Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

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Further information: Ancestry chart
Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Arms of Michael Middleton.svg
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
Members Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Michael Francis Middleton
Carole Elizabeth Middleton
Philippa Charlotte Middleton
James William Middleton
Captain Peter 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, the armigerous head of the family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Michael Middleton hails from an old and wealthy Yorkshire family with ties to British aristocracy.[2][3] His great great grandfather was solicitor and gentleman farmer William Middleton, Esq. (1807–1884), of Gledhow Grange Estate, near Leeds.[4][5] The Middleton family were reported as having played host to British Royalty in Leeds, "as long ago as 1926".[6][7][8]

Michael Middleton[edit]

Michael and Carole Middleton

Michael Francis Middleton was born in 1949 in Leeds where he spent his early years in Moortown.[9] His father, Captain Peter Middleton (1920–2010),[10] was a pilot who flew alongside Prince Philip as the Duke's co-pilot on a two-month flying tour of South America in 1962. British Pathé newsreel film shows Middleton alongside the Prince during the tour.[11][12]

Michael Middleton's grandfather, (Richard) Noel Middleton (1878–1951), was, according to a BBC documentary, a solicitor who met and married aristocrat Olive Lupton in 1914.[13] In 1921, Noel became the director of the firm his wife Olive Middleton née Lupton (1881–1936) had inherited upon her father's death.[14] Olive was a member of the Lupton family of Beechwood Estate who are described in the City of Leeds archives, as "woollen manufacturers and landed gentry; a political and business dynasty".[15][16][17][18][19]

It was reported in July 2016, that the First World War had seen Michael's grandmother, Olive Middleton, and her second cousin, Baroness Airedale, work together for the war effort. Gledhow Hall, the nearby ancestral seat of the Baroness's family, became a VAD hospital, with Olive working there both with her cousin, The Hon. Doris Kitson (daughter of Baroness Airedale), and with her sister-in-law, Miss Gertrude Middleton, as volunteer nurses.[20][21][22]

Clifton College – the boarding school for generations of Middleton men.

Michael Middleton has three brothers, including Richard, whose son Adam Middleton is godfather to Catherine's daughter, Princess Charlotte.[23][24]

Education and early career[edit]

Like his father, Peter, and grandfather Noel, Michael Middleton was educated at Clifton College, the public school in Bristol.[25] At Clifton, all three generations of Middleton men boarded at Brown's House.[26] The archives at Clifton record that Michael Middleton was a praepostor, the title for a college prefect at Clifton, Eton and other leading UK public schools. Middleton had represented Clifton at rugby in the 1st XV and had also gained his tennis colours.[27][28]

Middleton alma mater, Oxford University – New College, Hall

Middleton declined to follow in his father Peter's footsteps of studying at New College, at Oxford University, the alma mater of many members of Capt. Middleton's family. Middleton had been up at Oxford in the 1930s with his cousin, Cecil Middleton, a champion golfer. Peter Middleton's great uncle, the Right Hon. Lord Mayor Hugh Lupton (d.1947) and in-law, James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce were also Oxford alumni.[29][30][31][32]

Following Clifton, Michael Middleton worked briefly as a British Airways (BA) flight attendant. Having graduated from the company's own internal course, he then worked for BA as a flight dispatcher.[33][34]

Generations of Middleton lawyers[edit]

Michael Middleton's grandfather Richard Noel Middleton, great-grandfather John Middleton (d.1887) and great-great-grandfather William Middleton, were all solicitors in Leeds in Yorkshire. Richard Noel was later the director of William Lupton and Sons Ltd., the wool manufacturing firm which his wife Olive, had inherited in 1921.[35][36] Many of Michael Middleton's relatives were solicitors in the Leeds-based family firm, Middleton and Sons. His niece, Lucy Middleton, is also a solicitor.[37][38][39]

Middleton family's political connections[edit]

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 World War II Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.[40][41][42]

Royal biographer Katie Nicholl revealed in 2013 that Michael Middleton's family tree is linked, via his fellow Leeds-born cousin, Lady Bullock (née Barbara Lupton),[43] to William Petty-FitzMaurice, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1782–83. Research also revealed that Michael Middleton is a direct descendant of King Edward III.[44][45][46][47][48]

