Who Is Princess Catherine's Dad?

Michael Middleton, Princess Catherine's father, is a mystery man who prefers it that way. While the royal family's lives read like an open book, and we know so many details about Prince William's side of the family, including what King Charles III has for breakfast (soft-boiled egg, tea, and fruit, if you're curious, per World News Today). Very little is known about Princess Catherine's side because the Middletons like to lead a private life away from the media.

Michael Middleton and his wife Carole were desperate to escape the public eye after their eldest daughter became a royal. So they relocated to the quiet Oak Acre in Berkshire, England, in 2012. The Middletons purchased Bucklebury Manor to regain normalcy, spending over $5 million to secure the property (via Hello!). The couple lives in a quiet village, where they are well-respected, and their privacy is maintained, per Vanity Fair.

Princess Catherine's mom, Carole, has agreed to be interviewed by the media occasionally, mainly to promote the family's party supplies business (via Good Housekeeping). However, her dad, Micheal, rarely speaks to the press, preferring to stay out of the limelight. So while you may know that Michael had a significant role in raising Princess Catherine and famously walked her down the aisle at her royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in 2011 — here are some facts you might not know about him.

Michael Middleton comes from a wealthy family and a long line of affluent ancestors

Despite what many people believe about the Middletons, Princess Catherine's father, Michael Middleton, did not come from a middle-class family. Michael Francis Middleton was born in Leeds and comes from a line of upper-middle-class family members who were all financially flourishing. His grandmother's side, the Luptons, was a family of business owners and property developers who established a trust fund that was passed down and reportedly still serves the Middleton family today. Meanwhile, his grandfather, Noel Middleton, comes from a long line of affluent solicitors (via The Telegraph).

Michael's father was Captain Peter Francis Middleton, a pilot for the Royal Air Force (via New Idea). His mom, Valerie Glassborow, was a banker's daughter (per, The Telegraph) who worked as a Duty Officer at Bletchley Park, England, a code-breaking center during WWII, according to Hello!. Michael's parents had four boys, including Michael, who all attended Clifton College in Bristol. One of the family's neighbors told The Telegraph that Michael and his brothers all attended boarding school and that the family was "clearly well off." However, the neighbor added, "They were never showy, but they were what you might describe as refined." This trait seems to be one Michael and his brothers passed on to Princess Catherine, who is known for her down-to-earth charm and accessible fashion sense, as she recycles outfits and shops at affordable retail chains like Zara.

Michael Middleton worked as a flight dispatcher for British Airways

Michael Middleton graduated from Clifton College in Bristol and was inspired by his father's career as a captain in the Royal air force and wanted to become a pilot. However, after attending British European Airways flight school, he decided to be a flight dispatcher instead (New Idea). During his time at British Airways, he met his wife, Carole Goldsmith, who was an air hostess for British Airways (per Mirror).

In May 1984, Michael's job led him to travel with his family for a posting in Amman, Jordan. The Middletons lived in Amman for two years, Catherine was two years old at the time, and Pippa was eight months old, so Carole extended her maternity leave to look after her daughters while Michael worked (per The National News).

Hanna Hashweh, a chief executive of the Hashweh Corporation travel agency in Amman, was a British Airways agent when the Middletons were in Jordan. Hashweh told National News that Michael Middleton "was a man of integrity" and that "during the week, they [the Middletons] didn't have a very active social life because he [Michael] worked long hours." However, Hashweh added that the Middletons enjoyed playing tennis at the British Embassy Club and rented a two-story villa close to a park and Catherine's nursery.

Michael Middleton met his wife at work and has been married for over 40 years

Love was in the air! Or should we say, airplane? Michael Middleton and his wife, then known as Carole Goldsmith, had a workplace romance, the pair met when he was a flight dispatcher, and she was an air attendant with British Airways, per Hello! But Michael and Carole would not have met if they had followed their initial career paths of choice. Michael wanted to be a pilot like his dad, and Carole's first passion was teaching, but her family couldn't afford the college tuition, so she chose to make money and ended up working as a flight attendant instead, per New Idea. Luckily, Carole and Michael changed routes and did meet. Otherwise, the world would not have Princess Catherine.

