19 Things To Know About Princess Catherine's Mom

Carole Middleton, mother of Catherine, Princess of Wales, has become quite a popular public figure since her daughter married Prince William. Catherine has undergone a stunning transformation from her days as a young and in love college student. She has since become a senior member of the royal family, getting ready for her future role as the queen. However, Catherine wasn't born into this role; instead, she joined the royal family only when she married Prince William in 2011, subsequently thrusting herself and her "commoner" family into the spotlight. One can only imagine what this must feel like for her mother, Carole, who likely never expected her daughter to one day marry literal royalty.


After a decade of being royal family-adjacent, Carole is probably used to her unofficial role now, even though it comes with a level of scrutiny that could lead people to be unhappy with her. Still, despite her family's rise in prominence, it seems as if Carole has remained true to the humble values with which she was raised. There are plenty of things you likely don't know about Catherine, and her mother's background is one of them.

Carole Middleton took a glamorous job after leaving school

Carole Middleton had a vastly different childhood than the lavish lives of her grandchildren. According to The Telegraph, she grew up in a council house (a home built by the government for the working class) and worked weekends as a teenager. Sean Smith's biography of Catherine, Princess of Wales, reveals Carole wanted more for herself than her hometown could offer.


After leaving school, Carole went to work at BOAC, an airline that would later be swallowed up by British Airways, as an air hostess, according to Smith's "Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton." During the so-called "Golden Age" of flying, Carole's job was a highly coveted opportunity. One former BOAC air hostess told The Telegraph, "It really was the most glamorous job in the world, like being a supermodel, or an actress today." 

However, Carole's job wasn't just a trendy way to leave her humble upbringing behind her. According to Sean Smith's 2011 biography, Carole's place of work turned out to be the very place she met her future husband, Michael Middleton.

She couldn't wait to settle down in the country

Though Carole Middleton wanted to get away from her small town, she still couldn't wait to settle down in the country when it came time to start a family. According to Sean Smith's "Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton," Carole and Michael Middleton's first home together was a conveniently-located flat in an industrial area near Heathrow airport. However, this was not the place the young couple wanted to put down roots.


As Carole's brother Gary told the Daily Mail, "I'm the city yuppie and she's the country girl." As it turns out, Carole stayed true to this characterization when selecting her home. According to Catherine's 2011 biography, Michael and Carole Middleton selected a home in a small village that had everything a young family could need.

Though Carole and Michael moved their family to Jordan for a few years, they quickly moved back and settled into village life, with Carole reportedly having no desire to return to her once-trendy job as an air hostess.

A universal struggle gave Carole Middleton a brilliant business idea

The time Carole Middleton spent living in a countryside village eventually gave her the inspiration to quite literally change her family's life. In 1987, Carole founded a party supply company out of her garden shed, eventually deciding to call it Party Pieces. However, her party supply venture wasn't able to be contained in her garden shed for very long.


Sean Smith's "Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton" reveals further details of the company's founding. According to Smith, Carole said, "I was looking for party stuff for my own children's parties. It was impossible to find anything easily in the shops and trying to find value for money party bag presents was a complete nightmare." Of course, it's not difficult to see how the idea for Party Pieces came together.

According to Smith's biography, Party Pieces became so successful that it quickly became Carole's full-time job. And unsurprisingly, that success only continued to grow when Party Pieces started conducting business on the world wide web. Take that, 'Shark Tank'!

She was determined to give her kids more than she had

Princess Catherine's mother comes from humble beginnings, according to The Telegraph. As Carole Middleton herself has revealed, her family lacked the money to send her to college. In fact, she decided to leave school at 16 to start working (though, she did return to finish later).


This experience was not remotely close to what Carole's children — Catherine, Pippa, and James — would have. According to Sean Smith's "Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton," Carole and Michael Middleton sent Catherine to Pangbourne's St. Andrew's School at £4,000 per term — which is no small sum, even today. Per Catherine's biographer, St. Andrew's is a school for children from well-to-do families that want their kids to become respectable young adults.

Of St. Andrew's, a former classmate of Catherine's told biographer Sean Smith, "There were a lot of moneyed people who went to the school. There were also a lot of aspiring middle-class families who wanted to turn their children into 'gentlemen.'" Of course, considering her experience as a child, one can understand why Carole wanted to give her children the best education available.


Carole Middleton focused on her business while still being a good mom

Though Carole Middleton has clearly been a good, devoted mother, she's also made a reputation for herself as a reputable businesswomen. 

As noted by her November 2018 profile in The Telegraph, Party Pieces was just getting off the ground when Carole had her third child, which meant she suddenly had to balance managing Party Pieces while raising three young children. However, Carole learned to draw on her resources as a mom to help her business. 


According to The Telegraph, Carole put up fliers at Princess Catherine's daycare and got help promoting her party supply business from other local moms. Fortunately, as Carole told The Telegraph, balancing her business and family life wasn't all that difficult, considering she had the ability to create her own schedule. "It was my business, so I could work around the holidays," Carole explained, revealing that she made a point to be home with her three children every evening. 