A political event in Leeds on 27 September 1894, saw Michael Middleton's great grandfather – Liberal Unionist Francis Martineau Lupton – entertain his relative, The Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, a Member of Parliament and fellow Liberal Unionist. The conference was held at the Leeds Town Hall and was hosted by the Leeds and County Liberal Unionist's Club. Francis Martineau's cousin, politician and mayor Sir Thomas Martineau, was the brother-in-law of Joseph Chamberlain, father of Neville Chamberlain.[49][50][51]

Marriage and family[edit]

Michael Middleton's wife, Carole Elizabeth Middleton (née Goldsmith), was born on 31 January 1955 at Perivale Maternity Hospital in Ealing.[52][53][54] The daughter of a builder, Ronald Goldsmith (1931–2003), and Dorothy Harrison (1935–2006), she was raised in a small house in Southall,[55] and attended the local state schools.[56]

The couple met when they both worked for British Airways (BA) as flight attendants.[25] By 1979, Michael had been promoted within BA, becoming an Aircraft Dispatcher, one of British Airways' elite Red Caps,[57] at London Heathrow Airport, where he kept track of the airline's fleet on the ground. The couple was married on 21 June 1980, at the parish church of St James in Dorney, Buckinghamshire.[58] They bought a semi-detached Victorian house in Bradfield Southend near Reading, Berkshire.[25]

The couple has three children (two daughters and one son). Following the birth of their daughters Catherine Elizabeth (born 1982) and Philippa Charlotte (born 1983),[59] the family moved to Amman, Jordan, where Michael worked as a manager for BA from 1984 to 1987.[60]

Business success and inherited wealth[edit]

Their third and youngest child, a son named James William, was born in 1987.[25] By this time, when Catherine and Philippa were being privately educated at St Andrew's Preparatory School, in Pangbourne, Carole Middleton established Party Pieces. Since its inception, the company had made party bags – but it would soon also sell party supplies and decorations by mail order. By 1995, the firm was being managed by both parents and had moved into a range of farm buildings at Ashampstead Common. Also at this time the family purchased Oak Acre, a six bedroom Tudor-style manor house in Bucklebury, Berkshire.[61] In 2002, Carole and Michael Middleton bought "with cash" a flat in Chelsea, London, in which their children lived.[62] Carole and Michael Middleton are also the owners of a racehorse.[63][64]

By 2012, the couple were the owners of nearby Bucklebury Manor, a Georgian mansion with an estate of some 18 acres. Their grandson, Prince George spent his first few weeks at Bucklebury Manor.[59][65][66][67][68]

Reports revealed the Middleton's business as being very successful, resulting in the couple enjoying considerable wealth.[69] This wealth, combined with the large trust funds Michael Middleton inherited from his grandmother Olive Middleton, had enabled the Middleton tradition of independent education to continue.[70][71][72] 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.[73]

Shortly before his elder daughter's royal marriage, Michael Middleton 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.[74]

The British press created the term Upper Middleton Class to describe the Middleton family's superior social position;[75][76] other reports refer to the family as being "minted....with a smattering of blue-blooded antecedents".[77][78]

Children of Michael and Carole Middleton[edit]


The Middletons' first daughter, Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton, now known as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, was born on 9 January 1982. Having been a boarder at both St Andrew's School, Pangbourne and also at Marlborough, she then graduated from the University of St Andrews. It was here, while living at St Salvator's Hall, that she met Prince William.[79][80] After a long relationship, and a six-month engagement, she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.[60]

In December 2012, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge 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. The Duchess' second pregnancy was announced on 8 September 2014, and she gave birth to a daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, on 2 May 2015.


Their second daughter, Philippa Charlotte "Pippa" Middleton, born on 6 September 1983, attended the same private boarding schools as her siblings and then studied English literature at the University of Edinburgh.[81] There she shared a house with Lord Ted Innes-Ker, a son of the Duke of Roxburghe, and with Earl Percy, heir of the Duke of Northumberland.[81] Following graduation, in 2008 she took an events management / marketing job with Table Talk, a London-based events catering company.[82] She has also written for Spectator, Waitrose Magazine, Vanity Fair and The Party Times, an online magazine which is an offshoot of her parents' company.[83]

In July 2016, Middleton became engaged to hedge fund manager and former racing driver James Matthews, eldest son and heir of David Matthews, the Laird of Glen Affric. It was reported that following her fiancé's inheritance of his father's lairdship, Middleton will be accorded the courtesy title of Lady Glenaffric.[84][85][86][87][88]


