William and Kate’s Shared Family History

In anticipation of the royal wedding, a post today on William and Kate’s shared family history.

The Daily Mail put up the chart above that shows the common ancestral line of Kate Middleton (through her father) and Prince William (through his mother’s Spencer lineage).

They share Sir Thomas Leighton and Elizabeth Knollys as great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, making them 12th cousins.

Or do they? A blog post, “Elizabeth Knollys, Lady Leighton” at the GoodGentlewoman blog exposes an error:

When Catherine Middleton became engaged to Prince William in 2010 a family tree was published purporting that both Catherine and William could trace their common ancestry to Elizabeth Knollys, Lady Leighton and her husband Sir Thomas. William descended from their younger daughter Anne who married Sir John St John 1st Baronet and Catherine from the elder one Elizabeth. (The story of Anne Leighton, who married Sir John St John 1st Baronet in 1604, is told here.)

Unfortunately, in a pamphlet written in 1890 by an over zealous family historian, Canon James Davenport, who jumped to one too many conclusions, as it is so easy to do, and traced the Davenport family through the Talbots to the elder Leighton daughter. Then in 2010 it was republished all over again, this time in the Daily Mail, and I for one became very excited – a second, sideways link from the young Royals to Lydiard House and the St John family. Sadly the error was quickly exposed – but the good news is there still remains a St John, Lydiard Park link between William and Anne!

Clearly more work is needed on William and Kate’s shared family history.

I posted the other day about another line of Kate Middleton’s leading to Edward III in 1312. Until we start hearing some more details about the big day, there should be lots of space for more articles on Kate Middleton‘s family history.

By |6 Dec 2010|Royal Genealogy|Comments Off on William and Kate’s Shared Family History

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”