Who are the Turnip Toffs? A look inside Kate and William's circle

So now we know she likes a rural rave, just who are Princess Catherine’s ‘Turnip Toff’ party chums?

  • The Princess of Wales attended the Houghton Festival with posh friends
  • A look at the Norfolk elite near William and Kate’s country home 
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Was she getting her own back on William for his surprise appearance at a Camden Town club a few weeks ago?

Or is the Princess of Wales more of a raver than anyone has thought quite possible?

Either way, Kate’s impromptu visit to a Norfolk music festival in the company of her friend the Marchioness of Cholmondeley – as reported by The Daily Mail’s Richard Eden – has thrown the spotlight back on the royal ‘court’ that surrounds the Waleses in the countryside.

Even though they are several hundred miles from Kensington Palace, Kate and William can call on a wide circle of well-connected friends and aristocrats for company whenever they are at Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home. 

They call them ‘the Turnip Toffs’… 

Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley

Prince William and Princess Catherine with the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Rose and David,  at Houghton Hall, King’s Lynn in June 2016

Rose Hanbury, The Marchioness of Cholmondeley at  the National Gallery in 2022

Kate had been dining with Norfolk neighbours David and Rose Hanbury at Houghton Hall when the three of them  paid a visit to the Houghton Festival on their estate.

David Rocksavage, 63 and Rose, 39 are the Marquis and Marchioness of Cholmondley. 

They married at Chelsea Town Hall in 2009, following a very brief engagement. 

READ MORE: The Princess of raves! Kate Middleton ‘secretly went to upper-class 24-hour music festival’ at Norfolk estate

They share twin boys Alexander, Earl of Rocksavage, and Oliver, Lord Cholmondeley, both 13, and a younger daughter, Lady Iris, seven.

Rose, who boarded at Stowe and has a degree from the Open University, had a modelling career and worked as a researcher for Conservative MP,  Michael Gove, now Secretary of State for Levelling Up.

Rose’s grandmother Lady Rose Lambert was a bridesmaid in Queen Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip in 1947.

Since, she and the Wales’ have teamed up to host a gala dinner in support of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ nook appeal in 2016 and Rose even sat next to Prince Harry at the Spanish state dinner at Buckingham Palace in 2017.

Rose’s son, Oliver, was recently one of the pages at King Charles’s Coronation in alongside Prince George.

David Rocksavage, Marquess of Cholmondeley 

David Cholmondeley, Marquess of Cholmondeley, with his wife Rose, attending The Serpentine Gallery summer party at The Serpentine Gallery on July 2, 2015 in London,

David Rocksavage, 63, Marquess of Cholmondeley, is a descendant of England’s first prime minister, Robert Walpole, and a former page to the Queen.

He is also descended from both the Rothschilds and the Sassoons.

Like many members of his family and the British aristocracy, Marquess Cholmondeley was educated at Eton College and later took classes at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

He became Marquess of Cholmondeley in March 1990 on the death of his father. 

David was Lord Great Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth, in which ceremonial role he walked backwards before the monarch on state occasions.

The one-time film-maker had established a lively and well-connected social life by the time he married in his 40s.

Houghton Hall, their home, is one of the country’s finest Palladian houses, surrounded by 1,000 acres of parkland.

Although he is no longer the Lord Great Chamberlain,  King Charles has appointed the Marquess as his Lord-in-Waiting — position that will see him attend important state and royal occasions, as well as being called upon to represent His Majesty at various events.

Sophie Carter

Sophie Carter and Robert Suggs on their wedding day at St Andrew’s Church in Letheringsett, Norfolk, on September 23, 2018

Sophie Carter, 39, is a childhood friend of the Princess of Wales and is the daughter of Norfolk construction tycoon Robert Carter.

She used to date Prince William’s best friend Thomas van Straubenzee but married Robert Snuggs at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk in 2018.

The couple have since settled near her parents, close to William and Kate at Anmer.

Prince George was a pageboy and Princess Charlotte was a bridesmaid at their wedding which was attended by Kate and Prince William, as well as the Middleton family.

Kate’s brother James and their parents Michael and Carole Middleton were there.

Sophie has often been seen with the Princess of Wales and her children.

Sophie’s brother Robert married another one of Kate’s school friends, Hannah Gillingham.

Tom and Polly Coke, Earl and Countess of Leicester

Thomas Coke, the Earl of Leicester, with his wife, Polly Whately, Countess of Leicester

Thomas Coke, the Earl of Leicester, married Polly Whately, the youngest daughter of the financier David Whately and his wife Belinda Belville, on December 21, 1996.

Tom, who was educated at Eton College, is a former page to the Queen and a one-time equerry to the Duke of Kent. He has spent time in the Army.

Polly is a milliner  and her mother – first cousin of the retro designer Cath Kidston – is a fashion designer in her own right who has dressed royals.

Today, they run the family estate at Holkham Hall, a vast Palladian pile on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea. The jewel of Holkham is its four-mile-long beach, often voted the finest in the UK.

The couple have four children Hermione, Juno, Edward and Elizabeth who are free to roam in Holkham’s 25,000 acres of park, farmland and nature reserve.

Rupert and Natasha Finch

Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Rupert Finch attend at Belgraves, A Thompson Hotel in 2013

The daughter of the Marquess of Reading, Lady Natasha Finch, 40, is an English aristocrat, socialite, and founder of Beulah London.

Natasha has always moved in High Society circles and considers not only Kate Middleton as a friend, but also Princess Beatrice, Jack Brooksbank and Lady Kitty Spencer. 

Her father was a close friend of Prince King, and she was friendly with both Prince William and Prince Harry growing up. 

Her husband, Rupert, briefly dated Kate before she met William when all three were studying at St Andrew’s.

