Carole Middleton

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Carole Middleton
Carole Elizabeth Middleton on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.jpg
Middleton stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the wedding of her eldest daughter Catherine on 29 April 2011
Carole Elizabeth Goldsmith

(1955-01-31) 31 January 1955 (age 68)
Perivale, London, England
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
(m. 1980)

Carole Elizabeth Middleton (née Goldsmith; born 31 January 1955)[1] is a British businesswoman. She is the mother of Catherine, Princess of Wales, Philippa Matthews, and James Middleton.

Born in Perivale and brought up in Southall, London, Middleton was educated at state schools before working as a secretary. She joined British Airways and worked as a flight attendant until her marriage to Michael Middleton, a member of the Middleton family. Middleton founded Party Pieces, a mail-order party supply company, in 1987. Her first three grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, are second, third, and fourth in line to the British throne respectively. The Middleton family resides at Bucklebury Manor, in Berkshire.

Early life[edit]

Carole Elizabeth Goldsmith was born on 31 January 1955 in Perivale, London, the daughter of Ronald (1931–2003) and Dorothy Goldsmith (née Harrison; 1935–2006); she is the older sister of IT recruitment multi-millionaire Gary Goldsmith.[2] Her paternal family are descended from coal miners, and were described as working-class.[3][4] Her father was a builder, while her mother worked part-time in a jewellery store.[5] Goldsmith spent her early years in a small house in Southall, attending the local state schools.[6][7]

She initially left school aged 16, but soon returned and achieved four A Levels.[8] Goldsmith originally planned on being a teacher, but her parents were unable to put her through college. She subsequently worked as a shop assistant for John Lewis before being hired as a secretary for British Airways.[8] Goldsmith then transferred to ground crew, and by her marriage in 1980, was working as a flight attendant.[8][9]


In 1987, Middleton established Party Pieces, a company that began by making party bags and which then sold party supplies and decorations by mail order. Middleton first began the business "at her kitchen table" and distributed thousands of leaflets to advertise locally.[10] Her husband quit his job at British Airways to join her at the company in 1989.[11] In 1995, the firm's growth necessitated its headquarters be moved to a range of farm buildings at Ashampstead Common.[12][13] The company was estimated to be worth £30 million,[14] though accounts show that the company lost £1.068 million during the COVID-19 pandemic.[15] The Middletons sold Party Pieces in May 2023 after it fell into administration.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Goldsmith married flight dispatcher Michael Middleton on 21 June 1980 at the Church of St James in Dorney, Buckinghamshire.[17] Her husband descended from a prominent Yorkshire family with aristocratic roots.[18][19][8] The couple subsequently bought a Victorian house in Bradfield Southend near Reading, Berkshire.[17] The Middletons had three children: Catherine (b. 9 January 1982), Philippa (b. 6 September 1983) and James (b. 15 April 1987.)[17] The family moved to Jordan in 1984 before returning to West Berkshire, Bradfield Southend in 1986.[20] In 1995, the Middletons purchased Oak Acre, a Tudor-style manor house in Bucklebury, Berkshire.[21] In 2002, Middleton and her husband bought "with cash" a flat in Chelsea, London, in which their children lived after completing their university studies.[22] The flat was sold in 2018.[23]

In 2011, her daughter, Catherine, married Prince William at Westminster Abbey.[24] The gold chevron on the coat of arms commissioned by her husband that year is in reference to Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith.[25] She is a grandmother to Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Wales. And also of Arthur Michael, Grace Elizabeth Jane and Rose Matthews. [26] In 2012, the family bought Bucklebury Manor, in Bucklebury, West Berkshire – a Grade II listed Georgian manor house set on over 18 acres.[27]

The Middleton family's wealth is the result of their business combined with the trust funds inherited from Olive Christiana Middleton (née Lupton), whom the BBC reported in 2011 as being Michael Middleton's aristocrat grandmother.[28] This wealth has resulted in the Middletons being reported to be multi-millionaires.[29][30][31]


