Newly found photo shows three of the Duchess of Cambridge’s ancestors with the Queen’s aunt in 1927 

It is the height of the Roaring Twenties and, elegant in silver-grey crepe-de-chine and pearls, all eyes are on Princess Mary and the large bouquet of carnations she carries.

Taken almost a century ago, this newly unearthed picture shows the Queen’s aunt as guest of honour at a garden party at Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds.

What few will have realised, however, is that walking behind Princess Mary in the procession of dignitaries are no fewer than three ancestors of a future Queen – Kate Middleton.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s great-grandmother Olive Middleton, then aged 46, can be spotted at the back of the group in a flapper dress and fur stole.

Also present are Hugh and Isabella Lupton, Kate’s great-great-great-uncle and aunt, pictured wearing the gold chains of office of the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Leeds.

The unearthed photo shows the Duchess of Cambridge’s family is well used in walking in the footsteps of royals

A fourth member of the family, Olive’s sister Anne Lupton, was presented to the distinguished visitors under a canopy facing the members’ stand at the cricket ground, according to a report in the Yorkshire Post of July 27, 1927.

As the first commoner in 350 years to marry a future King, Kate’s ancestry has been pored over in close detail.

Her mother Carole is famously descended from coal miners who worked the pits of County Durham. But, as this remarkable image reveals, those on her father Michael’s side of the family, the Middletons, are no strangers to the Royal red carpet.

They were wool barons who have been mingling with Royalty since at least the days of Queen Victoria.Kate’s great-grandmother Olive Lupton married solicitor Noel Middleton in 1914. And, with her Lupton relatives, they were an integral part of a Royal ‘Yorkshire set’ centred on Princess Mary – sister of both Edward VIII and the Queen’s father George VI – and her husband Henry Lascelles, later the 6th Earl of Harewood.

Olive’s ancestors had made their fortune in the wool trade that brought prosperity to West Yorkshire in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Their family seat, Beechwood, a sprawling Georgian mansion down a winding carriage lane in the village of Roundhay on the outskirts of Leeds, was only a few miles from the Royal couple’s home on the Harewood estate, where the Middletons were regular guests at musical soirees.

As Kate herself, her predecessors were privately educated, married into the aristocracy, attended Coronations and were presented at Court.

The Middletons and Luptons had their portraits painted by society artist Sir Oswald Birley, who also painted the Royal Family, and were among the prominent Leeds families who rode with the Bramham Moor Hunt alongside the Princess and Lord Harewood.

Michael Reed, an Australian historian who discovered the photograph, said: ‘The parallels between Kate and the earlier Middletons are extraordinary.

‘The Middletons lived in an aristocratic world, were privately educated – some even went to Kate’s alma mater, Marlborough College – had cousins who were members of the peerage, lived in grand houses and worked with Royalty on philanthropic causes, much as Kate does today.’

Olive Lupton, the Great Great Grandmother of Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, on her father's side.

Olive Lupton, the Great Great Grandmother of Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, on her father’s side.

The origins of the Middletons’ wealth lay in the family textile business, Leeds-based William Lupton & Co, which was greatly expanded by the Duchess of Cambridge’s great-great-great-grandfather Frank Lupton, a magistrate and philanthropist. When he died in 1884, he left a 200-acre estate and £64,650, the equivalent of £5.7 million today.

But it was his equally prosperous brother Darnton, Lord Mayor of Leeds, who made the Royal connections. He had been in the welcoming party when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert opened Leeds Town Hall in 1858.

His granddaughter, Florence, and her husband Albert Kitson, 2nd Baron Airedale, who lived in 17th Century Gledhow Hall – famously painted by William Turner – attended the Coronation of George V. And their daughters Doris and Evelyn were debutantes who did the society season and were presented at Court.

Roedean-educated Olive Middleton was close to her Airedale cousins, attending society balls at Gledhow. Later, during the First World War, the house was converted into a Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital run by the Red Cross and the newly married Olive worked there as a nurse with her second cousin Doris, a fellow old Roedeanian.

In her post-war memoirs, Doris’s sister Evelyn recalled a ‘memorable time’ when evenings were filled with many balls where everybody knew each other ‘partly because so many guests were relatives’.

Olive Middleton’s family was distinguished in its own right.

Her father, Francis, a Cambridge graduate, was a justice of the peace and alderman on Leeds Council.

Her uncle Arthur, Francis’s brother, was University Pro-Chancellor who escorted King George V around Leeds University in 1915.

Another uncle, Hugh, and his wife Isabella, were later Lord and Lady Mayoress and feature in the Headingley picture, above. Yet another uncle, Sir Charles, was also Lord Mayor of Leeds and chairman of the Leeds Infirmary, presenting Princess Mary with a wedding gift from the city when she married Viscount Lascelles.

Olive and her husband Noel, a director of the family firm, had their own social links to Princess Mary. Solicitor Noel co-founded the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, with both the Princess and her son George Lascelles as patrons.

As the first commoner in 350 years to marry a future King, Kate’s ancestry has been pored over in close detail

As the first commoner in 350 years to marry a future King, Kate’s ancestry has been pored over in close detail

Lascelles married concert pianist Marion Stein, who later married Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe. Kate’s great-grandmother, Olive, was also on Princess Mary’s fundraising committee for Leeds Infirmary. The photograph above shows Princess Mary escorted by industrialist and civil engineer Sir Edwin Airey, who was knighted by her father George V for his role in the Great War.

‘The Princess looked charmingly pretty in the palest silver grey from head to foot,’ said a Yorkshire Post report of the event, which had been staged as a children’s fundraiser.

‘Her pleated dress was of crepe-de-chine and her large crinoline hat was wreathed with soft feather mounts. Round her neck she wore a long rope of pearls with tassel ends.’

Afterwards, the Royals and assorted dignitaries were served tea and listened to a ‘beautiful programme of music’ – both Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles joined in the final verse of Land Of Hope And Glory played by the Royal Horse Guards band.

Sadly, Olive died nine years after the garden party, at the age of 55, after she developed peritonitis, an inflammation of abdominal tissue, following a burst appendix. Her son Peter – Kate’s grandfather – was just 16 years old at the time.

He, too, would make Royal connections – as an airline pilot. Peter Middleton was first officer to the Duke of Edinburgh on a two-month tour of South America in 1962, and was rewarded with a letter of thanks and a pair of gold cufflinks.

Now his descendants are in line to the throne, a fact which, although it has intrigued Royal-watchers the world over, would have been less of a surprise to Kate’s distinguished forebears.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button