Duchess of Cambridge’s Sunderland cousin is a model and raunchy burlesque dancer

Kate Middleton's Sunderland cousin Katrina Darling strikes a pose.
Kate Middleton's Sunderland cousin Katrina Darling strikes a pose.
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ONE’S the future Queen, the other’s a burlesque dancer – but they’re both a natural in front of the camera.

Former Monkwearmouth School girl Katrina Darling, 21, has trodden a very different path from cousin Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, attends at a ceremony at Province House in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island as part of their Royal Tour of Canada, Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, attends at a ceremony at Province House in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island as part of their Royal Tour of Canada, Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

She only recently discovered her Royal connection to the most talked about woman in the world. Katrina’s grandma, Jane Darling, was sister to Kate’s great grandfather Thomas Harrison.

Like Kate, Katrina tours the world but she’s kept her feet firmly on the ground and remains living in Fulwell, Sunderland.

She said: “The first I knew about it was when I was up in Glasgow doing a show and there was a voicemail on my phone from a reporter. I thought it was an April Fool at first.

“My grandparents on that side died before I was born and we didn’t know we were related to Kate. It’s nice to meet other cousins through this though.

“A couple of older relatives went down for the wedding. I caught a glimpse of it on the TV and I thought she looked gorgeous. I don’t think Pippa and her posterior stole the show.”

Katrina’s link to Kate has sparked huge media interest, including appearances on TV shows hosted by the likes of Fern Britton and Frank Skinner.

She added: “I wasn’t into the whole ‘I am Kate Middleton’s cousin’ thing, but the media picked it up and just went with it. It’s been extremely bizarre being on German TV and Australian radio. In a way it’s helped with PR, but I’ve worked extremely hard anyway.”

As well as modelling for magazines such as Look and Now, Katrina has built up a cult following with her burlesque act, which this year will see her perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at shows in Munich and Milan.

The Echo caught up with her at the Scott Spock Photography studios above Ramsay & Johnson hair salon in Blandford Street at a shoot for Hair magazine.

She’s been modelling for hairdresser Neville Ramsay for years and recently shot a music video with Sunderland band B>E>A>K.

She said: “It’s great being involved in the local arts scene, there is a such a creative buzz in Sunderland at the moment. There are some amazing things happening.

“Whenever there’s an economic decline, there always seems to be a rise in the arts as a form of escape. I think that’s why burlesque is so popular at the minute.”

Neville Ramsay, who works at the salon on Thursday, Friday and Saturday after selling it to Ashley Dembry, said: “We have worked with Katrina for years. She’s a great model because she can do funky and quirky, but also girl-next-door. I was really shocked to find out that she was related to Kate though.”

Twitter: @sunechokaty