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Kate Middleton's cousin working on legal dispute between authors

Lucy Middleton works at Penguin Random House

Gemma Strong

Lucy Middleton – cousin and close friend of the Duchess of Cambridge and a godmother to little Prince Louis – is working on a case that has been brought against one of the authors signed to her employer, publishing company Penguin Random House.

Lucy works as a publishing lawyer and is involved in a dispute led by royal historian Anna Pasternak, who has made allegations of plagiarism against Lara Prescott, an American novelist.

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Lara's bestselling book The Secrets We Keep tells the story of the publication of Doctor Zhivago – but Anna has claimed that it plagiarises her own work, Lara; The Untold Love Story That Inspired Doctor Zhivago.

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It was Anna's great uncle, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Boris Pasternak, who wrote Doctor Zhivago, which was first published in Italy in 1957.

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Lucy is Kate's cousin and a godmother to Prince Louis

Anna has asserted in her own book that if it wasn't for Boris's relationship with Olga Freidenberg – his cousin, lover, muse and the woman upon whom the character of Lara was based – that Doctor Zhivago would never have been completed or published.

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She has accused Penguin Random House of "cheque book litigation" and "bullying" tactics. "I have always felt that Lara Prescott and Penguin Random House were trying to force me out of this dispute by bullying me with cheque-book litigation, and by unnecessarily inflating the cost of it," she told the Daily Mail.

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She has worked for the publishing giant since April 2016

"Penguin has swept in and used its corporate power to try to beat me into submission. Surely the days of the big corporate bully threatening their financial might are now over?"

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Sinead Martin, Group Legal Director for Penguin Random House UK, said: "Ms Pasternak elected to bring proceedings, in the full knowledge that they would be defended by Lara Prescott and her publisher, both of whom consider the claim to be unfounded and entirely without merit.

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Anna Pasternak's great uncle Boris wrote Doctor Zhivago

"At Penguin Random House UK, we have a long and proud history of supporting our authors against unfounded claims and we will continue to do so in this case."

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