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Prince Harry seated next to Kate's model friend at Spanish state banquet

Rose Hanbury is close to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

by Gemma Strong

Prince Harry attended his very first state banquet on Wednesday – and found himself seated next to a former fashion model, who also happens to be a close friend of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Harry, 32, was paired with Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, for the royal procession into the ballroom at Buckingham Palace, looking very dapper in white tie and tails. The pair chatted easily as they walked into the banquet together, before taking their seats; the Marchioness was seated on Harry's left, while the Spanish Prime Minister's chief of staff, Jorge Moragas-Sanchez, was on his right.

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Rose is the wife of David Cholmondeley, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley. The couple announced their engagement in June 2009, before announcing Rose's first pregnancy the very next day. They tied the knot just 24 hours later. The pair are now the proud parents of three children: seven-year-old twins Alexander, Earl of Rocksavage and Oliver, Lord Cholmondeley, and one-year-old daughter Lady Iris.

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Rose and 57-year-old David, who is more than 20 years her senior, live just three miles from William and Kate's Norfolk manor, Anmer Hall. David inherited an estimated £112million estate 25 years ago, incluiding Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire.

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William and Kate both attended Wednesday's banquet, which was held in honour of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. William was seated between Prime Minister Theresa May and the Spanish royals' chief of staff Jaime Alfonsin-Alfonso. His wife, who was seated on the corner of the grand horseshoe-shaped table, was next to the Spanish ambassador to London Carlos Bastarreche-Sagues. On her right was the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby - who recently performed the rededication service at Diana, Princess of Wales's grave at Althorp, at which the Duchess was present.

The ballroom was decked out to befit the grand occasion, with eight glittering chandeliers and magnificent floral displays featuring pale and deep pink roses and peonies, stocks and sweet peas. In a touching gesture, in front of the Queen, Prince Philip, Felipe and Letizia, were placed three gilt fish ornaments – a 50th wedding anniversary present from Felipe’s father, former king Juan Carlos.