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Labourers and landed gentry: Kate Middleton’s family tree

4-5 minute read

By Daisy Goddard | March 25, 2024

Kate Middleton’s family tree

Take a deep dive into the ancestry of Prince William's teenage sweetheart, the Princess of Wales, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.

We’re all familiar with Kate Middleton and Prince William’s love story – but how much do you know about Kate’s background? Although she doesn’t have royal blood, her family has some surprising connections to the British aristocracy.

Explore even more of our royal history discoveries via the History Hub. From King Charles II’s family tree to the Royals in the 1921 Census, there is so much fascinating history to explore.

Kate Middleton before she was the Princess of Wales 

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born on 9 January 1982, at Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Her parents are Michael Francis (born 1949) and Carole Middleton (maiden name Goldsmith), born in 1955. Both Michael and Carole worked at British Airways – Michael was a flight dispatcher, while Carole was an attendant. 

Kate Middleton has a younger sister, Philippa (nicknamed Pippa Middleton), and a brother named James. Kate was baptised on 20 June 1982, at the local church St Andrew’s Bradfield. They grew up in Bucklebury in Berkshire.  

It was while studying at St. Andrews that Kate met the then-Prince William, son of Charles and the Grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.

As heir apparent to the British throne, William holds the title of the Prince of Wales. The couple married on 29 April 2011, with Kate taking on the title of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. Will and Kate now have three children - Prince George (born 22 July 2013), Princess Charlotte (born 2 May 2015) and Prince Louis (born 23 April 2018). 

A little digging into Kate’s ancestry revealed a few interesting discoveries. Starting with Kate’s parents and tracing her lineage back over 100 years, we uncovered pre-marriage regal connections, working-class roots and more. 

High society on Kate Middleton's father’s side 

Our research revealed the elite heritage of Kate’s paternal line. Her father Michael Middleton was born in Leeds in 1949, to Captain Francis Peter Middleton (1920-2010) and Valerie Glassborow (1924-2006). Our records reveal how the couple had married in Leeds three years earlier.  

As described by historian Robert Lacey, Michael’s family has ‘aristocratic ties’. We don’t have to look far to reveal these connections: Michael’s paternal grandparents were members of the wealthy Lupton family, owners of the Potternewton Hall estate.  

Dating back to the Tudor period, the Luptons were an important family in Yorkshire’s church and education systems. Roger Lupton (1456-1539) was the provost of Eton College and even served as chaplain to both Henry VII and Henry VIII.

Olive Christiana Lupton (1881-1936), Michael’s grandmother and Kate’s great-grandmother, was educated at the prestigious Rodean School in East Sussex. Like her great-granddaughter Kate, charitable causes were close to Olive’s heart. She fundraised for local infirmaries and supported the Leeds Association of Girls Clubs. 

During World War 2, Olive was a VAD nurse at West Yorkshire’s Gledhow Hall.  

Four generations of the Luptons lived at Potternewton Hall Estate. Owing to their wealth as well as to their passion for learning, the Luptons were an accomplished family. Olive’s father Francis Martineau Lupton (1848-1921) was a prominent lawyer who served as a Justice of the Peace and was also a Liberal MP. 

His mother (Frances, b.1821) was a Victorian reformer who worked for the cause of women’s education. Her father Thomas Michael Greenhow (Kate Middleton’s 4x great-grandfather) was a surgeon and epidemiologist, who helped to establish Durham University in the 19th century. 

Carole Goldsmith's working-class roots

As her birth record reveals, Kate’s mother Carole Goldsmith was born in Ealing in 1955. Her parents were the Sunderland-born Dorothy Anne Harrison (1935-2006) and Ronald John James Goldsmith, who was born in London in 1931. Dorothy and Ronald (Kate’s maternal grandparents) got married in Ealing in 1953.

By 1939, Dorothy’s family had moved from the Durham mining village of Hetton-Le-Hole to Southall in West London. Dorothy’s father Thomas (Kate’s great-grandfather) was working as an aircraft fitter – arguably a step up from his previous job working down in the mines. Thomas had been born in Hetton-Le-Hole in 1904. He was part of a large family with close ties to the nearby Lambton and Hetton Colliery.

In 1921, Thomas’ father John (1874-1956) worked as a below-ground Deputy Miner for the company, while he and his brothers John and Wilfred were also employed there.

The family lived at 7 Barrington Terrace in 1921, with a total of 13 household members occupying five rooms.

A far cry from Michael’s lineage of academics and landowners, we find generations of mine workers and labourers on Carole’s side of the family. Digging into the maternal branches of Kate Middleton’s family tree paints a very different picture than we might expect. 

Kate’s unexpected royal connections 

You may be surprised to learn that in addition to aristocratic ties, the Princess of Wales has genealogical links to the Royal family – these connections predate her marriage to Charles’ eldest son William in 2012.

In 1962, Kate’s paternal grandfather Captain Peter Middleton (b.1920) embarked on a two-month-long flying tour of South America with none other than Prince Philip. As film footage of the pair documents, he served as Philip’s co-pilot for the trip.

But Kate’s regal connections don’t stop there. In 1927, Michael Middleton’s grandmother Olive was part of the procession of dignitaries that followed Princess Mary as she travelled through Leeds.

Princess Mary was a patron of the Leeds Infirmary Fundraising Committee, and Olive was a committee member.

Do you have regal ancestry?

Perhaps you’re Prince Harry’s long-lost cousin, or maybe one of your forebears worked in Kensington Palace in centuries gone by… With millions of ancestry records including Royal Household records and the 1921 Census of England and Wales, Findmypast is the best place to uncover whether your ancestors were connected to the Royal family. 

Your online family tree connects your past and present, helping you visualise and understand who and where you’ve come from, unlocking amazing stories along the way. As your tree grows, our clever hints do the hard work for you, unearthing clues to your past from our vast collection of trees, newspapers and records. 

Start your Findmypast family tree and begin making surprising genealogical discoveries today. Who knows, you might even find a royal connection...

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Daisy GoddardDaisy Goddard