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Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

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Title: Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge  
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Subject: Lupton family, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa Middleton, Baron Carrickfergus, Joseph Priestley
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Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Coat of arms granted to Michael Francis Middleton (the father of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) on 19 April 2011, as the armigerous head of the family.[1]
Ethnicity English
Current region Bucklebury, West Berkshire, England
Earlier spellings Middeltone, Mideltuna, Middeltune
Place of origin United Kingdom
Notable members Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Michael Middleton
Carole Middleton
Pippa Middleton
James William Middleton
Connected families Lupton, Goldsmith

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is a member of the Middleton family, the daughter of Michael and Carole Middleton and sister of Pippa and James. Shortly before her royal wedding to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, in April 2011, a coat of arms was granted to her father Michael Francis Middleton as the armigerous head of the family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.


Michael Francis Middleton was born in Leeds in 1949, the son of a pilot. His grandfather Noel Middleton was a solicitor. Like his father, Peter Francis Middleton and grandfather Noel, Michael was educated at Clifton College.[2] At Clifton, all three Middleton men boarded at Brown House.[3]

It was reported in June 2014, that Michael's great grandfather, politician Francis Martineau Lupton, was the first cousin of Sir Thomas Martineau, whose nephew was Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.[4][5][6]

Carole Elizabeth Middleton (née Goldsmith) was born on 31 January 1955 at Perivale Maternity Hospital in Ealing.[7][8][9] The daughter of a builder, Ronald Goldsmith (1931–2003), and Dorothy Harrison (1935–2006), she was raised in a small house in Southall,[10] and attended the local state schools.[11]

The couple met when they both worked for British Airways (BA) as flight attendants.[2] In 1979, Michael was promoted within BA and became an Aircraft Dispatcher, one of British Airways' elite Redcaps, at London Heathrow Airport, where he kept track of the airline's fleet on the ground. The couple were married on 21 June 1980, at the parish church of St James in Dorney, Buckinghamshire.[12] They bought a semi-detached Victorian house in Bradfield Southend near Reading, Berkshire.[2]

The couple have three children (two daughters and one son). Following the birth of their daughters Catherine Elizabeth (born 1982) and Philippa Charlotte (born 1983),[13] the family briefly moved to Amman, Jordan, where Michael worked from 1984 to 1987.[14]

Business success and inherited wealth

Their third and youngest child, a son named James William, was born in 1987.[2] It was at this time, when Catherine and Philippa were at a pre-school at [16][13][17][18][19]

The Middleton's business was successful, and over the space of a few years the Middletons are reported to have become very wealthy.[20] This wealth, combined with the large trust funds Michael Middleton inherited from his grandmother Olive Middleton, enabled the Middleton tradition of independent education to continue.[21][22][23] Both daughters were sent to the independent Downe House, a girls' boarding school in Cold Ash, and finally the public school; Marlborough College, Wiltshire. Their brother James also attended Marlborough.[24]

Shortly before his elder daughter's royal marriage, Michael was granted a coat of arms. This features three acorn sprigs, one for each of his children. The oak represents England and strength as well as the family's home district of West Berkshire. The white chevronels symbolise peaks and mountains, said to represent the family's love of the Lake District and skiing, and the gold chevron represents Carole Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith.[25]

The Middletons have been described by the British press as "minted" and "moneyed middle class, with a smattering of blue-blooded antecedents".[26][27]


The Middletons' first daughter, Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton, now known as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, was born on 9 January 1982. After finishing at Marlborough, she went to study at University of St Andrews. It was here, while living at St Salvator's Hall, that she met Prince William.[28][29] After a long relationship, and a six-month engagement, she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.[14]

In December 2012, it was announced that Catherine and William were expecting their first child; Catherine gave birth to a son, Prince George of Cambridge, on 22 July 2013, who is third in line to the throne.