Her business was so successful that her husband quit his job

The Princess of Wales' mother, Carole Middleton, started Party Pieces long before people could come up with a small business idea one day and begin selling products on Etsy the next. According to The Telegraph, Carole started the business by making party favors in her kitchen. The business didn't really become successful until she began purchasing ads in a children's magazine.


According to Sean Smith's "Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton," Party Pieces became so successful that Michael Middleton left his job to support his wife's business full-time. Once the couple took the business online in 1992, they really started to see the returns and soon moved their family into a million-dollar home. 

Per The Telegraph, the figures of Party Pieces are not public information. However, Marie Claire notes that Carole and Michael have an estimated net worth of $30-$50 million — a fortune built almost entirely off of Carole's idea for a business that would help parents throw their kids' birthday parties (via PartyPieces.co.uk).

Her kids were all involved in the family business

Carole Middleton raised her kids to follow in her business-savvy footsteps.

Speaking with The Telegraph in November 2018, Carole revealed, "I never really felt I was a working mother although I was  — and the children didn't [feel like that] either." She continued, saying, "They grew up with it." However, it seems they were also a part of it. According to The Telegraph, each of Carole's children participated in the business in some way. Catherine, Pippa, and James all modeled for the party supply company; and, as adults, they each contributed in more substantial ways. As Carole told The Telegraph, "[Catherine] did some styling and set up the First Birthday side of the business. Pippa did the blog." The mother of three continued, saying, "I still value their ideas and opinions."


While Sean Smith's "Kate: A Biography of Kate Middleton" alleged that Catherine's role at the company may not have been very substantial, The Huff Post reported that the Princess of Wales stepped down from her position as a photographer and website designer at Party Pieces shortly before starting her lavish life with Prince William.

Family is everything to Carole Middleton

Carole Middleton is a family gal, through and through.

In May 2020, Carole's son James Middleton shared a video of himself on social media that gave a peak into his life while quarantining his fiancée and parents at their home (via Hello! Magazine). In the video, James' fiancée can be seen hanging out with Carole and Michael Middleton in the backyard.


Spending time with family has always been important to Carole, who told The Telegraph, "I'd like to find space to do more stuff I love, but my family are paramount." She continued, saying, "They come first and that will always be the case, even when I have more me time." Though Carole is also admittedly very busy with Party Pieces, she also revealed to The Telegraph that she was afraid of losing her family as her children began their own lives. However, her son's post on social media proves they've stayed close.

Carole's maiden name is referenced in the Middleton family coat of arms

Carole Middleton and the rest of the Middleton family revealed their colorful coat of arms in April 2011. As noted by The Guardian, the coat of arms was developed shortly before Princess Catherine's marriage to Prince William, and features acorns and gold and white chevrons. It's certainly an elegant-looking image to represent the family — and it even features a subtle, special nod to Carole.


Per The Guardian, the gold chevron featured on the coat of arms is a reference to Carole's family name: Goldsmith. The emblem's designer told The Guardian, "The purpose is to provide a traditional heraldic identity for Catherine as she marries into the royal family." Added the designer, "The intent was to represent the whole Middleton family together, [as well as] their home, and aspects of what they enjoy."

William and Catherine's joint coat of arms combines the Middleton family sigil with the one William received from Queen Elizabeth II when he turned 18 (via The Guardian).

Carole Middleton supports her daughter's work

Carole Middleton was thrust into the spotlight when her eldest daughter married into the royal family. Of course, Carole doesn't have an official title, even though she is the mother of the future queen, as well as the grandmother of the future king. However, Carole still offers loads of support for Catherine, Princess of Wales, whenever she can.


On a professional level, this means Party Pieces publicly supported Catherine's Early Years initiative — unveiled in February 2020 — by encouraging people to participate in the program's "5 Big Questions on the Under Fives" survey (via Hello! magazine). 

On a personal level, Carole revealed to The Telegraph that she was involved in the planning of Catherine's wedding to Prince William. However, according to Carole, her primary role in helping Catherine plan her wedding was offering a listening ear. "I think the most important thing, as a parent, is to listen to what your daughter wants," Carole revealed. She continued, saying, "You can have all the ideas in the world, but it has to be about them. And don't muscle in on the guest list."


Catherine, Princess of Wales, is the spitting image of her mom

Carole Middleton and Catherine, Princess of Wales, could totally be twins, as revealed by some old throwback photos.

In a March 2020 Instagram post for Mother's Day, Prince William and Catherine shared a collection of photos on Instagram. One of the included photos was a snap of Carole Middleton holding her eldest daughter as a baby. As many fans soon noticed, it's nearly impossible not to notice the resemblance between the young Carole and the future Queen of England, as both share voluminous, chestnut brown hair, a similar face shape, and those signature dimples. In other images of the mother-daughter pair, it's evident that Catherine's thousand-watt smile also comes from her mother.


The pair's uncanny resemblance is a stark contrast to Catherine's resemblance to her own children. A royal source told People that Catherine often jokes about how Prince Louis looks so much like her, saying he's "the only one of her kids who actually looks like her!" As fans of the royal family are well aware, Catherine's other two children with Prince William resemble their father far more than they do their mother.

