As whispers have been swirling about Prince William’s possible affair with former model and current marchioness Rose Hanbury, The Daily Beast reports that at least one British publication has been served with a legal warning about reporting on the rumors.
According to Duncan Larcombe, former royal editor of The Sun, the act of sending a letter is not just unusual but a “last resort.” The letter itself, which was sent by royal firm Harbottle and Lewis, threatens serious legal action.
“In addition to being false and highly damaging, the publication of false speculation in respect of our clients’ private life also constitutes a breach of his privacy pursuant to Article 8 of the European Convention to Human Rights.”
The story has morphed wildly from its original inception. At first, the reports were simply of a minor drama between the Marchioness of Cholmondeley and the Duchess of Cambridge caused by a casual rivalry. Though the palace denied the rumors, Prince William almost immediately began considering legal action, which many thought extreme.
Soon after, reports of an affair between the future king and his pretty neighbor started circulating. A prominent food critic and writer for the Times of London, Giles Coren, seemed to give confirmation of the relationship in a tweet.
“Yes. It is an affair. I haven’t read the piece but I know about the affair. Everyone knows about the affair, darling.”
The tweet has since been deleted.
However, In Touch Weekly then made the rumors its cover story with the sensational headline, “William Cheats on Kate — With Her Friend!” The magazine continued to allege that William even cheated on Kate when she was pregnant with third child Prince Louis.
Though Kensington Palace did not address the In Touch Weekly story on the record with The Daily Beast, courtiers made it known that the story was “totally wrong and false.”
This is not the first time William has been gone to battle with the media. He and Kate were given $115,000 after a French publication published pictures showing Kate sunbathing topless while on holiday.
However, these rumors are the first to suggest issues in Kate and William’s marriage. The two are often heralded as the perfect pair and parents to three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Despite the whispers, the duke and duchess were all smiles at an event in Northern Ireland last month on St. Patrick’s Day.
Larcombe added that it was possible the threat of legal action is simply a new strategy in which the royals were more proactive with the press.
“While traditionally, the British royal family would not take specific legal action—the old saying was ‘never complain and never explain’—William and Harry are willing to do it in their own way.”