Kate Middletons grandfather seen with Prince Philip in rare photo years before she met William

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A rare photograph of Prince Philip and Kate Middleton’s grandfather has been unearthed which shows they met decades ahead of their respective grandchildren.

Prince William’s grandfather surprisingly crossed paths with Captain Peter Middleton years before Kate and William were even born.

Remarkably, the chance meeting was captured on camera where it can be seen today.

The pair worked together during Prince Philip’s two-month flying tour of South America in 1962 where he visited British factories, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.

Prince Philip piloted 49 of the tour's 62 flights with Peter Middleton as his co-pilot and following the tour Prince Philip sent Middleton a letter of thanks and a pair of gold cufflinks.

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In the photo, the Duke of Edinburgh, then 41, can be seen disembarking a plane at Heathrow Airport, while Peter, then 42, stands alongside the stairs of the aircraft, dressed in uniform.

Peter, who sadly died just days before Kate and William announced their engagement in 2010, served as an RAF pilot during the Second World War. Prior to that, he studied English at Oxford University.

However, he did meet Prince William at his 90th birthday celebration shortly before his death and William attended his funeral with Kate later that year.

He married Kate’s paternal Grandmother, Valerie, in 1946. Valerie worked as a Government Code and Cypher School in Bletchley Park and died in 2006.

Kate went on to share a special bond with her grandfather in law clearly seen at his funeral in May where she was pictured wiping tears from her eyes.

Prince Philip is believed to have given Kate advice when she first joined the royal family and the pair reportedly shared a similar sense of humour and devotion to duty.

Prince William reflected on their relationship in his moving tribute to the Duke, who passed away on Friday, writing: "I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her."

Kate and Philip often stood close to each other when the royals gathered on the Buckingham Palace balcony for Trooping of the Colour, and often could be seen exchanging jokes.

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