Michael and Carole tied the knot in Buckinghamshire on June 21, 1980, and the pair had three children (via New Idea). They welcomed their eldest daughter, known informally as Kate at the time, who would be future royal Princess Catherine, in 1982, then had daughter Pippa in 1983, followed by their only son, James, in 1987 (via Us Weekly). Michael and Carole have had a successful marriage and will celebrate their 43rd anniversary in 2023, coinciding with Prince William's birthday. The couple has been praised for "bringing up three children in total security," per (The Telegraph).

Michael Middleton's family is very close, and all his children were educated at private schools

Michael and his wife, Carole Middleton, created a stable environment, raising their three children to be close and with great values (via The Telegraph). Prince William and Princess Catherine were so impressed with how Michael and Carole parented that they decided to follow the "Middleton model," royal expert Duncan Larcombe said, per OK! – which is how the Princess of Wales was raised. "By the time Kate was in her early twenties, she counted her mother and father on the list of her best friends. That's what William and Kate are aspiring to with their children," said Larcombe.

Michael and his wife, Carole, wanted their children to get the best education possible. So Kate, Pippa, and James all attended the prestigious Marlborough College, a boarding school in Wiltshire, England (via Insider), with annual boarding tuition fees of almost $50 000 (per Marlborough College). According to Britannica, Michael and Carole's party supplies business, along with the family inheritance, was a big help in sending their children to private school.

Michael Middleton has a strong bond with Princess Catherine

Michael Middleton has been a strong father figure for all his children and inspired them to develop a love for sports. In a blog post on the Hoka website, Pippa Middleton mentioned how her parents took her and her siblings on outdoor adventures. "My parents inspired my love for walking in the mountains, and both joined me and my brother to the first hut when we climbed Mont Blanc," she wrote on the blog. Pippa added that her older sister, Princess Catherine, and her dad, Michael Middleton, climbed Mont Blanc together before Catherine became a royal.

Michael has a strong bond with Princess Catherine, with the pair being big tennis fans and regularly attending matches. In 2017, Princess Catherine appeared on the BBC documentary "Sue Barker: Our Wimbledon," sharing that she had watched Wimbledon since childhood with her family, calling it "a quintessential part of the English summer," as reported by Hello! On the same show, Princess Catherine told a cute anecdote about a time she watched tennis with her dad, Michael. The royal spoke of her dad embarrassing her when he approached former British number one tennis player Tim Henman a bit too casually. "My father is not going to appreciate this, but we were walking past Tim Henman, and we had just seen Sampras play. My dad said very coolly, 'Hi, Pete.' I was mortified!" she joked on the show.

Michael Middleton contributed over $100,000 toward Kate and William's wedding

One of Michael Middleton's most significant public moments was walking his daughter Kate (now Princess Catherine) down the aisle on April 29, 2011. Kate's lavish royal wedding to Prince William at Westminster Abbey was attended by 1,900 guests (per, Hello!), which probably made her low-key dad feel like a fish out of water, although he didn't show it. Dressed in a dapper suit, Michael Middleton looked on lovingly as his daughter joined the royal family, knowing her life would change forever. His calming presence was undoubtedly helpful in keeping Kate calm with so many eyes on her. Besides the guests present on the day, approximately a 17.6million people tuned in to the televised event to witness the history-making wedding, per Hello!

Vanity Fair reports that although Michael and his wife Carole did not have to contribute financially to the wedding, the pair insisted on helping pay for the big day. "It is something they absolutely wanted to do, and William graciously accepted," a senior royal aide told Vanity Fair. According to the Daily Mail, the bride's father contributed over $100,000 towards his daughter's wedding to Prince William. So although Michael had little say in what happened on the big day, he wanted to show his support for the couple.

Michael Middleton's family grew their wealth with a side hustle

Michael Middleton had a substantial amount of wealth made available from a network of trusts set up by previous generations of his family (via The Telegraph). However, he still worked hard as a flight dispatcher for British Airways, and his family set up a successful side hustle to grow their wealth. According to New Idea, in 1987, Michael's wife Carole saw a gap in the market for party bags and decided to found her own company called Party Pieces. In 1995, Michael left his job and joined his wife as the business boomed. "We realized we needed a warehouse. In 1995, we moved to Child's Court Farm [in Reading], where we've been ever since," Carole told Good Housekeeping.

