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Kate Middleton is related to Jane Austen

28th June 2011

New research has found that Prince William's wife Kate Middleton is a distant relative of Jane Austen.

According to Ancestry.com, the Duchess of Cambridge and Austen are 11th cousins, six times removed, through their 15th-century common ancestor Henry Percy, the 2nd Earl of Northumberland.

The website said the connection is 'particularly fitting', considering many of Austen's female characters fall in love with and aspire to marry men of a higher social status.

'In many ways, Catherine is the modern Jane Austen heroine: a middle-class girl marrying the future King of England,' said Anastasia Harman, lead family historian for Ancestry.com.

She added: 'It seems Catherine has found a non-fiction hero to spend her life with - far past the epilogue.'

Austen, who died in 1817, never married, though she was briefly engaged to Harris Bigg-Wither, heir to an extensive family estate, in 1802.

After some consideration, however, she withdrew her acceptance of the proposal, later telling her niece that 'anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection'.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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