  1. ^ Bradbury, Poppy (3 May 2011), "Kate Middleton's mum's old school hosts Royal Wedding party", Ealing Gazette, archived from the original on 21 March 2012
  2. ^ Tominey, Camilla (24 March 2013). "Is Gary Goldsmith really the Black Sheep of the Middleton family?". UK Express. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Kate Middleton". People. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  4. ^ Nicholl, Katie. "Meet The Parents". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  5. ^ Crothers, Jen. "Carole Middleton opens up about her passion for her business". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  6. ^ Smith, Sean (2011). "Chapter 1". Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton. First Gallery Books. p. Page 2. ISBN 9781451661569. Retrieved 29 November 2014. Eventually Dorothy and Ron moved into a council flat nearby before borrowing the deposit to buy a small house of their own in Southall, where they were living when Carole was born in 1955.
  7. ^ "News: Kate Middleton's Southall connections". Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d ""Life is Really Normal – Most of the Time". Carole Middleton on the Family Business". UK Sunday Telegraph. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  9. ^ Wood, M. "The ancestry of Catherine (Kate) Middleton". William Addams Reitwiesner & Michael J. Wood. Retrieved 24 July 2019. Carole Elizabeth Goldsmith, b. Perivale Maternity Hospital, Perivale, Middlesex, 31 Jan. 1955 [entry no. 82], in 1980 a stewardess
  10. ^ "Decoding Carole Middleton, Britain's Second Most Famous Grandmother". Vogue UK. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Exclusive: Carole Middleton: 'My biggest fear was that I'd lose my family, but we've stayed close'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  12. ^ Party Pieces Princess in News of the World (21 November 2010), pg. 4
  13. ^ "About us". Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  14. ^ Reslen, Eileen. "Carole and Michael Middleton Have Made Millions Off of Party Planning". Town and Country. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Party supplies business run by Kate Middleton's parents lost £1m during pandemic". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  16. ^ Kleinman, Mark (18 May 2023). "Princess of Wales's parents' party supplies firm sold after brush with insolvency". Sky News. Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  17. ^ a b c Rayner, Gordon (16 November 2010). "Royal wedding: Kate Middleton's family background". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  18. ^ City of Leeds Archives, Leodis. "Headingley Castle". Leodis – A Photographic Archive of Leeds. UK Government. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  19. ^ Rayner, Gordon. "Middle-class Duchess of Cambridge's relative wore crown and attended George Vs coronation". UK Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2013. News – page 7; "(Michael Middleton's) ancestors were very much landed gentry, and as we now know some of them were titled." (Page 7) Middle-class Duchess of Cambridge's relative wore crown and attended George Vs coronation
  20. ^ "Duchess of Cambridge returns to St Andrew's School". BBC News. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2016. Catherine joined the school at four years old when her family returned to West Berkshire in 1986 after spending two-and-a-half years in Jordan.
  21. ^ Andersen, Christopher (2011). William and Kate – A Royal Love Story. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 77. ISBN 9781451621457.
  22. ^ Brennan, Zoe (19 March 2011). "The family fortune of the minted Middletons". UK Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 June 2015. This (flat) was bought with cash for £780,000 in 2002 and is worth some £1.2 million now (in 2011). Land Registry records show there is no mortgage on it.
  23. ^ "The flat Kate and Pippa Middleton shared has sold". Elle. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, in pictures". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  25. ^ Bates, Stephen (19 April 2011). "Kate Middleton's coat of arms blends in-jokes, symbolism and history". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  26. ^ Silvia, Erin. "Kate Middleton's Mom Carole Teases Grandkids George, Louis & Charlotte Will Pumpkin Carve For Halloween". MSN. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  27. ^ Nicholl, Katie. "Curious About George". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  28. ^ "Royal wedding: Family tree". BBC News. UK. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2015. He (R. Noel Middleton) attended Clifton College in Bristol as a boarder before heading to Leeds University and qualifying as a solicitor. He met and married aristocrat Olive Christiana Lupton.
  29. ^ A Photographic Archive of Leeds, Leodis. "Potternewton Hall, Potternewton Lane". UK Gov. City of Leeds. Retrieved 12 November 2014. When Olive Middleton died in 1936, her will shows that she left a personal estate of £52,031. Olive's will also discloses that by 1936 there were three separate family trusts in operation controlling the bulk of her and her family's fortune
  30. ^ Lewis, Jason (27 November 2010). "How a Victorian industrialist helped Kate Middleton's parents". UK Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 November 2014. By 1936 there were three separate family trusts in operation controlling the bulk of her and her family's fortune
  31. ^ "Generation why-should-I?". Edinburgh: Retrieved 4 May 2011.

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