James William Middleton, their youngest child and only son, was born on 15 April 1987. He was educated – from age four – at St Andrew's School, Pangbourne, and, like his sisters, at 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.[89] His company Boomf was reported in 2016 as employing over 100 people in peak periods.[90]

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.[91][92]

Captain Peter Francis Middleton and Valerie Middleton, née Glassborow[edit]

Michael Middleton's father was commercial pilot and RAF officer Capt. Peter Francis Middleton (1920–2010),[10][93] who had studied English at New College, Oxford University. He left Oxford in 1940 to serve as a RAF fighter pilot during World War II.[94] Commissioned as a pilot officer (on probation) in the RAFVR on 9 March 1941,[95] he was confirmed in his rank and promoted to flying officer (war-substantive) on 9 March 1942.[96] In May 1942, he was posted to the No 37 Service Flying School in Calgary, Canada. He spent two-and-a-half years as an instructor, training Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster pilots, receiving a promotion to flight lieutenant (war-substantive) on 9 March 1943.[97][98] After joining the reservist 605 Squadron at Manston, near Ramsgate, Kent, in August 1944, Middleton flew a de Havilland Mosquito fighter bomber, nudging the wings of unmanned German V1 flying aircraft to divert them from hitting London.[97] After the war, Middleton joined British European Airways as a pilot, but remained in the reconstituted RAFVR, receiving a reserve commission as a flying officer on 12 August 1949.[99] Promoted to flight lieutenant on 1 March 1951,[100] he relinquished his reserve commission on 12 August 1959.[101]

Capt. Peter Middleton was specially chosen in 1962 as Prince Philip's co-pilot on a two-month tour of South America. The Duke piloted 49 of the tour's 62 flights, often with Middleton by his side. The Duke later sent Middleton a letter of thanks and a pair of gold cufflinks. British Pathe newsreel film shows Middleton alongside the Prince during the tour.[11] Middleton met his granddaughter's fiancé, Prince William, on his 90th birthday and William attended Middleton's funeral in November 2010.[11][102][103]

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.[104] Valerie's Bletchley Park colleague and friend, Lady Body (née Marion Graham), recalled in 2014 that she had shared a "rather special moment" with Valerie: "Our superior officer, Commander Williams, came into the room smiling and he said, ‘Well done, girls. A signal has been intercepted from Tokyo to Geneva and it's the signal that the Japanese are surrendering'. He told us that a message has gone to the King and the Prime Minister but that it could not be announced until Geneva has sent on the message to London."[105][106]


Main article: Lupton family

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". It was reported in September 2013 that Baroness von Schunck, née Kate Lupton had been invited to the coronation of King George V in 1911.[16][18][77][107] 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.[16] 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.[108]

Olive's father was Francis Martineau Lupton who, along with his four brothers, grew up at Beechwood, the family seat in Roundhay.[109] 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.[12] 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.[110] 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.[12][111]

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 Norwich and later, Birmingham; her aunt, the sociologist Harriet Martineau being especially close to her.[112] 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.[113]


The Rev. Thomas Davis, a Church of England hymn-writer is also Kate's paternal ancestor.[114][115][116][117]

Origins of Middleton name[edit]

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).[118][119] Early recorded instances of the surname are: de Mideltone in 1166, within the Eynsham Cartulary;[120] de Midilton in 1221, within a charter to the Abbey of Arbroath;[121] and de Midelton in 1327, within the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex.[120]

Ancestry of Carole Middleton[edit]


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.[122]

Royal ancestry[edit]

According to genealogists Patrick Cracroft-Brennan and Anthony Adolph, the Middleton siblings descend, via their mother, from Elizabeth Plantagenet, King Edward IV's illegitimate daughter by Elizabeth Lucy, via Sir Thomas Blakiston Conyers, 9th Bt. of Horden, Durham.[123][124] Thus, Catherine and Prince William's closest common ancestors are Sir William Blakiston of Gibside Estate and his wife Jane Lambton, making them eleventh cousins once removed,[123][124] These findings echo Christopher Challender Child's research, published in 2011.[125]

