused of housing stolen artifacts in the family estate

It seems that once the public started dissecting the photos of the Princess of Wales in the wake of "Kate-gate," they couldn't stop there. They continued to inspect photos of David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury posing at their Houghton Hill home. Although the marquess is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, some say his grand estate is filled with stolen treasures. The controversy occurred after eagle-eyed readers unearthed a May 2013 Vanity Fair article, along with a piece in the Financial Times exactly 10 years later. In both articles, the couple is surrounded by the beauty, architecture, and priceless art of their Norfolk country home, but there were a few pieces in particular that caught the attention of some people on X, formerly Twitter. 

"People in China looked a little too closely at this photoshoot of the Marquis and Marchioness of Cholmondeley in their gorgeous stately home, and noticed that it's full of authentic Chinese furniture and artefacts (sic) that were stolen from China during the fall of the Qing dynasty, and they are pissed," tweeted one user. 

The thread went on to accuse Cholmondeley's paternal grandparents, the Sassoons, of taking the items while they were trading opium in China. While no one is left to deny or confirm that claim, it is known that the Sassoon family was big in international trading and did business with China, but as of now, it remains a mystery.

He is a true Renaissance man

It's hard to reconcile the image of David Cholmondeley, Lord-in-Waiting to King Charles III, with the image of David Rocksavage, film director and screenwriter. However, the marquess is all of these things and a lot more. A true Renaissance man, Cholmondeley is an art aficionado, a Rachmaninoff Conservatory-trained piano player, a jazz lover, and a movie maker. His first film, a small-budget, 50-minute documentary on Eton, which he crafted while still a student there, was promptly purchased by the BBC. Since then, he found a niche serving up British and French documentaries. His one feature film, "Other Voices, Other Rooms," adapted from Truman Capote's novel of the same name, received critical praise when it opened in New York. Not only did he direct the film, but he also collaborated on the script.

A storyteller at heart, Cholmondeley's documentaries often center on the life experiences of much older generations and mines his family history for treasures. One sordid tale involved his wealthy Jewish grandmother marrying an English gentile, a decision that he said resulted in several years of silent treatment from her family. "I like nostalgia and the passage of time," he told The New York Times. He credits his interest in his elders to a desire for a mentor, something he didn't find within his family. "My father and I had a good relationship, but he wasn't somebody in whom you confided your secrets or your worries,” he shared. 

Is David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury's marriage on the rocks?

In light of all the rumors surrounding David Cholmondeley and his wife's connection to the Prince of Wales, one has to wonder: What's it like inside David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury's relationship

Some claim it's a marriage of convenience, citing his unusual relationship with the controversial French photographer François-Marie Banier. X platform has been abuzz with speculation surrounding the men's relationship, with one user posting, "Turns out, Will's mistress Rose Hanbury's husband has been involved for years with François-Marie Banier, who swindled Liliane Bettencourt, the L'Oreal heiress out of millions. This could not get juicier." The gossip is compounded by the amount of time the marquess allegedly spends with his friend rather than at home with his wife and children. One unnamed source heard from Hanbury's brother that the marquess ran to his friend when the rumors about his wife's supposed affair began to surface. "Rose is up there in Norfolk in a nice stately pile," the source told The Sun (via Inquisitr). "She's a pretty girl and David is often a long way away in Paris or London." 

While no one knows what goes on behind the closed doors of Houghton Hall, it's safe to say that these types of rumors on both sides could be devastating to any marriage. So far, however, the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley appear to be together, and no talk of divorce has surfaced from any credible source.