Kate Middleton’s Mackem burlesque-dancing Sunderland cousin performs for Bill Clinton and Elton John

UK Burlesque performer Katrina Darling, photographed by New York based celebrity photographer Dale May.
UK Burlesque performer Katrina Darling, photographed by New York based celebrity photographer Dale May.
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THE Duchess of Cambridge’s risqué Mackem cousin has been revealing all for Elton John and Bill Clinton.

Katrina Darling’s burlesque career has soared since her royal connections were uncovered and has led to her appearing on US and UK magazine covers, as well as performing at this year’s prestigious Life Ball in Vienna in front of a star-studded audience.

“The Life Ball was amazing, it was such a privilege to be asked, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” said the 23-year-old from Fulwell.

“I got there and there was an Arabian Nights theme, it was just gorgeous. There were people like Bill Clinton and Elton John in the audience and even Azealia Banks (a US rapper) pulled up a chair to watch me from the side of the stage.”

The former Monkwearmouth School pupil, who appeared on the front cover of one of US Playboy’s best-selling issues of 2012, has also announced she is heading back to the North East to perform her new act.

She will open the stage for American comedian and musician Stephen Lynch on his UK tour which will stop off at Newcastle’s O2 Academy on Wednesday.

“I first performed as part of Stephen’s show when he was doing a four-day run at a Speak Easy in the West End,” she explained.

“It was a perfect venue because that’s how burlesque started in America. Comedians would be the main act but in between sets a talking woman would come on and de-robe.

“I liked the idea of marrying comedy with burlesque and mentioned it to Stephen.

“We weren’t sure how the audience would respond at first, but Stephen asked me to come back the next week and it went from there.”

Katrina, who has been a burlesque dancer since she was 18, was unaware of her royal link until a national newspaper reporter looked into Kate Middleton’s family tree during the time of the Royal Wedding. Katrina’s grandmother is the sister of the Duchess’s great grandfather, Thomas Harrison, making her Kate’s second cousin, once removed.

Since the wedding Katrina, who started her career with Sunderland-based troupe The Coquette Collective, has been much in demand. As well as regularly headlining shows in America and Europe and hitting the catwalks of New York and Paris, she has performed at dinner parties for the likes of Prince Claus Von Amsberg, Prince of the Netherlands.

She said: “That link with the Royal Family has made me prove my salt, but I think the fact that people are still interested in me now is testament to my artistic merit.”