THE Duchess of Cambridge’s links to the region have been strengthened after research revealed she shares a common ancestor with the late Queen Mother.

Australian art historian, Michael Reed, made the discovery while researching the famous Blakiston-Bowes Cabinet, which is housed at the New York MET Museum and is due to be seen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their first official visit there between December 7 and 9.

The elaborate piece was built in Newcastle to celebrate the wedding between the two biggest families in County Durham – the Blakistons and the Bowes-Lyons.

Kate and the Queen Mother share a common ancestor in Sir William Blakiston, of Gibside Hall, near Gateshead.

Sir William’s great granddaughter, Elizabeth, married into the Bowes-Lyon family.

Elizabeth's descendant is the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who last visited the family estate in 1968.

Mr Reed said his research revealed that Kate’s ancestors, the Blakiston Baronets and the Baronets of Conyers of Hordern, were the wealthiest landowners in Northern England and married into the Bowes-Lyon family so they could share each others’ vast coal rich estates at Gibside.

He said: "It makes sense that Kate wore the Queen Mother's tiara when she married Prince William - both women share a great deal, Durham ancestry, the vast Gibside Estate and the same famous cabinet."

The cabinet has both the Blakiston and Bowes family crests on it's doors.

Kate's direct ancestor, Sir Thomas Blakiston Conyers, also attended the funeral of his Gibside cousin Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, who was the Queen Mother's great-great-great-grandmother and considered to be the wealthiest woman in England at the time of her death in 1800.

Weardale Royalist, Anita Atkinson, said she was not surprised by the discovery, especially as there was a strong connection with The Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, as the founders, John and Josephine Bowes, were also related to the Queen Mother.

“It does not surprise me at all because when Kate married William, I hoped that she would take County Durham from where the Queen Mother left it because each member of the Royal family used to have their own area and when the Queen Mother was alive she was always here,” Mrs Atkinson said.

“Of course we have to remember that the Queen Mother was not royal, she was only a member of the Royal family because she married a prince, but if we look at the ancestry of the Royal family we would see that they were intermarried all the time."