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Kate Middleton pays surprise visit to Imperial War Museum

The Duchess of Cambridge has paid a surprise visit to London’s Imperial War Museum ahead of Armistice Day to see letters about three brothers of her great-grandmother, all of whom fought and died in the First World War. 

All three sons of Kate’s great-great-grandfather Francis Martineau Lupton were killed in action within two years of each other while serving during the conflict. 

Kate viewed poignant letters relating to Maurice, who died in 1915 aged 28, Lionel, who died in 1916 aged 24, and Francis, who was killed in 1917 aged 31, at the IWM’s Documents Archive after undertaking a short tour of the First World War Galleries. 

The Duches had the change to read an extract from a letter from Maurice to his father, in which he asked for night lights and pencils to be sent to him, and described finding unexploded shells.

‘Both sides avoid putting their heads over the parapet during the day,’ he wrote. ‘We found two unexploded shells hereabouts – one we have buried and the other Lionel said he could find an owner for and that it was worth keeping. 

Lionel was here the day before yesterday for a bit, and I have seen him two or three times in the last few days.’

She also met with historians, curators and the fellow descendant of a First World War soldier, and was shown a letter of condolence from the Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace to her relatives. 

‘I am commanded by the King to convey to you His Majety’s deep feeling of sympathy with you in the fresh bereavement which has befallen you by the death in battle of your gallant son Major F. A. Lupton,’ the letter read. 

 

The Duchess of Cambridge has paid poignant visit to London’s Imperial War Museum to view letters relating to the three brothers of her great-grandmother, all of whom fought and died in the First World War

Before heading inside, Kate was shown the 'Poppies: Weeping Window' artwork by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper by Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM

Before heading inside, Kate was shown the ‘Poppies: Weeping Window’ artwork by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper by Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM

A telegram (left) announcing the death of Kate's great-grandmother's brother Maurice Lupton who died in 1915 aged 28, and (right) a letter to his father in which he talks about seeing his brother Lionel in the trenches and discovering unexploded bombs, dated May 24, 1915

A telegram (left) announcing the death of Kate’s great-grandmother’s brother Maurice Lupton who died in 1915 aged 28, and (right) a letter to his father in which he talks about seeing his brother Lionel in the trenches and discovering unexploded bombs, dated May 24, 1915

The Duchess views several documents relating to her relatives¿ experiences during the First World War, including letters home written by the brothers

The Duchess views several documents relating to her relatives’ experiences during the First World War, including letters home written by the brothers

The Duchess had the opportunity to view letters and documents related to the loss of her great-grandmother's three brothers who were all killed during the First World War 

The Duchess took a quiet moment as she read a letter relating to her relatives who died within two years of each other

The Duchess had the opportunity to view letters and documents related to the loss of her great-grandmother’s three brothers who were all killed during the First World War. The Duchess took a quiet moment as she read a letter relating to her relatives who died within two years of each other 

Back to her best! It's been a busy week for Kate who today paid a surprise visit to the Imperial War Museum, a day after visiting Coach Core Essex in Basildon

The Duchess looked elegant in a blue Jenny Packham dress and carried a nude clutch by Mulberry

Back to her best! It’s been a busy week for Kate who today paid a surprise visit to the Imperial War Museum, a day after visiting Coach Core Essex in Basildon. The Duchess looked elegant in a blue Jenny Packham dress and carried a nude clutch by Mulberry 

Kate was impeccably co-ordinated for the occasion, matching her nude Mulberry clutch to her heels

The Duchess, who was a vision of royal blue, was shown inside by Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM, after viewing the Poppies: Weeping Willow artwork

Kate was impeccably co-ordinated for the occasion, matching her nude Mulberry clutch to her heels. The Duchess, who was a vision of royal blue, was shown inside by Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM, after viewing the Poppies: Weeping Window artwork

The King realises that this is the third beloved son you have given in your Country’s cause, and His Majesty trusts that you may be granted strength and comfort in the further sorrow which you have been called upon to bear.’

Kate was also show a telegram from Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton – husband of her great-grandmother Olive Lupton – on March 26, 1917 announcing that the body of Major Francis Lupton, Kate’s great uncle, had been found.

It read: ‘Bad news Francis body found. Killed instantaneously.’

Kate cut an elegant figure for today’s visit in a simple blue shift dress by Jenny Packham, teamed with her go-to nude heels from Gianvito Rossi and a Mulberry clutch. 

