5 JANUARY 2007

After graduating Kate Middleton's ambition was to set up a mail order children's clothing business - and it seems her interest in all things kiddie runs in the family. A British newspaper has revealed that Prince William's girlfriend is related to the famous children's author Beatrix Potter, of Peter Rabbit fame.

According to a genealogy expert quoted by the Daily Express, "Kate is a descendant of a well-heeled Leeds dynasty, the Luptons, and is a cousin of two Lupton sisters - Elizabeth and Elinor - who were cousins of Miss Potter. They received illustrated greetings cards from the author in the early days of the Twentieth century."

And the pretty brunette, who works for highstreet fashion chain Jigsaw, is en route to becoming as famous as her forebear it seems. After an early-morning run-in with a traffic warden on Wednesday was caught on film by snappers, the following day - with photographers still camped outside the house - she received a police escort to work.

Kate, who turned down the offer of a personal protection officer in 2006, will not be entitled to formal police bodyguards until she becomes engaged to her royal beau. However, the police presence around her Chelsea home has been stepped up, apparently as a result of the couple's concerns over the paparazzi gathered outside it.

"She understands that there will be a certain amount of interest in what she does," said a source close to Kate. "But she and William have seriously discussed concerns about her personal safety."

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Kate, pictured attending Will's graduation from Sandhurst, is apparently related to sisters Elizabeth and Elinor Lupton, who were cousins of Miss PotterPhoto: © Getty Images