Although Carole Middleton is listed as the Party Pieces founder on the company's website, she told People the business was a family effort and that Michael was instrumental in its growth. "My husband and I were young and a little inexperienced but very enthusiastic, so we didn't worry too much," explained Carole. "We took any early setbacks in our stride and had a lot of fun building the business together. When [my husband] Michael and I first started Party Pieces, we did everything ourselves. Taking orders, filling boxes, and sometimes making the deliveries," she added, per People. According to the Daily Mail, it is reported that the company is worth over $35 million, although these claims have not been substantiated as the Middletons prefer to keep their finances to themselves.

Michael Middleton is not comfortable with the limelight

He may be a successful businessman and supportive husband and father, but Michael Middleton is uncomfortable with being a public figure. According to the Daily Mail, Michael showed up perfectly at his daughter Catherine's wedding, displaying his support for her marriage to Prince William though he is not a fan of the limelight.

After the church ceremony, Michael delivered an articulate wedding speech and tackled the issue of equality between his family and the royals. "Today was everything I had hoped for, and I'm thrilled that equality ruled the day," he said in his speech. "I thank the Royal Family for welcoming us as easily as they have," he added, per Daily Mail. But moments later, Michael expressed his relief at his official role being over, telling a friend: "Thank goodness that's over, and I'll never have to do it again."

Michael Middleton and his wife have often been described as "reserved." The couple tries to avoid being in the tabloids as much as possible by living away from the city. The Middletons also limit their communication with the media, with Michael managing to avoid being interviewed for a long time. His wife, Carole, does talk to the press about her business, Party Pieces, but keeps silent about matters relating to her family as she is cautious of what is said about her family. "Over the years, it's proved wise not to say anything," Carole Middleton told Vogue.

Michael Middleton likes to be present in his grandchildren's lives

Princess Catherine's father, Michael Middleton, is a dotting grandfather. Michael and his wife, Carole, thoroughly enjoy spending time with all their grandchildren and have been photographed looking after George, Charlotte, and Louis on numerous occasions. Judi James, a body language expert, told the Daily Mail that Michael and his wife are "very hands-on" grandparents. James says the royal children "have grown up with their traditional 'grandma and granddad' presence."

Prince Willam has a lot of respect for Michael and Carole Middleton, expressing admiration for them by telling Marie Claire: "Some people are happy they haven't seen their in-laws for a year. I love my in-laws." The Prince and his wife, Princess Catherine, are also fans of the Middletons' parenting style and wish to emulate their ways, per OK!, so it's no surprise they decided to move to Berkshire, a location that is closer to Michael and Carole Middleton's home (via Town & Country). According to Express, Prince George already has similar interests to his grandad, Michael, and has inherited his love of aviation. Michael wanted to be a pilot and worked as a flight dispatcher with British Airways (via New Idea).

Michael Middleton retired at the age of 71 and prefers a peaceful life

In 2023, Carole Middleton announced that her husband, Michael, would retire, telling Good Housekeeping that he would "take a step back from the business [the family's supply company called Party Pieces]" (via Hello!). "He is in his early 70s now, and he can concentrate on other stuff. He is really supportive and quite excited to see what is going to happen," Carole said. Michael's retirement is no surprise as he is described as someone who likes "a peaceful life," per Daily Mail.

A family friend of the Middletons told Vanity Fair that Michael and Carole live in a quiet area in Berkshire where they are well-liked, and the village is "very protective" of their privacy. According to the source, Michael is a down-to-earth man and has influenced Princess Catherine to be the same. "Kate's feet are still on the ground, largely because of Michael. He doesn't get too swept up in the grandeur of her new life, and Kate loves him for that. She gets a lot of her characteristics from him," the friend told Vanity Fair. With so many accomplishments up his sleeve, it seems Michael Middleton is now ready to kick his feet up and take on a slower pace — enjoying more time with his grandchildren, no doubt.