Kate examined the last field service postcard from Lionel Lupton sent home on the day he was killed, July 16, 1916

The Duchess looked fascinated as she learned more about her family history while examining documents during the visit

Kate examined the last field service postcard from Lionel Lupton sent home on the day he was killed, July 16, 1916. The Duchess looked fascinated as she learned more about her family history while examining documents during the visit 

Family history: The Duchess was shown letters relating to the three brothers of her great-grandmother, all of whom fought and died in the First World War

Family history: The Duchess was shown letters relating to the three brothers of her great-grandmother, all of whom fought and died in the First World War

Before looking at the letters, Kate took a tour of the First World War Galleries where she was shown parts of them that relate to the experiences of her relatives.

Before looking at the letters, Kate took a tour of the First World War Galleries where she was shown parts of them that relate to the experiences of her relatives.

The Duchess of Cambridge looked animated as she greeted wellwishers during today's visit to the Imperial War Museum

Smiling Kate is clearly enjoying her return to royal duties after a six month maternity leave following the birth of Prince Louis in April

The Duchess of Cambridge looked animated as she greeted wellwishers during today’s visit to the Imperial War Museum. Smiling Kate is clearly enjoying her return to royal duties after a six month maternity leave following the birth of Prince Louis in April 

The Duchess of Cambridge views letters relating to the three brothers of her great-grandmother who fought in the First World War

Kate looked fascinated by the collection of documents, which helped her learn more about a tragic period in her family's past

The Duchess of Cambridge views letters relating to the three brothers of her great-grandmother who fought in the First World War. Kate looked fascinated by the collection of documents, which helped her learn more about a tragic period in her family’s past 

The Duchess previously wore the same dress as she arrived in Canada for the royal tour in September 2016.  

Ahead of Armistice Day, she proudly wore The Royal British Legion’s Women of The First World War Brooch, which honours women who served and lost their lives as a direct result of the First World War.

It’s been a busy week so far for the Duchess who paid a visit to Coach Core Essex in Basildon yesterday to meet with young coaching apprentices. 

During today’s visit, Kate found out more about her three deceased relatives borthers of Olive, who worked as a Nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment, and was The Duchess of Cambridge’s great-grandmother. 

An extract of a letter from Maurice Lupton to his father. In the letter, he talks about seeing his brother Lionel in the trenches and discovering unexploded bombs. It is dated May 24, 1915

An extract of a letter from Maurice Lupton to his father. In the letter, he talks about seeing his brother Lionel in the trenches and discovering unexploded bombs. It is dated May 24, 1915

Last field service postcard from Lionel Lupton sent home on the day he was killed, July 16, 1916

Last field service postcard from Lionel Lupton sent home on the day he was killed, July 16, 1916

A letter dated April 4, 1917 from the Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace, offering condolences the death of the three Lupton brothers

A letter dated April 4, 1917 from the Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace, offering condolences the death of the three Lupton brothers

A telegram from Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton - Olive Lupton's husband - on March 26, 1917 announcing that the body of Major Francis Lupton, Kate's great uncle, had been found

A telegram from Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton – Olive Lupton’s husband – on March 26, 1917 announcing that the body of Major Francis Lupton, Kate’s great uncle, had been found

She married Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton, who also corresponded with the family during the war.

The couple had a son called Peter, a Second World War Mosquito pilot, and he then had Michael Middleton – the father of Kate, socialite Pippa and businessman James. 

Before heading into the museum this afternoon, Kate paused to view the Poppies: Weeping Window artwork by Paul Cummins with Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM. 

The Duchess first saw the piece in its original form when it was displayed at the Tower of London in 2014 as part of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation where 888,246 poppies were displayed, representing each life lost at the Front during the First World War.

The Weeping Window has since been touring the UK where they have been viewed by millions before finally reaching the Imperial War Museum.   

