Though she’s just a month away from becoming British royalty, athletic and easygoing Kate Middleton has always seemed like an all-American girl.
In a shocking exclusive, Vanity Fair reveals a newly uncovered family photograph and groundbreaking genealogical research that confirm the princess-to-be’s hidden Kennedy bloodline.
A young Kate Middleton (fourth from right) sailing aboard Uncle Ted’s schooner—with Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and some of her Kennedy relatives.
Last month, a gentleman in a tattered bowler hat and gray trench coat walked into Le Périgord and delivered a manila envelope to my usual table. He was in a hurry, and the corner of the envelope slid into my Floating Island—which was excellent, by the way—as he quickly turned and beelined for the door. The package was marked, in tasteful calligraphy, “To, Vanity Fair; From, Source: ‘Masshole.’” I opened the envelope and removed a faded, crinkled photograph. Several faces in the picture were immediately recognizable: Ted Kennedy and his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Among the group was a young girl with shiny brown hair, her pensive expression partially obscured by the schooner’s safety cable. I looked more closely at the girl—and dropped my fork.
This never-before-seen photograph, in addition to Vanity Fair’s sponsored genealogical research, confirms that Kate Middleton, Prince William’s bride-to-be, is a distant cousin of Ted Kennedy. Preppy and poised, Middleton has the mien of a Kennedy. And as it turns out, she also has the genes of one.
According to Dr. Adam Fenwick-Symes, a genealogist at the University of Cambridge and himself one-48th Kennedy, Middleton’s paternal great-grandmother Edwardian socialite Olive Lupton is the daughter of Francis Martineau Lupton and Harriet Albina Davis. Davis is the daughter of William Davis, whose aunt, Maria Davis, married James Kennedy, father to Patrick, grandfather to P.J., great-grandfather to Joe, and great-great-grandfather to John F. Kennedy.
“The political climate in the States is such that both families wanted to keep this quiet,” a Middleton insider told Vanity Fair. “At least until after the wedding.” While Barack and Michelle Obama have not been invited to the April 29th nuptials—the event is not “a formal state occasion,” according to Clarence House—members of the Kennedy clan are expected to attend. “I think they’re just happy about the opportunity to get out of the country after that horrendous mini-series,” a family insider said.
While news of Kate’s relationship is shocking, it was not completely unexpected—particularly to readers of this magazine. Middleton has the athleticism of a Jack, the charm of a Teddy, the shiny hair of a Maria Shriver, and the enigmatic reticence of one of the lesser-known Kennedys—Rose, for example. The 29-year-old, Berkshire-born Middleton frequently takes hunting and skiing trips with William, and would feel right at home swimming and playing tennis in Hyannis Port, where the Kennedys have owned a waterfront compound since 1927. Sartorially, Middleton is partial to basic trench coats, extravagant hats, and classic A-line skirts—all hallmarks of Kennedy women. Additionally, Middleton shares a birth date—January 9—with the singer Joan Baez, who of course shares a first name with Joan Kennedy, the first wife of Teddy Kennedy.
Though Kate was educated in England, and, briefly, Jordan, she speaks with a hard Boston accent—her A’s so broad that even a Sox fan would blush. As Katie Nicholl reported in the May 2011 issue of Vanity Fair, “there was talk, among some of Kate’s friends, that she had had elocution lessons.” One former classmate at St. Andrews told Nicholl, “Her voice has completely changed. She sounded very posh.” There are now rumors that News of the World is in possession of a videotape in which Middleton is heard bragging to Prince William, “I gotta tawk to you! I cawht a cawd in the wawter off Mahss Bay!” News of the Kennedy kinship also sheds light on earlier reports that Middleton has a “JESUS HATES THE YANKEES” tattoo on her lower back.
Middleton’s self-possession, magnetism, and scrupulous aversion to scandal make her a natural choice to run against Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), who now occupies the seat that was held by Ted Kennedy until his death, in 2009. That she has never gone on record to oppose or endorse a single political policy only makes her a more fearsome contender. Sources familiar with Brown say the senator is anticipating a Middleton run, and has already hired legendary spin doctor Roger Stone to advise on his re-election campaign. “I think Stone wants to come after Kate for not being born in the United States,” a Brown insider told Vanity Fair. “Except that’s not even a requirement to be a senator, so whatever.”
Camelot hasn’t fallen—it’s just bi-continental.