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Quick: what’s Prince William’s legacy? Is it being second in line of succession to the British throne? Is it his brief tenure as the cover star of countless issues of J-14 and People Sexiest Man Alive editions (and his subsequent disappearance from such publications after he hit his thirties and revealed himself to be genetically less aligned with his glamorous mother and more with his Danvers carrot-resembling father?) Or is it inadvertently popularizing a sex act that had been most prominently associated with a tongue-in-cheek superhero franchise?
Last week, HRH’s legacy was essentially solidified when the hashtag #PrinceOfPegging started trending on Twitter. The hashtag was based on a tip from DeuxMoi, an Instagram account that publishes (completely unverified) celebrity blind items. One of the blind items last week centered on a British royal whose extramarital affairs are “an open secret in London and amongst the English aristo set.” The blind item reads as follows:
“At a recent media party, I was told the real reason for the affair was the royal’s love of pegging, which his wife is far too old-fashioned to engage in. The wife doesn’t mind her and in fact prefers her husband getting his sexual needs met elsewhere, as long as things don’t become emotional, which was the case with the last woman.”
For the uninitiated, “pegging,” a term coined by Dan Savage, is the act of donning a strap-on and having penetrative sex with another person; it most often refers to a heterosexual man being anally penetrated by a female partner, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The act has historically been stigmatized, but has increasingly gained acceptance within the cis-hetero community, thanks to rising cultural visibility via shows like Broad City and movies like Deadpool. “More heterosexual men are unlearning their shame-based biases around receptive anal, and more heterosexual women are becoming empowered by the depictions of pegging they’re witnessing in popular media,” says sex and intimacy coach Ashley Manta. She predicts that pegging “will continue to become more and more mainstream until it’s no more taboo than a hand job or blow job.”
Many royal watchers interpreted the tip as a reference to Prince William, whose marriage to Kate Middleton has been subject to intense speculation over the past few years. That’s largely due to rumors circulating about an extramarital affair between William and Rose Hanbury, who goes by the moniker the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley, for some reason). In 2019, there was a (now-deleted) story in the British tabloid the Sun suggesting that Kate Middleton and Rose, who had been good friends for some time, had had a falling-out, with some suggesting that William’s alleged affair with Rose was part of the reason why. (True to form, the palace did not comment directly on the story, instead dispatching anonymous sources to refute it. “This is a question of a lie going round the world before the truth has even had time to take its boots off,” one told the Daily Mail.)
Following the publication of that story, Rose has since been spotted going to church with William and Kate, and she was also photographed at Prince Philip’s memorial service a few months ago, ostensibly putting such rumors to bed. Yet the whispers of impropriety on William’s part have long lingered in the media, with the DeuxMoi blind item only fueling speculation.
Does William know about this rumor? Most likely no. Is he self-aware enough to know that, if true, it would be by far the most interesting thing about him? Nope. And would he be happy about the fact that he has been unwittingly elected a spokesperson for a taboo sex act that’s increasingly being embraced by heterosexual men? Probably not.
But that seems to be exactly what has happened, if Google Trends data surrounding the term “pegging” is any indication: as of last Thursday, searches for “pegging” had gone up 400 percent. Further, Pornhub Insights, that bellwether of cultural trends, published a blog post indicating that searches for “pegging” had gone up 318 percent in the United Kingdom alone, with “strap-on” also seeing an increase of 98 percent. The top three searches for the term included “Femdom pegging,” “Pegging threesome,” and “pegging his ass.” Hail Britannia.
This week on Don’t Let This Flop, Rolling Stone‘s podcast about internet news and culture, cohosts Ej Dickson and Liz Garber-Paul (filling in for Brittany Spanos on vacation this week) discuss Prince William’s alleged power bottom status, as well as Nazi furries, Kevin Bacon’s new career as TikTok sex symbol, and the return of Bama Rush Tok.