Kate, who has a keen interest in art, looked animated as she discussed the Poppies: Weeping Willow artwork by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper by Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM

Kate, who has a keen interest in art, looked animated as she discussed the Poppies: Weeping Willow artwork by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper by Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM

Kate wore her brunette locks in her typical bouncy style for today's surprise visit

The Duchess looked animated as she chatted and is clearly relishing her return to royal duties after maternity leave

Kate wore her brunette locks in her typical bouncy style for today’s surprise visit. The Duchess looked animated as she chatted and is clearly relishing her return to royal duties after maternity leave

Taking it all in! The Duchess looked fascinate as she enjoyed a second look at the Poppies: Weeping Window installation 

Taking it all in! The Duchess looked fascinate as she enjoyed a second look at the Poppies: Weeping Window installation 

The Duchess of Cambridge alongside the 'Poppies: Weeping Willow' artwork by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, which has been touring the UK since first being displayed at the Tower Of London in 2014

The Duchess of Cambridge alongside the ‘Poppies: Weeping Willow’ artwork by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, which has been touring the UK since first being displayed at the Tower Of London in 2014

The Duchess was all smiles as she chatted to Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM, ahead of her visit to the IWM¿s Documents Archive

Kate, 36, is completing her second official engagement of the week after visiting Coach Core Essex yesterday

The Duchess was all smiles as she chatted to Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM, ahead of her visit to the IWM’s Documents Archive. Kate, 36, is completing her second official engagement of the week after visiting Coach Core Essex yesterday 

Second look! The Duchess had the chance to see the Poppies: Weeping Window artwork again, which she first viewed at the Tower Of London in 2014

Second look! The Duchess had the chance to see the Poppies: Weeping Window artwork again, which she first viewed at the Tower Of London in 2014

Royal blue! The Duchess of Cambridge cut an elegant figure in a simple dress by Jenny Packham for today's outing

Kate previously wore the same dress and shoes to attend the Official Welcome Ceremony at British Colombia's Parliament Building at the start of her official visit to Canada with Prince William in September 2016

Royal blue! The Duchess of Cambridge cut an elegant figure in a simple dress by Jenny Packham for today’s outing. She previously wore the same dress and shoes to attend the Official Welcome Ceremony at British Colombia’s Parliament Building at the start of her official visit to Canada with Prince William in September 2016

Mother-of-three Kate looked elegant in a bespoke Jenny Packham dress, which she accessorised with a nude clutch

The Duchess looked glowing during the visit as she continues her return to royal duties following maternity leave

Mother-of-three Kate looked elegant in a bespoke Jenny Packham dress, which she accessorised with a nude clutch. The Duchess looked glowing during the visit as she continues her return to royal duties following maternity leave 

Busy schedule! The Duchess surprised royal fans today with a visit to London's Imperial War Museum, the day after visiting Coach Core Essex in Basildon 

Busy schedule! The Duchess surprised royal fans today with a visit to London’s Imperial War Museum, the day after visiting Coach Core Essex in Basildon 

 Kate has been getting back into the swing of royal duties throughout the month of October, following her return from maternity leave. 

She was seen at a handful of family events over the summer, including Prince Harry’s wedding and Trooping The Colour, but has been enjoying time away from official duties since Prince Louis’ birth in April.

Even though Kate was resumed royal duties, her ‘primary focus’ will be her children throughout the Autumn, according to palace aides.

Meanwhile, her sister-in-law Meghan and Prince Harry have been the focus of attention in recent weeks as they complete their first major official overseas tour as a married couple.

The tragedy that haunts Kate’s family: How three young brothers of Duchess of Cambridge’s great-grandmother all lost their lives on the WWI battlefields 

The astonishing story of the Duchess of Cambridge’s great uncles among the First World War dead emerged today as she learned about her family’s military heroism.

All three sons of Kate’s great-great-grandfather Francis Martineau Lupton were killed in action within only two years of each other while serving during the conflict.

Maurice died in 1915 aged 28, Lionel in 1916 aged 24, and Francis in 1917 aged 31 – and Kate today came face-to-face with poignant letters relating to the tragic trio. 

Anne Lupton, Kate's great aunt

Olive Lupton, from whom Kate is directly descended

The brothers had two sisters – Anne (left) and Olive (right). Kate is descended from the latter

One of the three brothers, Lieutenant Lionel, served with 28th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, spending time in the front line trenches in France. He died at the Somme.

Captain Maurice served with the 7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and also spent time in the trenches, occasionally seeing Lionel, but he was killed by a sniper. 

Major Francis, who was the last of the three sons to be killed – on February 19, 1917 – served with the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and was killed by a bomb.

Francis Martineau had five children – with the other two being his two daughters, Anne, who lived the longest of all five until 1967, and Olive, who died in 1936.

Kate¿s great-great-grandfather Francis Martineau Lupton had three sons - all killed in the war

Kate’s great-great-grandfather Francis Martineau Lupton had three sons – all killed in the war

It is the family of Olive, who worked as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War, that provides a direct link to the Middleton family today.

