Reports have been rampant that Prince William cheated on Kate Middleton with her former friend, Rose Hanbury, also known as the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. However, the story may not only be false but also greatly exaggerated as well.

News of an alleged affair between the Duke of Cambridge and Hanbury, a former model who also happens to be the couple’s neighbor in Norfolk, has been around for a while, with many suggesting that he had an affair while Middleton was pregnant with their third child, Prince Louis. However, following a report from the Daily Beast earlier this month, the reports have gained steam.

The website reports that at least one British publication was served with legal warnings about publishing news of the alleged affair, and it’s believed that the decision to use them may have been the last resort to put the story to rest overall.

“The use of a legal letter by William as a future king is very much a move of last resort,” Duncan Larcombe, former royal editor of The Sun, told Daily Beast. “If the stories of Kate freezing Rose out are true, then whatever caused the falling out must have been very serious.”

“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,” he added.

However, the story, which has also been blamed as being the reason for an alleged rift between the brothers themselves, may also be blowing a specific detail completely out of proportion—regardless of whether or not an affair took place.

Stories about the affair and fallout revolve around Middleton allegedly “freezing out” her former “best friend” over the news of the affair. However, the only evidence that they were close was that Rose and her husband regularly double-dated with the Duke and Duchess and that the two women, who are both patrons of the East Anglia Children’s Hospice, warmly greeted one another at a gala in 2016.

She also was seated next to Prince Harry at his first ever state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2017, according to Tatler.

However, while the women may have in fact been close, they also weren’t necessarily “best friends.” She did also attend the couple’s 2011 nuptials but may have been invited because she was already married to her own husband at the time.

Even if the two women are close, their bond may not be as strong as the one between Hanbury’s grandmother and Queen Elizabeth. Lady Elizabeth Lambert was a bridesmaid when Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947.

Of course, no matter whether the two women are close or not, there is still reason to believe the overall reports of an affair are false. Shortly after they first surfaced, The Daily Mail’s Richard Kay revealed that not only was the affair false, but the women themselves never even had a falling out at all.

“I am told the rumours of a falling out between these two attractive young women are false,” he said at the time. “I can also reveal both sides have considered legal action but, because none of the reports have been able to offer any evidence about what the so-called dispute is about, they have chosen to ignore it.”

Kate Middleton
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend Easter Sunday service at St George's Chapel on April 21, 2019 in Windsor, England. Getty Images/Samir Hussein/WireImage