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Royals "Threw Harry Under the Bus" to Distract From William Affair Rumors, Insider Says

The author of the new book Endgame on William's alleged cheating with Rose Hanbury.

In April 2019, a rumor surfaced that Prince William was cheating with a woman named Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, who had been friendly with his wife, Kate Middleton. Soon after, more negative stories about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were published in the U.K. press. A coincidence? Not according to one royal expert.

RELATED: How William Kept Harry From Queen Elizabeth's Side Before Her Death, New Book Reveals.

Omid Scobie, the author of the new book Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy's Fight for Survival, said in a recent interview that the royal family "threw Harry under the bus" in order to distract from the rumor about William. As reported by Entertainment Tonight, Scobie made it clear that he does not believe Hanbury and William actually had an affair, but in his book he explores how the royal family responded to the bad press. The author noted to ET that the royals did not publicly deny the rumor, which gave it legs—"[T]hose rumors will never go away even though there's no truth to suggest that they are true," he explained. Instead they tried to deal with the allegations in a different way.

"I thought it was really interesting to analyze how the palace dealt with that," Scobie said of U.K. media looking into the affair allegation. "The worst case scenarios that they feared would happen, you know, just those rumors themselves were going to have enough impact, negatively, on William's reputation. We still see [the rumors] trend on Twitter on a regular basis … that's something that's incredibly damaging, I think, for William. It probably looks even worse, actually, that there was a kind of willingness to throw Harry under the bus simply to make these things disappear."

In an interview with SheKnows, Scobie spoke more in-depth about how the royal family offered Harry up to the press instead. Scobie said that negative stories about Markle and Harry surfaced after gossip about William's rumored cheating went viral. The writer said that an editor from The Sun told him it became hard to cover William's rumored affair because the palace communications staff became so angry whenever the rumor was brought up. According to Scobie, the editor told him, "There was a nice stream of Harry and Meghan stuff coming in so [the editors] were happy."

Rose Hanbury, Prince William, and Kate Middleton in 2016
Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Scobie continued, "Harry even wondered if someone at the Palace had helped move certain journalist on to other stories—and away from the Rose gossip. He would later find out he was right." The writer also said that Harry and Markle were "used as currency to avoid crises" in other areas. "Anatomizing the rollout of what went on behind the scenes gives us a better understanding of how the fractures between William and Harry were hammered on and and sort of why we've reached this moment of no return." Additionally, Scobie said that there is some regret on William's team about how this was handled.

Harry wrote about the royals and their staffs secretly giving stories to the press in his memoir, Spare, which was published in January. As reported by BuzzFeed News, Harry writes about William being upset about a story that was released about him in April 2019.

"Towards the end of April 2019, days before Meg was due to give birth, Willy rang," Harry writes in Spare. "Something had happened between him and Pa and Camilla. I couldn't get the whole story, he was talking too fast, and was way too upset. He was seething actually. I gathered that Pa and Camilla's people had planted a story or stories about him and Kate, and the kids, and he wasn't going to take it anymore. Give Pa and Camilla an inch, he said, they take a mile. They've done this to me for the last time. I got it. They'd done the same to me and Meg as well."

Harry clarifies that he doesn't believe it was King Charles III and his wife who planted the story themselves. "It wasn't them, technically," he writes. "It was the most gung-ho member of Pa's comms team, a true believer who'd devised and launched a campaign of getting good press for Pa and Camilla at the expense of bad press for us."

Harry has said that he believed the royal family actively tried to undermine the release of Spare. In a recent interview with People, Scobie claimed that William is quietly trying to sabotage Harry by working with the press. "I was talking to a source quite early on in the process [of writing Endgame], and they called Harry a 'defector' and said that was William's view," he said. "These were two men who once upon a time were firmly aligned in their outlook. One of them had to move on to also protect the crown." People reported that Kensington Palace had no comment.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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