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Posted at 12:45 AM ET, 06/28/2011

Kate Middleton and Jane Austen: They’re family

This is Kate Middleton, a “commoner” who grew up to marry a member of the royal family and become Duchess Catherine of Cambridge.


(KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

And this, according to Ancestry.com, is one of her relatives, the revered 18th-century author Jane Austen, who famously wrote in such novels as “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice” about woman of a “lower station” who fall for men with wealth and status.


(Post file photo)

What’s the connection between them and how did it come to light?

Anastasia Harman, a Washington, D.C.-based historian for the family tree-researching Web site, says that Middleton and Austen are eleventh cousins, six times removed. The connective glue between them? A man named Henry Percy, a very distant great grandfather to both women who died back in 1455. Their respective family trees are explained here..

Harman says that she and genealogists at Ancestry.com began looking for a connection between Middleton and Austen around the time time the soon-to-be Duchess announced her engagement to Prince William.

“We’ve been looking at [Middleton’s] tree and as we were sitting thinking, we thought it might be kind of fun to see if she’s related to Jane Austen,” Harman explained during a phone interview.

This isn’t the first time Ancestry.com has uncovered this kind of connection; the team there previously revealed links between Robert Pattinson and Vlad the Impaler and distant cousins Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are distant cousins

Obviously, shedding light on family ties between celebrities is a great way for the site to get publicity. But Harman — who noted that Austen’s first major novel, “Sense and Sensibility,” celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2011, the same year that Middleton and Prince William were married — insists this latest linkage is particularly significant.

“Given what Kate has done and what Jane wrote about and how those intertwine so much — to find a connection between them is very exciting,” she says.

And, as readers of “Sense and Sensibility” may recall, here’s one more connection: the novel’s Dashwood women, left impoverished and homeless by an inheritance that overlooked them, wind up living in a cottage at Barton Park, the estate of distant relatives who take them in. The name of those distant relatives? Sir John and Lady Middleton.

By  |  12:45 AM ET, 06/28/2011

Categories:  Royals

 
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