Their second daughter, Earl Percy, heir of the Duke of Northumberland.[30] Following graduation, in 2008 she took an events management / marketing job with Table Talk, a London-based events catering company.[31] She also writes for Spectator, Vanity Fair and The Party Times, an online magazine which is an off-shoot of her parents' company.[32]

James William Middleton, their youngest child and only son, was born on 15 April 1987. He was educated at St Andrew's School, Pangbourne, and Marlborough College. He started a degree in Environmental Resources Management at the University of Edinburgh before leaving in 2006 after one year to start his own cake-making business, the Cake Kit Company.[33][34] His company was later reported to have lost nearly £17,000 by April 2012.[35]

Both of Catherine's siblings played a prominent role in their sister's wedding: Pippa was the maid of honour and James read the lesson.[36][37]

Paternal ancestors


Middleton is a habitational surname originating from numerous different places in England and in southern Scotland. There are over 30 places similarly named which are derived from the Old English elements: midel + tūn (middle + enclosure, settlement); although some other places have different origins and derived from other elements, such as: micel (large, great), or *(ge)mȳthel (confluence).[38][39] Early recorded instances of the surname are: de Mideltone in 1166, within the Eynsham Cartulary;[40] de Midilton in 1221, within a charter to the Abbey of Arbroath;[41] and de Midelton in 1327, within the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex.[40]

Michael Middleton's family line came from Leeds in Yorkshire: his grandfather Richard Noel Middleton, great-grandfather John Middleton and great-great-grandfather William Middleton, were all solicitors in that part of England. Richard Noel was later the director of William Lupton and Sons Ltd., the wool manufacturing firm which his wife Olive, had inherited in 1921.[42][43]

Michael's father was commercial pilot Peter Francis Middleton (1920-2010), who had studied English at New College, Oxford University. He left Oxford in 1940 to serve as an RAF fighter pilot during World War II.[44] Middleton flew alongside Prince Philip as the Duke's co-pilot on a two-month flying tour of South America in 1962. British Pathe newsreel film shows Middleton alongside the Prince during the tour.[45][46]

Michael's mother, Valerie Glassborow (1924-2006), who would later marry Peter Middleton, worked at the Second World War Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) in Bletchley Park, along with her twin sister, Mary. The codebreaking regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers and is the birthplace of the world's first programmable, digital, electronic computer: Colossus.[47]


Peter Middleton's mother, Olive Middleton (1881-1936), was a member of the Lupton family who, according to City of Leeds archives, were "woollen manufacturers and landed gentry; a political and business dynasty".[26][48][49] As Members of Parliament and local politicians, the Lupton family contributed to the political life of both the UK and to the civic life of Leeds, especially in the areas of education, housing, and public health, for several generations.[48] Several members were Lord Mayors of Leeds. They were prominent Unitarians, a branch of English Dissenters, and worshipped at the Mill Hill Chapel, where a stained glass window commemorates the family.[50]

Olive's father was Francis Martineau Lupton who, along with his four brothers, grew up at Beechwood, the family seat in Roundhay.[51] Two of his brothers became Lord Mayor of Leeds – Sir Charles, (founder of the law firm DLA Piper) in 1915 and Hugh in 1926. In their official roles they played host to Royalty.[46] In April 2014, it was reported that British Pathe had discovered newsreel footage from 1915 of Francis Martineau and his three brothers inspecting troops near Leeds.[52] Also discovered was footage from 1927 of a royal visit in which Mary, The Princess Royal, and her husband Lord Harewood are being greeted by the incumbent Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Leeds, Hugh and Isabella Lupton.[46][53]

Francis Martineau Lupton's mother was Frances, a pioneer of girls' education who co-founded Leeds Girls' High School. Her father was Thomas Michael Greenhow of Newcastle, where he founded the Newcastle Medical School in 1834. Her maternal family was the Martineau dynasty of Birmingham; her aunt, the sociologist Harriet Martineau being especially close to her.[54] It was reported in February 2014, that London's National Portrait Gallery, of which Catherine is patron, holds nearly 20 portraits of her ancestors; siblings Harriet and Dr James Martineau, a friend of Queen Victoria.[55]


