PHOTO: Pippa Middleton watches the Mens Singles third round match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic on day four of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club, in this June 9, 2011 file photo, in London.Since the royal wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William many have been waiting to see how Kate's little sister Pippa Middleton would cash in on her new-found fame as Britain's most eligible woman.

It seems she may have traded in beau Alex Loudon, the cricket-star-turned-banker, for an even wealthier lad.

"It is common knowledge in their close circle of friends that Pippa and Alex have recently split up," a friend is quoted as telling the Times of London.

The Sun reports that Middleton's newfound celebrity put a strain on the relationship, though the pair will "stay good friends."

Middleton, 27, has not been seen publicly with Loudon, 30, for several weeks. But she has been seen tooling around town, as well as Spain, with former flame George Percy, the son of the Duke of Northumberland and one of Britain's richest men.

As the duke's eldest son, Percy stands to inherit a large fortune.

"The Duke of Northumberland's son would be a considerable catch," Charles Kidd, editor of the blue blood bible Debrett's Peerage, told The Associated Press. "He's the heir to his father and his father's title. The duke is the highest rank of the peerage. They do rank just after the royal family."

Kidd said Percy, 27, has served as a "page of honor" to Queen Elizabeth II, a position that allows him to accompany the queen at major state events.

Middleton's appearances with Percy at a swanky Madrid nightclub and a posh London restaurant have prompted Britain's newspapers to report that she and Loudon have separated. She has not been seen publicly with Loudon since the royal wedding on April 29.

Pippa's New Title: "Her Royal Hotness"

But soon after she was photographed on vacation with a gaggle of girlfriends and Percy.

According to Britain's Daily Mail, Middleton and Percy dated when they were students at Edinburgh University, where they were also flatmates. They've remained friends for nearly 10 years.

Now Percy is Middleton's boss. After their week in Spain, Middleton took a job with Percy's geothermal energy firm.

In addition to juggling her role at party planner Table Talk and editing an online magazine for her parents' business Party Pieces, Middleton is expected to help lobby for government licenses to allow the energy firm to drill underground for hot water that can be turned into heat and electricity.

Middleton and Percy recently took time out from work to watch the AEGON tennis championship in London and got caught in the rain.

Since appearing as Kate's maid of honor in the form-fitting ivory satin cowl-necked dress, Middleton has been dubbed "her royal hotness" by the tabloids.

"I do think she's got the potential to be a huge star for years to come if she's very selective," Max Clifford, Britain's most prominent publicist, told The Associated Press. "But I don't know who she's dating."

Named the number-one society singleton by Tatler magazine in 2008, Pippa was considered all but engaged to Loudon. The couple began dating in December 2010. Loudon's status with the Middleton family was underscored in April when he sat with them in the front row of Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding.

According to Kidd, Loudon also has "distinguished ancestry," with close ties to the 1st Earl Jellicoe, who served as admiral of the naval fleet.

But his ancestry pales compared to Percy. If the flame is indeed rekindled, the Middletons' other daughter could join her sister, now the Duchess of Cambridge, as a member of the royal family.

Daily Dose of Everything

free counters

Daily Dose of Everything