All Of The Connections Kate Middleton's Family Had To The Royal Family Before Her Marriage

When Prince William — one of the world's then-most eligible bachelors — proposed to his college girlfriend, Kate Middleton, the Commonwealth rejoiced at his decision. Not only had the couple been connected for years, but Kate was a commoner. For those not attuned to Kate making royal family history, a member of the family marrying someone of a non-royal or aristocratic background is a big deal, and William's choice was undoubtedly seen as a step in a modern direction. Kate — now Catherine, Princess of Wales — took to her role as a royal like a fish to water, quickly becoming one of the most approved-of members of the family and maintaining her popularity over the years.

Though King Charles III and Camilla, queen consort, are on the throne as of publication, William and Catherine will likely take over within the next decade — and at most within the next 20 years. At 74 years old, Charles is already pushing the limits of his reign, and the public will likely see William and Catherine — both in their 40s — rule for far longer.

With all this said, however, it may be a shock to know that Catherine's connections to the royal family run deep, extending far past her 2011 wedding to William. In fact, not only did she watch the young royal while planning out her own future, but her relatives of past generations rubbed shoulders with the firm and solidified themselves as high-society players with money to burn.

Catherine's lineage has a strong connection to high society

Before we get into the weeds, there's some baseline knowledge you need. Princess Catherine's parents are Michael and Carole Middleton. Catherine is the oldest of three children, born in 1982 and followed by sister Pippa Middleton, born 1983, and brother James Middleton, born 1987. Michael was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, to father Captain Peter Middleton and mother Valerie Middleton in 1949. He spent much of his life in the area before pursuing his academic career in Bristol.

Valerie, Michael's mother, was the daughter of prominent banker Frederick Glassborow. Meanwhile, Michael's grandfather, Noel Middleton — who was Peter's father — established himself at the turn of the century as one of the most successful members of the aristocracy.

Katie Nicholl, a royal author, detailed in her book "Kate: The Future Queen" the connection and bloodline: "Noel — Kate's great-grandfather — came from a line of famous and successful Leeds solicitors and received an inheritance following the death of his father, John Middleton, that was worth the equivalent of close to $4 million."

Carole Middleton, Catherine's mom, is a relative of the queen mother's

Not every connection Princess Catherine had to the royal family proceeding her marriage to Prince William is as complicated, but strap in, because we have more lineage to break down. Catherine's mother, Carole Middleton, was born to parents Dorothy Harrison and Ronald Goldsmith in 1955. Her family was considered working-class at the time of her birth. Her father worked as a builder, having stemmed from a family that worked in mining, and her mother held down a part-time position at a jeweler's. Carole attended state schooling in Southall before pursuing a career as a flight attendant.

Though her family was not prominent in aristocratic society, Carole Middleton's lineage does tie her to Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, whose eldest daughter was Queen Elizabeth II. The queen mother adopted her title after her husband, King George VI, died in 1952.

Given that Carole is the mother of the future queen of England and is a distant relative of the queen mother, some have pondered if she will be bestowed the title of queen mother once Catherine assumes the throne. However, as Carole is the mother of a consort — i.e. the spouse of a royal — and not the parent of a future reigning monarch, she will not be bestowed the title of queen mother. In fact, Carole has yet to receive a royal title or designation, despite her daughter being the Princess of Wales.

Michael Middleton, Catherine's dad, had an academic tie to the royals from a young age

Unlike his wife who entered high society over time, Michael Middleton was born to a wealthy family that afforded him connections to the royal family and the aristocracy as a whole from a young age. Thanks to their standing and financial abilities, Michael was able to attend the prestigious Clifton College, located in Bristol, granting him yet another tie to the royal family.

Clifton College was founded all the way back in 1862 and received a royal charter in 1877. By 1950, it rose in high societal prominence when Queen Elizabeth II — then Princess Elizabeth — visited the campus. In the wake of her death in 2022, Clifton College held a memorial service in her honor at the school's chapel and hosted yet another community-wide service throughout the nation's mourning period. Given that Michael attended such a high-profile school that was on the royal radar, it's not entirely shocking that Princess Catherine found herself in a prominent position as a young person pursuing a life in aristocratic society.

As for Michael, he wrapped up his college experience before pursuing a career with British Airways. Working as a flight dispatcher, it was through his position that he met Carole Middleton, and the two sparked a romance thereafter.

Frank Lupton represented one of the earliest connections to high society for Catherine

Integral to the Middleton family's deep connections to the royals is the Lupton family. The Luptons eventually fused with the Middletons to create the family tree we know today, and an explanation requires a full breakdown of who married who, what jobs they had, and just how prominent they were in their community.

