Kate Middleton’s link to the only Civil Service super-mandarin to get the sack

It’s a distant one – poor Sir Christopher Bullock was a second cousin three times removed. But maybe she can help to get him justice after nearly 80 years

Here is news from Australia which may interest northerners who have a connection, however slender, with Kate Middleton’s ancestry in our three regions.

These include county Durham mining families and a chip shop owner in the city of Durham itself, as well as your own correspondent whose mother had her first date with Princess Kate’s grandfather Peter – a dance at RAF Dishforth – and used to play as a younger girl at the Middletons’ holiday cabin in Little Langdale.

Exciting! At least for me, however sad you may reckon that. And excitement runs through an email from Australian history teacher Michael Reed who has discovered something new, or at least yet to be highlighted, deep in the branches of the Middleton family tree. He says:

It’s well known that Kate Middleton’s paternal Leeds family were well connected and wealthy. But there was never any evidence of any titled person with whom she could claim to have a blood connection – unless one desperately went right back to Elizabethan times to Sir Thomas Fairfax (1475-1520).

But we have discovered she has a Leeds ‘Lady’ in her recent family tree -a very important fact which British geneaologists have overlooked. Kate has a second cousin thrice removed, Barbara Lupton , who was Lady Bullock. Kate’s great grandmother Olive Middleton (nee Lupton) was Lady Bullock’s second cousin.

Are you following? I am, because Olive Middleton brought the Middletons together with the Lupton family which is seriously important in the history of modern Leeds – a fount of high-minded Liberals who did a great deal of good. And Read is also on to a political story:

World wide headlines were made in 1936 when Barbara Lupton’s husband , Sir Christopher Bullock, who died in 1972, was dismissed from his Senior Government position by the then British Prime Minister Sir Stanley Baldwin. I have taught about this important episode in recent British history in colleges here in Australia. Who would have thought that Kate was a second cousin of Sir Christopher’s wife?

Well, I wonder – while admiring the use of a familiar Leeds expression. Without continually butting in about my own genealogy, my paternal ancestors initially lived in a street called ‘Who Could’a Thowt It?’ in Hunslet when they moved to Leeds to try their hand at butchery instead of grubbing along as farmworkers in the North Yorkshire village of Well.

It is beyond the Northerner‘s scope to deal in detail with the politics of the 1930s but you can find plenty about Sir Christopher and his sacking online. He is the only permanent under-secretary to have been dismissed from the civil service, after Baldwin was advised that he had abused his position as head of the air ministry (aged only 38) by seeking a place on the board of Imperial Airways. His integrity was not questioned and he had loads of supporters including Time magazine in the United States which opined:

Among British aviators, the view was that Sir Christopher is easily worth ten of the men who investigated and broke him.

Given the amount of apologising for past political actions which now seem inexcusable or wrong, maybe the Princess and her husband can do something for her late cousin Chris. How far you push the boat out for a second cousin thrice removed is an interesting question but maybe historically minded readers know of other examples which could give a modest campaign legs.

Reed concludes by acknowledging the help of Society of Australian Genealogists in Sydney and says:

We are certain this discovery will be of interest to readers who have a fascination with both royalty and political history.

Over to you.

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