William’s Queen-in-Waiting: What Do We Know About Kate Middleton’s Ancestry?


With the announcement of her engagement to Prince William, Kate Middleton has been catapulted into the limelight, and will likely stay there for many years to come. But while we know a lot about where the Queen-to-be is going, we know rather less about where she came from.

Therefore, in the spirit of sharing and discovery, we thought we’d post some of the genealogical tidbits about Miss Middleton that we’ve been able to find around the web.

Before we take a look at these, it’s worth pointing out that there’s been some fantastic work on Kate Middleton’s background by William Addams Reitwiesner and Michael Wood, which you can find here. If you want to look into her family tree in a bit more depth, this is a good place to start.

Now for the things we found.

Ancestors at the Coal Face
Kate Middleton is, according to some, one of the less aristocratic individuals to partner with the Royals, and on one side of her family this would seem to be true. On her mother’s side, Kate’s family were at one time coal miners from England’s north-east. They braved some of the era’s toughest mining conditions, and survived a cholera epidemic in the region, living in poor conditions for several generations. Kate Middleton’s great-grandfather, Thomas Harrison, was the first on this side of the family to break out of the situation, and eventually settled in Ealing, West London, to carve out a new life for his family. More on all that here.

Roots in Leeds
On her father’s side, Kate Middleton’s ancestors were a little more privileged, hailing from the distinguished Lupton family in Leeds (who had a book written about them some time ago). Through this side of her family, curiously, it’s also suggested that Kate may be related to children’s author Beatrix Potter.

American Ancestors?
Perhaps the most aristocratic suggested ancestors of Kate Middleton, though, come from the other side of the Atlantic. According to researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Miss Middleton is an eighth cousin of George Washington, sharing a common ancestor in Sir William Gascoigne. According to the researchers, Kate is also a distant cousin of General George S Patton, who commanded US forces across Europe in World War II.

A Convict in the Family
Last year, a biography of Kate Middleton made a rather curious claim. The book, Kate Middleton: Princess in Waiting, found in records from the 1881 UK census that one of the Princess Apparent’s ancestors on her father’s side was a convicted criminal.

The records show that the individual, Edward Thomas Glassborow, was listed as an inmate at Holloway Prison in London. He was one of 436 occupants listed at the institution, which is still a working prison today.

Unfortunately, there seem to be no records as to what crime Miss Middleton’s relative committed – although he appears to have turned his life around after release. Birth records for his son Frederick, a few years later, list Mr. Glassborow as a “gentleman of independent means.”

If you have any information of your own to suggest, do let us know. Kate Middleton’s ancestry seems to be a fruitful yet still under-explored topic.

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  • toni

    October 13, 2012

    I have read in the Guardian that her paternal 2nd cousin (thrice removed) is Lady Bullock, the wife of Sir Christopher Bullock. The article said that Kate’s great grandmother Olive Middlet originally a Lupton lady, was a 2nd cousin of Lady Bullock (nee barbara Lupton). Interesting!