Per The Guardian, Michael Middleton's great-great-grandfather was a man by the name of Frank Lupton. Frank lived in the mid-1800s and significantly increased the family's footprint, taking on their firm — William Lupton and Co. — and purchasing a finishing plant and cloth mill to expand its enterprises. He married wife Fanny Lupton, and the couple proceeded to have five children — including the now famous four Lupton brothers. The family lived in a mansion located in Leeds, had an army of servants, and when Frank died in 1884, his sons inherited thousands.

One of his sons was a man by the name of Francis Martineau Lupton. Francis was the alderman of the Leeds council, which was considered one of the most prominent positions in the area. His daughter Olive Lupton — who is Princess Catherine's great-grandmother — was integral to his success and integration into royal society (more on her later). His brothers Charles and Hugh were additionally office holders in the area, and brother Arthur served as pro-vice chancellor of Leeds University.

Catherine's great-grandmother rubbed shoulders with high society

The old saying goes that behind every successful man is a powerful woman, but for Francis Martineau Lupton, his daughter Olive Lupton – Michael Middleton's grandmother and Princess Catherine's great-grandmother — was just as important as he was in establishing the family in the Leeds community and increasing their social standing. Francis was a wealthy, successful individual thanks to his father's company and inheritance, and Olive naturally got a taste of the high life thanks to her family's status. As she expanded her reach and married Noel Middleton — if you remember him from earlier — she carried on climbing the social rankings, expanding the family's footprint in the process and arguably solidifying her great-granddaughter's reputable social standing that has since allowed her to become the Princess of Wales.

The Lupton family included famous writers Arthur Ransome and Beatrix Potter, who married into the fold, and Olive reached such a level of prominence that she started rubbing shoulders with members of the royal family. She was known to host the royals at her home — as any historian will tell you, hosting was a particularly important role for women back in the day to help establish connections — and Olive was a favorite of Princess Mary's, the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary (and Queen Elizabeth II's aunt).

Olive was crucial in connecting two powerful families to ensure their high-class lifestyle

You may be wondering how all these people tie together, so let's break it down. Frank and Fanny Lupton had Francis Lupton. Francis Lupton had Olive Lupton. Olive then married Noel Middleton, who had established himself as a member of high society thanks to his family's long standing as solicitors. This is the crucial moment when these two powerful families come together, as Noel and Olive got married in 1914, forging a strong aristocratic bond and producing four children in the process.

Olive was crucial in bringing these two families together, likely recognizing the Middleton family's unique ties to Yorkshire and the influence they carried throughout the region. According to author and historian Peter Algar, who is from Leeds, the Middleton family can be traced back to medieval times, having established themselves as prominent community leaders centuries ago.

"There was a Middleton family in Ilkley, West Yorkshire in medieval times. They took on the name Middleton, as they owned that region of Ilkley. There is an effigy of one of the Middleton family in Ilkley Parish Church, a knight ... [and] their coat of arms is displayed in the church, along with other leading families of the town," Algar told The Guardian. "The Middletons were a big land-owning family in Ilkley."

Catherine changed her own academic plans to ensure a connection with the royals

Taylor Swift would be the first to admit that it takes a "Mastermind" to take charge of your own fate, and that certainly seems to be what Catherine, Princess of Wales, did. Before she was connected to Prince William thanks to their 2011 wedding, then-Kate Middleton was just a young student looking to college for her next move — or was she? In her book "Kate: The Future Queen," Katie Nicholl asserts that Catherine was well-connected to the royal comings and goings back in the day, seemingly watching where the young Prince William would also be attending school.

Catherine was initially accepted to Edinburgh University in 2000, with former school adviser Jasper Selwyn and tutor Joan Gall confirming to Nicholl that it was her first choice. However, it was announced that William would be attending the University of St. Andrews after he completed his A-levels — think the SATs in the United States if the test was only on one subject — and he scored a spot at the university studying art history.

Confirming that her change of heart was shocking, house mistress Ann Patching told Nicholl that Catherine proceeded to take a gap year before applying to St. Andrews herself. She was later accepted, and the two young students crossed paths at the university — the rest, as we know, is history.

Catherine's family history goes so far back that it actually ties in with the royals

A young Kate Middleton's plan to cross paths with a particular royal is certainly not the only tie that the Middleton/Lupton family had to the members of the firm, as we've displayed throughout. Going back to the Lupton line and just how involved they were with the royals, Olive Lupton not only played host to many members of high society — including the royals — but she could actually backtrack far enough through her own family tree to find yet another connection with the highest levels of society.

In her book "Kate: The Future Queen," Katie Nicholl once again presented more and more evidence that Princess Catherine was brought up to fulfill her role, tying her royal connections back to Olive. She writes, "She could trace her lineage way back to Sir Thomas Fairfax, an attendant at the Tudor Court and a Parliamentarian general in the English Civil War. It is through Sir Thomas Fairfax that the Middleton family can, in fact, trace their lineage to royalty."

