Wills and Kate, kissing cousins! How the Royal lovebirds are related thanks to a Tudor tyrant so bloodthirsty he's been airbrushed from history!

A dark and deliciously murky secret hovers over the continuing relationship between Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton - a skeleton so large that even a vast royal closet would struggle to contain it.

For the Mail can reveal that William and Kate are distant cousins. Not only that, the common ancestor who links the two lovers is a murderous despot whose bloody deeds have been deliberately forgotten by history. Until now.

The man who links William and Kate as kith and kin is Sir Thomas Leighton, an Elizabethan soldier, diplomat and, for 40 years, the cut-throat Governor of Guernsey. He is William's 12th generation great-grandparent, and Kate's 11th, making them 12th cousins, once removed.

A despot and a dictator, Leighton brooked no argument and made life hell for those he ruled.

'He disregarded civil liberties and kept the people down by main force,' reads a rare account of his life.

This hard-nosed figure was, however, a gentleman; which will come as a timely snub to those critics of Kate Middleton who dismiss her antecedents as being working-class and - extraordinary in this day and age - therefore deem her unsuitable as a future princess.
So Kate may be relieved to learn of her posh ancestor. On the other hand, she might not be too keen to boast over the dinner table about his bloody modus operandi.

So hated was Leighton, that on his death in 1610, the official report on his demise was defaced by angry Guernsey residents. And uniquely for such an important figure in the Elizabethan court - his wife was the Queen's cousin - no portrait of him survives. All were destroyed or lost.

So what makes this gruesome fellow, whose blood courses through the veins of our future king and queen, into such a figure of hatred? Why do historians prefer to ignore his existence?

The answer lies in his despotic, nepotistic rule of Guernsey - a small but crucial stronghold during the days when Spain was amassing its armada against Britain.