It was reported in December 2014 that the famous Blakiston-Bowes Cabinet, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, provided proof that Catherine shared ancestry with Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Catherine and the Queen Mother share a common ancestor, County Durham's Sir William Blakiston, whose great granddaughter, Elizabeth Blakiston, married into the Bowes-Lyon family who were ancestors of the Queen Mother, née Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The cabinet was made in Newcastle to celebrate the union of the two gentry families. Reports suggested that Catherine and the Queen Mother's blood cousinship was the reason why Catherine wore the Queen Mother's tiara when she wed Prince William.[126][127][128][129]

Genealogical research by William Addams Reitwiesner, also 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 King Edward III, via Michael Middleton's grandmother Olive Middleton née Lupton. This ancestry makes Catherine and Prince William fourteenth cousins once removed.[130][131][132]


Family tree[edit]

Television and film portrayals[edit]

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).[134] 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[135] and Channel 4's Meet the Middletons.[136]


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  2. ^ "Kate Middleton Biography". Bio. Bio. 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016. It was on this job at British Airways that Carole met Michael Middleton, a dispatcher, whose wealthy family hails from Leeds and which has ties to British aristocracy. 
  3. ^ Cunningham, John M. (2016). "Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 15 September 2016. The success of that venture, along with a family inheritance..... 
  4. ^ "Highfield House, view from". Leodis – a Photographic Archive of Leeds. City of Leeds UK Gov. Retrieved 24 June 2016. On the horizon, left, is Gledhow Grange, a large property in Lidgett Lane. The estate was once owned by solicitor William Middleton Esq. By 1900, Gledhow Grange was owned and farmed by William Pollard. 
  5. ^ Reed, Michael. "Gledhow Hall". David Poole 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016. A gentleman farmer, William Middleton Esq. had also lived in the area at Gledhow Grange Estate. 
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  13. ^ "Royal wedding: Family tree". UK: BBC News. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2015. He (R. Noel Middleton) attended Clifton College in Bristol as a boarder before heading to Leeds University and qualifying as a solicitor. He met and married aristocrat Olive Lupton. 
  14. ^ "Potternewton Hall, Entrance Gates". Leodis – a Photographic Archive of Leeds. UK Gov. City of Leeds. Retrieved 1 July 2015. In 1921, Mrs Olive Middleton and her sister, Miss Anne Lupton, inherited both the woollen cloth manufacturing business from their father, Francis Martineau Lupton, and a stake in another firm, the New Briggate Arcade Company.... solicitor Mr R. Noel Middleton (died 1951) was the director of William Lupton and Sons Ltd, Est. 1773 
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  20. ^ Gutteridge, Nick (2 July 2016). "PICTURED: Kate's great grandmother and her own extraordinary contribution to Britain's war". Daily Express. UK. Retrieved 9 July 2016. She (Olive Middleton, née Lupton) grew up in opulent surroundings at the family's ancestral seat of Potternewton Hall Estate, near Leeds in Yorkshire, after being born into one of the pre-eminent families of her time. 
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  23. ^ "Princess Charlotte is christened at Sandringham church". BBC News. 
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  29. ^ Robinson, Dan (24 September 2014). "Why Kate should really be the 'Duchess of Oxford'". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 9 March 2016. He said he discovered that the duchess's grandfather Peter Middleton and older relatives studied at Oxford University...Mr Middleton's great-great-grandfather's brother, Dr James Martineau, was principal of Harris Manchester College, and Joseph Lupton Esq – the brother of Mr Middleton's great-grandfather – was president of the college...Mr Reed added that Mr Middleton's great-uncle, the Rt Hon Lord Mayor Hugh Lupton, attended University College. There are also two in-laws in her family who studied at Oxford University – Lord Bryce and Lord Ashton of Hyde. 
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  32. ^ "Headrow, Permanent House". Leodis – a Photographic Archive of Leeds. City of Leeds UK Gov. Retrieved 24 June 2016. Keen golfers, Mr and Mrs Henry D. Middleton (d.1964) – the daughter of Sir Henry Hanson Berney, 9th Baronet – were members of the Alwoodley Golf Club, as were their sons Ralph and Cecil, a champion golfer....Ralph's brother, Cecil, and his cousin, Peter Middleton – son of Richard Noel – were up at Oxford University in the 1930s. 
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  35. ^ "Genes Re-united". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 3 July 1951. 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. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • 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[edit]