The truth about Kate Middleton’s parents

With their eldest child set to one day become Queen of England, it only makes sense that royal fans have long had an interest in Michael and Carole Middleton.

Catherine Middleton will be the first middle-class woman to serve as Queen Consort when Prince William takes the throne. But whether with royal connections or not, the prince’s university love had a rather clumsy upbringing of its own. As the Daily Mail reported in 2005, shortly after she and her now-husband went public with their relationship, she attended two elite schools as a child. First, she visited Downe House — which now costs more than $34,000 a year to visit (via her website). She then attended Marlborough College, which was earning her parents £21,000 a year in 2005, according to the Daily Mail — about $36,000 a year by today’s standards. In addition, the Middletons’ daughters were gifted an apartment by their parents in their 20s. According to Vanity Fair, the couple reportedly paid in cash. According to the Daily Mail, the flat was recently sold for a whopping £1.88million – just under $2.4million.

Given that, per Vanity Fair, the Middletons also contributed a “six-figure” sum to their firstborn’s wedding, it’s pretty clear that this couple, while not necessarily royally linked, have an impressive net worth. So who are Michael and Carole Middleton, the future king’s in-laws?

Michael Middleton is associated with the aristocracy

It’s a common assumption that the Duchess of Cambridge’s family had no royal connections prior to their meeting and eventual marriage to Prince William. However, her father, Michael Middleton, does in fact have ties to high society. As revealed by Vanity Fair, Michael is Olive Lupton’s grandson. Lupton was a wealthy socialite who moved in upper crust circles. In fact, last year Daily Mail published pictures of Lupton and her family alongside Princess Mary, all attending a garden party in the 1920s. Per City & Country, the princess was the younger sister of King George VI, making her the aunt of Queen Elizabeth II.

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As Vanity Fair noted, Lupton received a sizable inheritance from her father — we’re talking more than $10 million split between her and her sister — some of which was held in trust funds for Michael. Where Lupton’s father’s wealth came from, the Daily Mail reported he was the son of Frank Lupton, who turned the family’s centuries-old wool business into an extraordinarily successful venture. Considering those trust funds, Michael had quite a genteel upbringing. Like his children, he attended an elite school, Clifton College (via Spiegel).

Family heritage aside, Michael Middleton has had an impressive career of his own as a flight dispatcher for British Airways. However, by far his greatest professional success is the company he owns with his wife. That is, party pieces.

Carole Middleton is a self-made millionaire

While Michael Middleton may have historical connections to the upper class, his wife does not. In fact, in 2021, Carole Middleton told Good Housekeeping, “My father was a builder and my mother worked part-time in a jewelry store and later went to work in a factory. I remember they worked hard to make ends meet and give us a lifestyle.” But even without royal connections, the Middleton family owes their comfortable lifestyle to their matriarch.

When she first met her now-husband, Carole was a flight attendant and founded her event supplies company, Party Pieces, in 1983. According to the company’s website, the seed for Party Pieces was first planted while she was planning her daughter’s birthday party. Carole noted “a niche in the market for time-pressed parents” — and the rest is history. Today, Party Pieces is a one-stop shop for all event planning needs, and it seems to have fetched more than a pretty dime.

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In addition to becoming a self-made millionaire, Carole gave birth to three extremely successful children. Not only will her first child serve as Queen Consort one day, her other children have done exceptionally well, too. Their second child, Pippa Middleton, married James Matthews, who is said to be a multi-billionaire according to the Evening Standard. As for the youngest of the brood, James Middleton has followed in his mother’s footsteps and become a multimillionaire business owner. She may not be aristocratic, but Carole Middleton has proven to be something of a kingmaker nonetheless.