Meet the royals of Wyalkatchem

The Wheatbelt town of Wyalkatchem is a good 15,000km from the Kensington Palace apartment the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge call home.

But it can now claim to be royal country after one of its oldest local families was revealed as distant relations of the future king of England, Prince George.

In a town with a population of fewer than 600, most people know the Holdsworths: for generations they have worked the land as wheat and sheep farmers and many of the items in the town's agricultural museum have been donated by one Holdsworth or another.

What few know - and what the Holdsworths themselves did not know until last week - is that the family are related to the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton through their ancestor Samuel Hickmott, an English sheep thief sent to Australia as a convict in 1840.

As revealed by _The Weekend West _, Hickmott's son Henry went on to marry a girl who would be the great, great, great, great-aunt of Kate Middleton.

Henry's son, first cousin five times removed to Prince George, left behind 12 children and it is from those children that the Holdsworths and dozens of other WA families also related to Prince George descend.

Revelations of WA's connection to Prince George come ahead of the 2014 royal tour in Australia on Wednesday.

However, the royal couple and their son will not be coming to WA.

_The West Australian _visited the Wyalkatchem branch of the Holdsworth family to break the news of their royal connection and found a close-knit and friendly family free from pretension.

In addition to the Wyalkatchem clan, others have settled in Perth, Bunbury and Mandurah as well as out of the State.

The Holdsworths appear to be connected to Hickmott through two of his 12 great-grandchildren: Ruby Minnie Hickmott and Florence Hickmott.

Ruby married Enoch Arthur Holdsworth with whom she had four children. Florence Mary Hickmott married Richard Austin and also had four children, including a daughter, Gladys, who married Albert Edward Holdsworth.

Trevor Holdsworth summed up the family's reaction to the news, saying it had come as "a bit of a shock".

"I'll probably take a bit more of an interest in watching (the royal family) on the TV," he said.

"Normally I wouldn't bat an eyelid."

The Hickmott ancestry is not the only connection between Wyalkatchem and English royalty. Sir William Heseltine, private secretary to the Queen from 1986 to 1990, was born in Wyalkatchem in 1930 and grew up in what is now known as the Museum House.

John Holdsworth is something of an expert on the family tree, which he has traced back to the 1600s.

But he said the royal connection came as "news to me".

"I had trouble convincing people," he said.

"I got a lot of laughing."

Niece Emma Holdsworth was among those who was sceptical - to say the least.

"I thought Uncle John was joking," she said.

Barbara Holdsworth said she was disappointed the royal tour of Australia and New Zealand would not make it to WA.

"I'm rather excited we can say we're related to Prince George," she said.

The Holdsworths are just one of at least two dozen WA families with links to the royal baby.

None of those contacted by _The West Australian _ knew of the connection. Royal relatives' surnames include Applin, Bamford, Begley, Bielby, Carter, Crameri, Davies, Egerton-Warburton, Fratel(le), Free, Harrison, Hickmott, Holdsworth, Hovell, Kiernan, Lewis, Marsden, Pendlebury, Prentice, Quartermaine, Tate, Taylor, Turnbull, Usher, Whittington, Weise and West.

The West Australian

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