Associate Editor
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and van Straubenzees graphic
The van Straubenzees are trusted confidantes to the Cambridges

三级成人视频The recent marriage of Thomas van Straubenzee to Lucy Lanigan-O’Keeffe would have been unremarkable were it not for their rumoured Royal matchmakers.

三级成人视频Having been besties with van Straubenzee since their Ludgrove School days, Prince William and his wife Kate are suspected to have introduced the property consultant to his blooming bride – who just happens to teach at the London school attended by Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Cambridges’ supposed Cilla Black moment in setting up the Thomas’s Battersea school mistress, 32, with Charlotte’s godfather, Thomas, 38, caps a long history of fierce friendship between the van Straubenzees and the Windsors.

The Cambridges are suspected to have played matchmaker to Lucy Lanigan-O'Keeffe and Thomas van Straubenzee Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo

With the Duke and Duchess of Sussex now having settled in the California coastal city of Santa Barbara, some in royal circles are even suggesting that the newlyweds are now the true second couple in the so-called “Fab Four” – especially in light of this week’s revelations in Finding Freedom, the controversially hagiographic Harry and Meghan biography.

As Joe Little, the managing editor of Majesty magazine put it: “You don’t get any more trusted than the van Straubenzees. They are as close to the Royals as it is possible for friends to be. They will certainly be playing an important role in William and Kate’s lives in the Sussexes’ absence.”

So chummy are the quartet that Charlotte, five, was poised to be a bridesmaid and William, 38, an usher at the wedding, which was due to take place in April before it was delayed and downscaled due to coronavirus restrictions.  

Instead, the couple married at Chelsea Old Church, in south west London, on July 24 with only their parents and siblings present.

Having helped to spark the flames of romance between the pair, who are expecting their first child, the Cambridges regard the couple to be among their most steadfast allies – if not the most loyal.

Thomas van Straubenzee is a close friend of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo

Hence why Thomas, nicknamed “Van”, and Lucy were among the tight knit group of guests invited to Anmer Hall, the Cambridge’s Norfolk botlhole, to celebrate Kate’s 38th birthday in January.

They joined the couple, the Queen and the Duchess’s parents for a Sunday service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate, before returning to the Cambridges’ Grade II listed 10-bedroom country pile to kick off the festivities. HM is said to be particularly fond of Thomas, who has previously been invited for summer weekends at Balmoral.

Also present was Lady Laura Meade, one of two-year-old Prince Louis’ godparents, and her husband James Meade – another of William’s closest pals, as well as Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley and her husband, David, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, who are part of the Cambridges’ “Norfolk set”.

The show of support came just days before Harry and Meghan dropped their bombshell statement announcing they were stepping back as senior Royals.

Thomas’s youngest brother Charlie, 32, remains close to Harry – having given a speech at his May 2018 wedding to Meghan and now as godfather to their son Archie, one.

Yet after the Sussexes suddenly upped sticks to the US, cutting many of their British ties, it seems the senior van Straubenzees have found themselves very much at the heart of the Cambridge camp.

Members of the landed gentry of Spennithorne, North Yorkshire and boasting a strong military tradition, the van Straunbezees have always had a place at the centre of the Royal Family’s “circle of trust”.

三级成人视频That intimate bond stems from Princess Diana’s childhood friendship with William van Straubenzee, Thomas’s uncle, who admitted in a 2017 documentary that he was “in love” with her.

“Anyone from any gender or orientation who knew of her was in love with her,” he reflected as he painted a touching picture of the young Lady Diana Spencer who used to “pinch” his shirts and read “trashy novels”.

三级成人视频“She was shy and pretty unsure of herself, pretty naive and quite gullible really,” he revealed “Whenever you saw her alone… there was a side to her that she wished someone would sweep her off her feet.”

三级成人视频So when William and Harry joined Ludgrove Prep, near Wokingham in Berkshire, it was only natural that they should be befriended by the junior van Straubenzees.

Thomas van Straubenzee has maintained a close friendship with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge Credit:  Max Mumby/Indigo

三级成人视频Although Thomas later attended Harrow School, while the Royal brothers went to Eton, they remained in touch – with the van Straubenzees providing much needed support in the aftermath of Diana’s death in 1997.

三级成人视频The roles were reversed when the van Straubenzees suffered their own tragedy in 2002 when Henry, the middle son, was killed in a car crash aged just 18. Their parents Alex and Claire, to whom William and Harry are both close, set up a memorial fund in Henry’s memory, of which the Princes remain co-patrons.

Three years later, when William was invited to go on his first solo Commonwealth tour to New Zealand, he picked Thomas to accompany him – on the advice of his grandmother.

三级成人视频The qualified chartered surveyor, who works as a partner in the private office of estate agent Knight Frank, has also shown a huge amount of loyalty to Kate over the years.

When she split up with William in April 2007, after five years together, it was van Straunbenzee who reportedly encouraged the couple back into each other’s arms. But Thomas saved Kate’s blushes by sitting next to William at the Concert for Diana at Wembley stadium, while she sat in the row behind next to her younger brother James. It only later emerged that the couple had secretly reunited after their relationship “wobble”.

William and Kate could certainly sympathise when Thomas broke up with his first wife Lady Melissa Percy, daughter of the 12th Duke of Northumberland, after less than three years of marriage in 2016. ‘Missy’ as she is known to her close friends, including Harry’s ex Chelsy Davy, Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, cited van Straubenzee’s “unreasonable behaviour” as the reason for their “quickie” divorce – although insiders have suggested the straight-laced businessman had simply grown apart from his rather more extroverted wife.  

Concerned for their newly-single chum – who gave a speech at their wedding in 2011 – William and Kate are understood to have set about finding him a girlfriend. Although the precise details remain sketchy, after George, now seven, started school at Thomas’s Battersea, he ended up being introduced to Miss Lanigan-O’Keeffe, who teaches mindfulness and outdoor learning, as well as being assistant head at its sister school in Clapham. The barrister’s daughter, whose brother is Irish Olympic pentathlete Arthur, is originally from Co Kilkenny, Ireland.

According to Mr Little: “William will be bursting with pride that this love match has ended in marriage. So will Kate – she has always been a big fan.”

The couple got engaged in June last year and moved into a five-bedroom home in Clapham in January. With the pitter patter of tiny feet already fast approaching, it is surely only a matter of time before William is asked to repay years of unwavering friendship by stepping up as godfather to the next member of the Cambridges’ most trusted clan.