In early April 2019, rumors broke of an alleged affair between Prince William and Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Although evidence of any such infidelity seems to be thin at best, it hasn’t stopped the gossip from going viral. It’s bad enough that William and his wife of eight years, Kate Middleton, are in the midst of dealing with this media nightmare, but now the entire royal family has another major issue to contend with — trolls have pulled the late Princess Diana into William’s alleged cheating drama. And, c’mon, can we all agree that’s just bad form?
Obviously, the state of Will’s marriage has nothing to do with Diana. She passed away in 1997. Yet, countless tweets are conflating Will’s rumored affair with Diana’s experience more than two decades ago. The commentary ranges from simply tacky, alluding to Diana’s “revenge dress” after Prince Charles admitted he cheated, to such downright ugly insinuations that we refuse to regurgitate them here. The crux of these tweets, though, lies in the fact that Prince Charles rather notoriously cheated on Princess Diana during their marriage — and therefore Will allegedly cheating on Kate would be a betrayal in more ways than one.
— 𝔞𝔪𝔟𝔢𝔯 (@saintvenchy) April 25, 2019
Prince William cheated on Kate Middleton. The sad thing is that Prince William knows how painful it is to be cheated on. Have you forgotten what your mum went through?
I wish Kate Middleton is safe, though. The last time something like this happened, Princess Diana died.
— CJ (@carlooo_ss) April 25, 2019
— Rebekah (@rebekahw_2) April 26, 2019
Here’s why that’s so problematic. First and foremost, Diana isn’t here to provide her own context to the images of her being shared or to the sentiments being attributed to her. If she was still here, she would undoubtedly come out in defense of her son, who for all anyone knows is the victim of a fallacy at this point. Perhaps she would gently remind people how much trouble and heartbreak can be caused by a media-induced scandal frenzy.
But dragging Princess Di into this rumored cheating mess is also in such poor taste because Will and Harry have been so open about the mental health struggles they faced following her death. The death of a parent is not a minor incident in the life of a young person — it can have catastrophic effects long after the loss, which Harry admitted in an interview with The Telegraph in 2017. “I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” Harry said at the time, adding, “I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”
Clearly, the speculation surrounding Diana’s death as well as her marriage to Charles continue to weigh heavily on William and Harry. So, bringing her into the narrative about Will’s marital issues can presumably only cause more harm to this family who has already been through this vicious cycle of rumors once before.
It’s one thing to make a smarmy remark about Will alone. There’s zero need to bring his late mother into the mix.