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The Middletons

2011-04-20 12:26
London - For Michael Middleton, leading his eldest daughter down the aisle of Westminster Abbey to marry a prince next week will probably be one of the proudest moments of his life.

Watching from the front pews, no doubt with a mixture of intense pride and emotion, will be Carole, Kate's mother, along with their other two children and extended family.

The Middletons, from the village of Bucklebury, in Berkshire near London, have over the years kept a low profile as romance between William and Kate blossomed.

But they did, involuntarily, attract media attention twice before the wedding was announced.

Once in late 2006, when Kate and her parents attended William's passing-out parade at Sandhurst Military Academy, and again in 2008, when William landed his army Chinook helicopter in the Middleton's back garden to drop in on Kate.

While the young prince's highly unusual sortie gave rise to much light-hearted comment, the Sandhurst event, which was also attended by Queen Elizabeth II, unleashed a barrage of negative stories about the Middletons.

Nasty jokes followed, alluding to the Middletons' alleged lack of class and style, and Carole's former job as an air hostess.

Humble beginnings

Michael Middleton, a former airline pilot, married Carole Goldsmith in 1980, after meeting the former air hostess at British Airways, where they both worked.

He is one of four sons of a family of wealthy property owners, bankers and textile merchants from Leeds, in northern England.

The Middletons, who run Party Pieces, a successful mail-order business for toys and party accessories from a converted barn near their wisteria-clad Bucklebury home, are reported to be contributing up to £100 000  towards their daughter's big day.

Party Pieces' special offerings for the royal wedding celebrations include a "Britannia" scratch card quiz game featuring Union Jacks, corgis - the queen's favourite dogs - and tiaras, as well as a wide range of royal wedding street party paraphernalia.

Middleton children

Carole Middleton, 56, is descended from a long line of coal miners in Durham, northern England.

The couple's second daughter, 27-year-old Philippa (Pippa), is no less glamorous than her older sister, and combines a high-profile social life with work at an upmarket events company.

James Middleton, 23, the youngest of the Middleton children, has set up his own business for children's party cakes, saying that the project was inspired by childhood memories of his mother baking.

All three Middleton children went to leading private schools and top universities - though James dropped out of Edinburgh University in his first year to turn to business.

But despite their wealth, the Middleton parents expected their children to make their own way in the world, said James, revealing that he took out a bank loan to build the Cake Kit Company. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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