The Rev. Thomas Davis, a Church of England hymn-writer is also Kate's paternal ancestor.[56][57][58][59] Genealogical research by William Addams Reitwiesner published in 2011 found that Catherine is descended from Sir Thomas Fairfax (c.1475–1520) and his wife Agnes Gascoigne, an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, and a descendant of Edward III, via Michael Middleton's grandmother Olive Lupton. This makes Catherine and Prince William fourteenth cousins once removed.[60][61][62]

Maternal ancestors


The paternal Goldsmith family of Carole Middleton came from London. Carole's maternal family, the Harrisons, were working-class labourers and miners from Sunderland and County Durham two generations before.[63]

According to genealogists Patrick Cracroft-Brennan and Anthony Adolph, Carole and hence Catherine descend from Elizabeth Plantagenet, Edward IV's illegitimate daughter by Elizabeth Lucy, via Sir Thomas Conyers, 9th Bt. of Horden, Durham.[64][65] Catherine and Prince William's closest common ancestors are Sir William Blakiston of Whickham and his wife Jane Lambton, making them eleventh cousins once removed,[64][65] echoing Christopher Challender Child's research, originally published in 2011.[66]

Family heritage


Arms of Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
The coat of arms was granted to Michael Middleton by the College of Arms on 19 April 2011. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, the senior officer of the College of Arms, helped the family with the design.[67]
19 April 2011
Per pale Azure and Gules, a chevron Or, cotised Argent, between three acorns slipped and leaved Or.[67]
The dividing line (between two colours) down the centre is a canting of the name 'Middle-ton'. The acorns (from the oak tree) are a traditional symbol of England and a feature of west Berkshire, where the family have lived for 30 years. The three acorns also denote the family's three children. The gold chevron in the centre of the arms is an allusion to Carole Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith. The two white chevronels (narrow chevrons above and below the gold chevron) symbolise peaks and mountains, and the family's love of the Lake District and skiing.[67]

Family Tree

Television and film portrayals

William & Kate, a television movie about Catherine's romance, was released on 18 April 2011, with Catherine and William played by Camilla Luddington and Nico Evers-Swindell respectively. Other members of the Middleton family were played by: Christopher Cousins (Michael Middleton), Serena Scott Thomas (Carole Middleton), Mary Elise Hayden (Pippa Middleton), and Calvin Goldspink (James Middleton).[68] A number of television programmes were also shown in the UK before the wedding which provided deeper insights into the couple's relationship and backgrounds, including When Kate Met William[69] and Channel 4's Meet the Middletons.[70]


