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Prince William, Kate Middleton
Sang Tan  /  AP
Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton pose for the media at St. James's Palace in London after announcing their engagment.
updated 11/17/2010 10:51:20 AM ET 2010-11-17T15:51:20

The fiancee of Britain's Prince William has some family ties to famous Americans, including the first U.S. president.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston said Tuesday that Kate Middleton is an eighth cousin eight times removed to George Washington. Their common ancestor, Sir William Gascoigne, died in 1487.

Photos: Kate Middleton's spot-on princess style

William's late mother, Princess Diana, and great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, also were Washington's cousins.

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Middleton's other American relatives include explorer Meriwether Lewis, who teamed with William Clark for their renowned 19th-century Western expedition. He's a ninth cousin seven times removed.

A history of British royal weddings

The society also says Middleton is a 13th cousin three times removed of World War II General George S. Patton.

Prince William and Middleton are 15th cousins, through Sir Thomas Fairfax, who died during Henry VIII's reign.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Pal: ‘Grounded’ Kate will be great princess

  1. Transcript of: Pal: ‘Grounded’ Kate will be great princess

    LAUER: All right, interesting tidbit there, Natalie . Thank you very much . Ken Wharfe was Princess Diana 's chief bodyguard for seven years and handled security for Princes William and Harry . Jessica Hay is a longtime friend of Kate Middleton . Good morning to both of you.

    Mr. WHARFE: Yeah, good morning.

    Ms. JESSICA HAY (Friend of Kate Middleton): Good morning. How are you?

    LAUER: I'm fine, thanks. Jessica , let me start with you. I know you went to school with Kate , you've known her since, I think, you were 13. You played sports together.

    Ms. HAY: Yeah.

    LAUER: First of all, how did she break the news of this engagement to you? How did you find out?

    Ms. HAY: It was via phone, but it was awhile ago, quite awhile ago. But obviously nothing could be said, so I kept my mouth firmly shut.

    LAUER: Yeah, was it hard to keep the secret? I mean, it's one of the biggest secrets in the UK over the past, you know, couple of decades. How hard was it?

    Ms. HAY: I think if you know Kate , you would -- you'd be able to keep a secret that she tell -- if she tells you something personal, you're able to keep it. She's such a supportive person. I couldn't wish for a better friend.

    LAUER: You know -- you know, people really want to know what she's going to be like as a princess and perhaps the future queen of England . Talk to me a little bit about her qualities. You say she's a supportive person. What else do we need to know about Kate that's going to tell us how she'll do in the role of princess, for example?

    Ms. HAY: I think -- I think what'll make her a great princess is that she's very grounded and she cares about people. But more often than not, she will -- she will do what she wants to do. She's very, very independent, she's very headstrong, and I think that will stand her in good stead in the years to come.

    LAUER: We've heard people talk about her as an individual and William as an individual. You're one of the few people who knows a little bit about them as a couple.

    Ms. HAY: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: Can you describe their dynamic as a couple, both in front of the camera and away from the camera?

    Ms. HAY: Yeah. They're a very, very normal couple. They're the kind of couple that you would see at a restaurant. They're a very, very down-to-earth couple. They absolutely adore each other, they respect each other beyond belief. I can't -- I can't explain how much they suit each other. They're both -- they both just mesh well together.

    LAUER: All right, Ken , let me turn...

    Ms. HAY: So I think it's very important and...

    LAUER: I'm sorry, Jessica . Ken , let me turn to you. And it's almost unimaginable what she is now going to face in terms of public scrutiny. You've been there, you've seen it. Tell me a little of what's in store for Kate Middleton .

    Ms. HAY: Yeah. I think she's...

    Mr. WHARFE: Well, I think despite all that's just been said about, you know, Kate being the perfect woman for William , I mean, undoubtedly the -- what's happening now is the beginning of a huge change in her life simply because of the huge media interest that we saw yesterday. And this'll be ongoing now in the next months ahead of the date of the wedding, etc. And so with that comes the security package because, you know, sadly, inevitably in the world that we now live in, that is exactly what's going to have to happen. And so it will, despite all that's been said, it will change her life dramatically.

    LAUER: You talk about security, and obviously that's to prevent against outside threats. And then there's this idea of the media and the paparazzi. We saw what happened with Princess Diana . Do you think the rules of engagement , Ken , have changed at all? Have lessons been learned after the death of Princess Diana ?

    Mr. WHARFE: I -- certainly, I don't think the rules of engagement have changed because there's such a big story. And let's not forget, in the last 10 years media interest in the British royal family has waned dramatically, simply, you know, following the death of Diana . What you -- what they now believe is this is the sort of almost a rebirth of that. I mean, one thing's for certain, that William , age 28, and Kate the same sort of age, begin a new future now for the royal family , and they will now generate and put out an appeal to that generation that will take the royal family into the 21st century. But with that, you know, comes this huge media interest. So to answer your question, Matt , no, there isn't going to be any load off here.

    And......the last 10 years, the whole world has changed dramatically. So it brings security even greater and nearer to focus upon.

    LAUER: Jessica , I started with you, let me end with you. You say you knew about the engagement before any of us did. So do you also know the wedding date?

    Ms. HAY: I could not give that kind of information out. But it will be sometime next year. That's all I'm going to say.

    LAUER: Not even for me, Jessica ?

    Ms. HAY: But it'll be a very, very happy occasion. Sorry?

    LAUER: Not even for me?

    Ms. HAY: Don't try and charm me now. No, there's absolutely -- it'll be definitely sometime next year.

    LAUER: Jessica Hay and Ken Wharfe , thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.

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