Natasha and Rupert began dating some years later and were married at the Church of St John the Baptist in Cirencester in 2013 before a reception at Cirencester House, the home of Earl and Countess Bathurst. 

Both Kate and William were guests and Natasha and Rupert had been at their Royal Wedding in 2011.

Together the couple have three children. 

James and Laura Meade

James Meade and Lady Laura Marsham at the Parish Church of St. Nicholas in Gayton after their wedding in September 2013 near King’s Lynn

The Earl and Countess of Romney’s daughter Lady Laura Marsham married the Princes’ long-standing friend from Eton, James Mead at her family’s Norfolk house, Gayton Hall, in 2013. 

James is the son of the late Olympic gold medalist equestrian Richard Meade and was one of Prince William’s best men at his 2011 wedding. 

He comes from Gloucestershire but he has married Norfolk blue blood – his wife, Laura, was brought up at the family stately, Gayton Hall near Kings Lynn.

Lady Laura is also godmother to Prince Louis and is regularly spotted back in Norfolk.

William and Rosie van Cutsem

William van Cutsem and Rosie Ruck Keene leave the church of St Mary the Virgin in Ewelme after their wedding in May 2013 near Oxford, England

Another of Prince William’s closest friends, William van Cutsem is the youngest of the four sons of King Charles’s late Cambridge University friend, Hugh van Custem.

William van Cutsem grew up at Anmer Hall before his father Hugh moved the family to 4,000-acre Hilborough nearby and built a neo-Palladian house. 

Prince William and William remain close to one another and have acknowledged their friendship by making each other godparents to their children.

William van Cutsem is godfather to Prince George; Nicholas van Cutsem is godfather to Prince Louis; Prince Harry is godfather to Nicholas van Cutsem’s daughter, Florence, who was a flower girl at the Sussexes’ wedding; and Prince William is godfather to Hugh and Rose’s daughter Grace. 

William van Cutsem now lives near Swaffham, 40 minutes away from Amner Hall, with his wife Rosie Ruck Keene, who he married in 2013 after meeting at a shoot in Hilborough.

The same year, Rosie launched an outdoorwear label, Troy London, with her sister Lucia, with the Princess of Wales regularly wearing items from the brand.

William works for a property development company based in Bury St Edmunds.

Sussy Cazalet

Sussy Cazalet at the Rejina Pyo during London Fashion Week in February 2020 

Another on the Turnip Toff’s elite list is Sussy Cazalet, Princess Diana’s goddaughter and daughter of Diana’s Norfolk childhood friend, Isabel Dawnay.

Proving to have many royal links, Sussy’s grandfather was also the Queen Mother’s racehorse trainer, Peter Cazalet. 

Growing up between London and Norfolk, Sussy went on to study printed textiles at Leeds followed by a BA in interior architecture at Parsons School of Design NYC.

Having previously worked as a set designer and art director, she now runs her own interior design business in London, returning regularly to Norfolk to visit her family.

William and Violet Vestey

William and Violet Vestey at a dinner hosted by Cartier in celebration of The Chelsea Flower Show at The Hurligham Club, London in May 2014

The Vesteys are old family friends of the royals. William Vestey is the son of the late Lord Samuel Vestey, a friend of the late Queen, a member of her racing circle and godfather to the Duke of Sussex.

The family money – an estimated fortune of £750m – comes from Vestey Holdings, which owned the Dewhurst butchery chain.

Although William Vestey is not originally from Norfolk, his wife, Violet, was brought up in the county. They married at North Elmham, near Dereham, and still make regular trips to East Anglia.

Major General Sir William and Lucy William Cubitt

Major General Officer Sir William Cubitt (left), and British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) leaving Downing Street in central London in June 2011

Major General Sir William George Cubitt is a former senior British Army officer and High Sheriff.

He married Lucy Jane Pym in 1990 and they share a daughter and two sons.

The couple are also known to be confidantes of William and Kate – Sir William was in charge of all the military ceremonial involvement at the Royal wedding in 2011 and he was later Prince William’s boss at East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Tom and Davina Barber

Davina Duckworth-Chad and Tom Barber at All Saints Church, Sudbourne, Suffolk, in April 2011

Davina, whose maiden name was Duckworth-Chad, has strong royal connections. Her mother was Princess Diana’s cousin while her father, a Norfolk landowner, was a friend of Prince Charles. Her brother was an equerry.

Davina is said to have a ‘strong jocular friendship’ with William.

She studied History of Art at Bristol University before going into art dealership. After 10 years in London, the couple moved back to Norfolk – where husband Tom had spent his childhood holidays.

They live in South Acre, near, Swaffham, where Davina runs Source, an exclusive furniture finding agency.

Laura and Nick Pettman 

The daughter of Diana’s sister Jane Fellowes and Prince William’s older cousin, Laura is married to Nick Pettman and they have two sons.

While she and her family live in London during the week they, are often seen about the county on weekends in west Norfolk, where her father Lord Fellowes is said to be the most charming dinner guest in the county. 

Her father was the Queen’s land agent at Sandringham and Laura was bridesmaid to Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in July 1986.

Nick is an equity analyst and Laura is an award-winning novelist, writing fiction under the name of Mave Fellowes.

She shared a flat at Edinburgh University with William’s old flame, Isabella Calthorpe, who is now married to Richard Branson’s son Sam.

Robbie and Iona Buxton 

Robbie and Iona Buxton own 18th century Kimberley Hall and its Capability Brown-designed deer park.

Their invitation-only — 1,000 of their closest friends — camping ‘rave’ is the Norfolk Sloane’s summer highlight.

Iona writes architecture books and Robbie is an aviator, just like William, and a music lover.

The house is a Queen Anne gem overlooking a lake and walled garden.

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