  1. ^ "The Arms of Miss Catherine Middleton". College of Arms. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Rayner, Gordon (16 November 2010). "Royal wedding: Kate Middleton's family background".  
  3. ^ "Welcome". The Old Cliftonian Society. Clifton College, Bristol - UK. September 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2014. Michael left Brown's in 1967, and with his two brothers, was the third generation of Middletons at Clifton. 
  4. ^ Wharton, Jane. "Kate Middleton is a Brummie and related to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain". Daily Express, June 4, 2014 - page 3. Daily Express UK. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  5. ^ London, Bianca. "Kate Middleton Brummie - Kate Middleton descended from Birmingham's notable families".  
  6. ^ Walker, Tim. "Kate's Family Tree". UK Daily Telegraph, page 6. UK Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Poppy Bradbury (3 May 2011). "Kate Middleton's mum's old school hosts Royal Wedding party".  
  8. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Person Page 20097". Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Geoffrey Levy (18 November 2010). "For Kate Middleton's mother Carole being royal in-law will be no laughing matter".  
  10. ^ Smith, Sean (2011). Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton. First Gallery Books. p. 2. 
  11. ^ Levy, Geoffrey; Kay, Richard (17 April 2011). "Kate Middleton's character shaped by generations of social-climbing matriarchs".  
  12. ^ Joseph, Claudia (21 November 2010). "The intriguing story of the woman who gave Kate her looks – and family wealth".  
  13. ^ a b Party Pieces Princess in News of the World (21 November 2010), pg. 4
  14. ^ a b "Royal wedding: profile of Kate Middleton".  
  15. ^ Andersen, Christopher (2011). William and Kate - A Royal Love Story. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 77.  
  16. ^ "Middleton family win gagging order on banker who bought Duchess of Cambridge's £2m childhood home".  
  17. ^ "About us". Party Pieces. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  18. ^ "Profiles: Kate Middleton". Hello!. August 2001. 
  19. ^ Robinson, Martin (26 July 2013). "Operation protect Prince George: Police throw up ring of steel around Middleton family home as new royal family arrive".  
  20. ^ "Generation why-should-I?". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 11 June 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  21. ^ Joseph, Claudia (16 July 2014). "The family tragedy that helped the Middletons make their millions".  
  22. ^ Lewis, Jason (27 November 2010). "How a Victorian industrialist helped Kate Middleton's parents". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Walker, Tim (22 July 2014). "The Duchess of Cambridge is related to Beatrix Potter, who once gave the Middleton family her own original hand-painted illustrations". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 October 2014. It was in the Lake District in the summer of 1936 that Peter’s mother Olive Lupton was rushed to hospital with peritonitis, dying on September 27, aged only 55, leaving behind a large trust fund for her descendants 
  24. ^ "James Middleton reveals how he overcame dyslexia to read at royal wedding". Hello. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "Royal wedding: Family's badge of honour for Kate Middleton".  
  26. ^ a b Brennan, Zoe (19 March 2011). "The family fortune of the minted Middletons". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 July 2013. The Luptons were an upper-middle-class family of merchants and property developers. While not aristocrats, they were definitely genteel. 
  27. ^ Pelling, Rowan (13 July 2013). "Carole Middleton will be a key figure in the royal baby's upbringing". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  28. ^ Heaven, Will. "Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton".  
  29. ^ "Royal wedding: Kate Middleton's home village of Bucklebury prepares for big day".  
  30. ^ a b Anna Pukas, Kate Middleton's eligible little sister (20 November 2010) Daily Express. Retrieved 19 February 2011
  31. ^ Welcome to the Firm at Retrieved 4 January 2011
  32. ^ Walker, Tim (17 November 2010). "Wedding is good business for Pippa Middleton". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  33. ^ Levy, Geoffrey and Kay, Richard (1 September 2009). "How many MORE skeletons in Kate Middleton's closet?".  
  34. ^ Jessica Fellowes (1 October 2008). "The 'posh-preneurs' who mean business".  
  35. ^ Rayner, Gordon (26 February 2013). "Duchess of Cambridge's brother James Middleton 'not concerned' about cake firm's £17,000 loss".  
  36. ^ Anita Singh (29 April 2011). "Pippa Middleton shines as maid of honour".  
  37. ^ Tim Ross (29 April 2011). "How Kate Middleton's brother risks upsetting the Prince of Wales".  
  38. ^ "Learn about the family history of your surname".  
  39. ^ "Middleton".  
  40. ^ a b Reaney, Percy Hilde (1995). Wilson, Richard Middlewood, ed. A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.).  
  41. ^ Black, George Fraser Black (1946). "The Surnames of Scotland". New York:  