Olive, who is Kate’s great-grandmother, married Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton, who also corresponded with the family during the conflict.

The couple had a son called Peter, a Second World War Mosquito pilot, and he then had Michael Middleton – the father of Kate, socialite Pippa and businessman James.

Today, Kate visited the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, South London, to view letters relating to Maurice, Lionel and Francis ahead of Armistice Day in 11 days’ time.

A telegram from Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton - Olive Lupton's husband - on March 26, 1917 announcing that the body of Major Francis Lupton, Kate's great uncle, had been found

A telegram from Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton – Olive Lupton’s husband – on March 26, 1917 announcing that the body of Major Francis Lupton, Kate’s great uncle, had been found

The Duchess also viewed Olive’s registration card and a telegram announcing that the body of Major Francis, Kate’s great uncle, had been found.

She was shown several documents relating to her relatives’ experiences, including a letter of condolence from the Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace.

Kate also saw a map of the Western Front and pictures of trench gardens, trench pets and burial services – all of which relate to her relatives’ war experience.

The letters and documents are said to provide a fascinating and poignant account of life and death in the trenches, and are from the IWM’s documents archive.

The museum said the archive provides a means to research, reflect and remember the contribution and sacrifice made by so many families during the First World War.

Before looking at the letters, Kate took a tour of the First World War Galleries where she was shown parts of them that relate to the experiences of her relatives.

She met historians, curators and the fellow descendent of a First World War soldier – and visited the Explore History room, a drop-in research and work space.

The IWM’s director-general Diane Lees said: ‘We are delighted that these documents are now part of IWM’s documents archive.

Last field service postcard from Lionel Lupton sent home on the day he was killed, July 16, 1916

Last field service postcard from Lionel Lupton sent home on the day he was killed, July 16, 1916

An extract of a letter from Maurice Lupton to his father. In the letter, he talks about seeing his brother Lionel in the trenches and discovering unexploded bombs. It is dated May 24, 1915

An extract of a letter from Maurice Lupton to his father. In the letter, he talks about seeing his brother Lionel in the trenches and discovering unexploded bombs. It is dated May 24, 1915

A letter dated April 4, 1917 from the Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace, offering condolences the death of the three Lupton brothers

A letter dated April 4, 1917 from the Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace, offering condolences the death of the three Lupton brothers

‘(They) provide a truly fascinating insight into what life was like in the trenches, and show the sacrifice that so many families made during the First World War.

‘Our documents archive remains one of the world’s foremost archives covering the personal experience of warfare since 1914.

‘This latest acquisition will only enhance our collection and will be an invaluable resource to research into a conflict that still has relevance and impact today.’

In July 2013, newsreels were uncovered showing the Duchess of Cambridge’s great-great-great uncle Sir Charles Lupton greeting Prince William’s ancestor.

Kate was shown her great-grandmother Olive's registration card. Olive and her younger sister Anne were both nurses in the Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross in the war

Kate was shown her great-grandmother Olive’s registration card. Olive and her younger sister Anne were both nurses in the Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross in the war

Olive Lupton, later Olive Middleton, grew up at the grand Potternewton Hall Estate, near Leeds

Olive Lupton, later Olive Middleton, grew up at the grand Potternewton Hall Estate, near Leeds

Kate's grandfather Peter Middleton (left) acted as First Officer to the Duke of Edinburgh (right) on a two-month flying tour of South America in 1962

Kate’s grandfather Peter Middleton (left) acted as First Officer to the Duke of Edinburgh (right) on a two-month flying tour of South America in 1962

The British Pathe footage taken in 1927 shows Sir Charles – Lord Mayor of Leeds and brother of Francis – and his wife Isabella greeting the Queen’s aunt Princess Mary.

Even earlier newsreels of Sir Charles visiting the Leeds Pals Battalion in the Yorkshire Dales during the First World War were also discovered.

Sir Charles and Francis, who were Trinity College Cambridge academics, had two other brothers – Arthur and Hugh, the latter of whom also became Lord Mayor.

Links to the Lupton family were discovered by history teacher Michael Reed and his pupils in Australia in April 2013 during a class project.

Mr Reed traced Kate’s family back five generations to the Marquess of Lansdowne and his brother Thomas FitzMaurice, of Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire.

The Imperial War Museum in London is free to enter daily from 10am until 6pm

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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