Kate Middleton shows off her engagement ring which originally belonged to Princess Diana.
Article courtesy of the Guardian, Leeds by Martin Hickes with a small contribution from me.
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The impending Royal Wedding of Kate Middleton and HRH Prince William will introduce a strong Yorkshire bloodline into the Royal Family once again at the highest level.
Kate, who met William in 2001 while they were studying at Fife’s St Andrews University, was raised in the Berkshire village of Bucklebury.
Her businessman father Michael, however, was born in Leeds on June 23 1949 at Chapel Allerton Nursing Home and the Middletons have a strong Yorkshire lineage.
Her great-grandmother Olive was a member of the Lupton family, who were active for generations in Leeds in commercial and municipal work.
Francis Martineau Lupton, was one of four Lupton brothers who in the 19th century held some of the most important positions in the city.
Alderman of Leeds council
Francis was an alderman of Leeds council while brothers Charles and Hugh held the office of lord mayor. The fourth brother, Arthur, was a pro-vice chancellor of Leeds University.
Kate’s paternal grandfather Peter Francis Middleton was born in 1920, and became a pilot instructor marrying at the Parish Church, Adel, on 7 December 1946.
Further back in the Middleton line, her great grandfather on her paternal side was a solicitor born in Far Headingley. He lived in Roundhay.
Both of his fathers were solicitors with strong Leeds and Wakefield connections.
Her father Michael is descended from Sir Thomas Fairfax, a Parliamentarian general in the Civil War. The family rose to prominence as wool merchants during the 18th century.
His great-great-grandfather Frank Lupton expanded the family firm, William Lupton and Co, buying an old cloth mill and a finishing plant.
He and his wife Fanny, who had five children, lived in a Victorian mansion in the village of Roundhay, seven miles north of Leeds, employing six servants.
When Frank died aged 70, on May 20, 1884, he left his four sons – one died in childhood – £64,650 in his will – the equivalent of millions today.
It was Francis’s eldest daughter Olive – Michael’s grandmother – who created the union between the Lupton and Middleton families.
She married Noel Middleton, who came from a long line of successful and affluent Leeds solicitors, in 1914 and they had four children, Christopher, Anthony, Peter and Margaret.
The rich Yorkshire heritage will introduce a northern strain into the Royal Family not seen for generations at the highest levels.
‘Go back a long way to find Yorkshire connections with Royalty’
While the Duchess of Kent is from Yorkshire, and the Earl of Harewood and the Lascelles family have Yorkshire links, we have to go back a long way to find any Yorkshire connections at the highest pinnacle of the Royals.
Author and historian Peter Algar, from Leeds, says:
“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.
“Richard III (when he was Duke of Gloucester) inherited some of the Neville lands at Middleham. He was the only one that spent any time in the north.
“The House of Lancaster were the northerners, John of Gaunt (descendant of Edward III) being the ruler of the Palatine of Lancaster, which covered large parts of Yorkshire. This was home rule for the north and not under the king’s direct jurisdiction.
“Our true ‘Yorkshire’ kings and queens date back to Viking times, other than that the links are relatively tenuous.
“Richard III was a Northerner by adoption. He built up his northern landholdings when he was governor of the North, swapped Chirk Castle for Skipton Castle and could rely on the support of the soldiery from York and the Ainsty. He was popular with a lot, but not all, of the men of the county.
“After Elizabeth I died, I believe that one of the Yorkshire-based Clifford family had a strong claim to the throne, through their marriage links to the ‘Nut-Brown Maid’, Henry VII’s cousin.
“There are not many precendents, if any of a princess – as Kate Middleton will become – with strong Yorkshire links going on to become queen.
“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, I believe, and if I’m not mistaken their coat of arms is displayed in the church, along with other leading families of the town.
“The Middletons were a big land-owning family in Ilkley and my ancestors, the Bollings used to rent a large tract of land from them known as Bolling farm, which is now the site of Ilkley Town Hall.
“Unfortunately for the Middletons, they held onto the old Catholic faith, and lost land and privileges as a consequence. It may well be that these people are distant ancestors of Kate’s family, due to the near proximity.
“The Lupton side of her family from Leeds had definite Ilkley connections as I have a record of them visiting the Bolling family home at Wheatley Hall in Ben Rhydding as summer boarders in the late 1700′s (from Ilkley Ancient and Modern, by the Reverend J Horsfall Turner). Maybe that’s when the Luptons first met the Middleton’s?
“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.”
* Yorkshire’s last major royal connection with a monarch is believed to have been in 1535 when Henry, the 11th Lord Clifford converted Skipton Castle into Royal Apartments for his son’s bride. She was Lady Eleanor Brandon. Her mother was Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, sister of Henry VIII and widow of the French king Louis XII.
Guest blogger Martin Hickes is a Leeds-based writer.