  42. ^ Leeds Intelligencer West Yorkshire, Yorkshire Post. "July 3rd, 1951 - Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer West Yorkshire, England". Genes Re-united. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer West Yorkshire, England UK. Retrieved 31 August 2014. He (Mr R. Noel Middleton) practised as a solicitor in Leeds, but after the First World War joined William Lupton and Co. Ltd., the Leeds and Pudsey woollen manufacturers, of whom (he) became director. 
  43. ^ "Potternewton Hall, entrance gates". Leodis – A photographic Archive of Leeds. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  44. ^ London, Bianca (24 September 2014). "Why Kate Really Should be Called the Duchess of Oxford".  
  45. ^ Sparkes, Matthew (22 April 2014). "Pictured: Royal couple's grandparents' jet-age meeting".  
  46. ^ a b c Rayner, Gordon (21 June 2013). "How the family of 'commoner' Kate Middleton has been rubbing shoulders with royalty for a century".  
  47. ^ Eun Kyung Kim (18 June 2014). "Duchess Kate visits WWII codebreaking site where grandmother worked".  
  48. ^ a b "Headingley Castle". Leodis – A photographic Archive of Leeds. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  49. ^ Rayner, Gordon (13 September 2013). Middle-class' Duchess of Cambridge's relative wore crown and attended George V's coronation"'".  
  50. ^ Mill Hill Chapel History on the church website.Mill Hill Chapel History
  51. ^ "Elmete Lane, Beechwood, aerial view". Leodis – A photographic Archive of Leeds. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  52. ^ Sparkes, Matthew (25 April 2014). "Forgotten film shows Duchess's great-great-grandfather inspecting troops as Royal couple mark Anzac day". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  53. ^ "Footage found of Duchess of Cambridge's ancestors – meeting royalty". London Evening Standard. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  54. ^ Wedgwood, Fanny (1983). Arbuckle, Elizabeth Sanders, ed. "Harriet Martineau's Letters to Fanny Wedgwood". Stanford University Press. p. 320. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  55. ^ Furness, Hannah. "Duchess of Cambridge visits National Portrait Gallery, home of little-known Middleton family paintings". UK Daily Telegraph, 11th February, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  56. ^  
  57. ^ "Reverend Thomas Davis". Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  58. ^  
  59. ^ "Olive Christiana Lupton". Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  60. ^  
  61. ^ "The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton". New England Historic Genealogical Society. 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2013. Prince William and Kate Middleton are fourteenth cousins once removed through Diana, Princess of Wales (pp. 116–17), and fifteenth cousins twice removed through Charles, The Prince of Wales (pp. 118–19) 
  62. ^ Cracroft-Brennan, Patrick (28 April 2011). "Royal Wedding: William and Kate are (very) distant cousins". Channel 4. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 'This makes William and Kate fourteenth cousins once removed through his mother and fifteenth cousins through his father.' 
  63. ^ Wilson, Christopher (22 December 2006). "Kate, the coal miner's girl".  
  64. ^ a b Cracroft-Brennan, Patrick (22 July 2013). "How royal is the royal baby?". Channel 4. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 'This ups the game a little – making the pair 11th cousins once removed.' 
  65. ^ a b Turner, Robin (31 July 2013). "Prince George related to Llywelyn the Great, claims genealogist". WalesOnline. Media Wales. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 'This means that Prince George's parents William and Kate are related to each other through Edward IV' 
  66. ^ Child, Christopher Challender (Fall 2011). "A Gratifying Discovery: Connecting Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to Sir Thomas Conyers, 9th Bt. of Horden, Durham". American Ancestors (New England Historic Genealogical Society) 12 (4): 35–36. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  67. ^ a b c "The arms of Miss Catherine Middleton". College of Arms. 1 May 2011. 
  68. ^ William and Kate Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 19 February 2011
  69. ^ Rewind TV: When Kate Met William; Kate and William: Romance and the Royals; The Suspicions of Mr Whicher; The Crimson Petal and the White The Observer, 1 May 2011
  70. ^ TV review: Meet the Middletons; Help! My House is Infested; The Reckoning The Guardian, 18 April 2011

Further reading

  • Hall, Coryne (October 2013). "Well Connected". Majesty (London: Rex Publications Limited) 34 (10): 38–39. The Duchess of Cambridge may have working-class ancestors but she has distinguished ones too. 

External links

  • William Addams Reitwiesner and Michael J. Woods. Ancestry of the Duchess of Cambridge.
  • , 13 April 2011BBC News"Royal wedding: Family tree",
  • Cracroft's Peerage – Catherine Middleton
  • The Ancestry of H.R.H. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, by Anthony Adolph
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