As it happens, Thomas had two sons — twins Nicholas and William Fairfax — and Nicholas went on to inherit the family estate, Gilling Castle, in Yorkshire. Nicholas had a rich royal bloodline, and was actually an ancestor of Diana Spencer's, tying the Middleton family line even tighter with the royals.

William and Catherine are technically related thanks to this ancestor

We hate to say it, but incest within the royal family was a very big problem back in the day. Though it has certainly diminished over time, a number of royal couples are technically related — take Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, for example, who were third cousins. As it happens, Princess Catherine and Prince William are distantly related, and genealogist Patrick Cracroft-Brennan broke it all down for Channel 4 ahead of the couple's wedding in 2011 (ironic timing).

"[Catherine's] great-great-grandmother, Frances Elizabeth Greenhow, was the 10-times great-granddaughter of Sir William Gascoigne, a Yorkshire knight who died in 1487. He married Lady Margaret Percy, fourth and youngest daughter of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland," Cracroft-Brennan explained, before adding that the Earl of Northumberland was a descendant of King Edward III, thanks to both his mother and father. "Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana both descend from Sir William Gascoigne and his wife Lady Margaret," he went on. "This makes William and Kate 14th cousins once removed through his mother and 15th cousins through his father."

Adding yet another historical layer to the mix, Cracroft-Brennan discovered that Catherine is the eighth cousin, seven times removed, of George Washington — yes, that George Washington.

Catherine's marriage to William marked the reintroduction of this line to the royal family

Royals and aristocracy in general have rich ties within British society and were often seen as staples within different communities. Author and historian Peter Algar explained to The Guardian that Princess Catherine — being from Yorkshire — represents a line being reintroduced into the royal family that has been missing for generations, asserting that her future rule will reestablish Viking-era royal prominence — yes, it dates back that far.

"Even if we go back to the War of the Roses in search of a strong Yorkshire link with our monarchs, we run into difficulties. It is a popular misconception, but the House of York were all Southerners, to a man ..." Algar said. "Our true 'Yorkshire' kings and queens date back to Viking times. Other than that, the links are relatively tenuous."

Adding that the Middleton family — though once prominent in the area — lost quite a lot of land and reputability thanks to their ties to Catholicism, Algar said that Catherine's role as the future queen is particularly significant for the Yorkshire community. "As for the last queen with Yorkshire blood, we probably have to go back to Queen Cartimandua all those years ago, in the first century, when she was queen of the Brigantes. For Yorkshire folk, Kate is certainly of great significance."

Catherine's grandfather was actually photographed with Prince Philip back in 1962

This is a connection that might come as a surprise, but long before she became the Princess of Wales, Catherine's grandfather was an acquaintance of the late Prince Philip's! As mentioned, Catherine's father — Michael Middleton — was the son of Valerie Middleton and Captain Peter Middleton, an accomplished pilot in the Royal Air Force. Serving in World War II, Peter's caliber as a flight man was well established. As for Philip, he developed an interest in flying shortly after the war came to an end, picking up the activity in 1952.

As his skills developed, Philip opted to fly himself on a number of occasions, touring with none other than Peter as co-pilot. The two went on several flights together and were even photographed alongside each other during a South American tour in 1962.

The connection seems uncanny, given that it was decades before Princess Catherine and Prince William would meet, fall in love, and become the future king and queen. But the connection between Philip and Peter — and their mutual love of flying — was undeniable. Peter sadly died in 2010, just a few days ahead of William and Catherine getting engaged.

Catherine's family reintegrated their coat of arms into the royal family after the 2011 wedding

While we don't really have a huge cultural appreciation for a family's coat of arms in the United States, it's actually a really big deal in Great Britain. Author and historian Peter Algar told The Guardian that when it came to the Middleton family, their ancestors in West Yorkshire displayed their coat of arms in the Ilkley Parish Church, establishing their prominence within the community alongside other powerful families. The coat of arms was yet another connection the Middleton bloodline had to the royals, and upon the wedding of Prince William and Princess Catherine, the royal family announced that the Middleton coat of arms was being given an upgrade.

In an official statement, the palace noted that the coat of arms for the Middletons would be newly designed and approved by Thomas Woodcock, the Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald. The new familial display incorporated symbols representing the modern Middleton family, and its connection to the royals past and present could not be understated.

"Mr. and Mrs. Middleton and their children took enormous interest in this design and, while its purpose is to provide a traditional heraldic identity for Catherine, as she marries into the royal family, the intent was to represent the whole Middleton family together, their home, and aspects of what they enjoy," Woodcock said of the design process (via The Royal Household).