Carole Middleton has a very particular sense of style

Carole Middleton has made a splash with her style, much like her eldest daughter, Catherine, Princess of Wales.

Members of the royal family — particularly the women — are no strangers to having their fashion choices incessantly scrutinized by the media (just ask Meghan Markle). Apparently, royal outfits mean more than you might realize. Speaking with The Telegraph about the ensemble she wore to Catherine's wedding, Carole Middleton revealed that looking her best was definitely a priority. "Like every mother, I wanted to look my best, make my children proud, and enjoy the day," Carole told the publication. However, she also revealed that she often has trouble shopping, saying, "I'm bigger 'round my top half than I [once] was, so that's why I prefer dresses to trousers and I don't like anything tight." Added Carole, "One of the reasons I don't like shopping for clothes is that there aren't enough for women my age. I know what I want, but I can't find it." 


Despite having issues finding clothes to her taste (an experience most women can relate to), Carole has rarely disappointed with her fashion.

She tries to live a relatively normal life

Carole Middleton has tried to live a relatively normal lifestyle despite being the mother of the Princess of Wales. Speaking with The Telegraph about the attention she and her family often receive, Carole revealed her life is still "really normal — most of the time."


According to Carole, she thrives in normalcy. The mother of three told The Telegraph, "If I come across as normal, that would be great, because that's what I am." Of course, it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to see that Carole's desire to be normal likely comes from her humble upbringing and years of working hard. After all, Carole's younger years were much more conventional than the lavish lifestyles members of the royal family enjoy.

When she's not looking fabulous while attending royal weddings, Carole's life does actually seem pretty normal. The businesswoman told The Telegraph, "As a family, we try to have as many meals together as possible because that's when you talk and have fun." Between spending time with family and working, Carole's life isn't all that different than the average person's day-to-day life.


She has no plans to stop working

Carole Middleton has amassed a net worth of $30 to $50 million, along with her husband, Michael Middleton (via Marie Claire). And it appears Carole has no plans to stop working and hand over her business, Party Pieces, to someone else.


As Carole told The Telegraph, "I don't see myself stopping [work]." She continued, telling the publication, "If I did I'd have to have so many projects on. I'd have to redecorate the house." She continued, saying, "I'd love to travel, but then I'd miss the grandchildren. No, I've got a billion ideas I still want to do."

Carole's ambition to put off retirement for as long as possible is understandable. After all, per the Party Pieces website, she built her company from the ground up and has kept it successfully operating for more than 30 years. Throughout her life, Carole has clearly mastered how to balance running a successful business and spending quality time with family. If she can have it all, why should she stop now?


Carole and Michael Middleton had to move after their oldest daughter became a royal

When Catherine, Princess of Wales, was 13 years old, Carole and Michael Middleton moved the family to a property called Oak Acre in the village of Bucklebury village, according to Hello! magazine. The home, worth over $1.6 million, was deemed unsuitable by the Middletons, however, after Catherine married Prince William in 2011. The reason? Oak Acre didn't offer enough privacy. As Hello! noted, the public was able to see much of the comings and goings on the property, and since Catherine and William were such sought-after figures, Carole and Michael decided that it was time to move.


One year after their daughter's royal wedding, Carole and Michael bought Bucklebury Manor, a much more secluded property worth over $5.1 million. While the price point is high, the manor boasts seven bedrooms and sits on 18 acres (via Hello! magazine). The move was a shrewd one because Catherine and William moved to Adelaide Cottage in August 2022, ABC News writes, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, shortly before Queen Elizabeth II died. Bucklebury Manor is an easy drive to Adelaide Cottage.

When Pippa Middleton married her husband, James Matthews, they held their wedding reception at Bucklebury Manor, according to Vogue. A glass greenhouse was erected to host the party. Clearly, the new digs are well enjoyed by the Middleton children. Unfortunately, though, William, Catherine, and their children are expected to move farther away from the Middletons once again — this time to Windsor Castle (via The Telegraph).


Carole Middleton and Princess Catherine borrow each other's clothes

Carole Middleton isn't shy to snag some looks tried and tested by her daughter Catherine, the Princess of Wales. Catherine famously wore a bubblegum pink ME+EM dress when she met 5-year-old Mila Sneddon, according to Vanity Fair. Sneddon, who'd been diagnosed with leukemia, met Catherine through the princess' "Hold Still" photography initiative, and Catherine promised to wear pink when she met Sneddon in person in 2021. Sure enough, the ME+EM dress was the fairytale choice for such a special meeting.


Since the dress has such emotional appeal, it was extra exciting when fans saw Carole Middleton wear the same pink dress to the Royal Ascot in June 2022, Vanity Fair notes. The week of horse racing holds major clout amongst the British aristocracy, and the Royal Ascot was a favorite of the late Queen Elizabeth II. 

Adorably, Carole and Catherine have swapped outfits before. In 2009, Catherine wore a white and blue fascinator, only to have Carole wear it a year later at the Royal Ascot, Page Six reported. (This seems to be her favorite venue to wear her daughter's clothes!) However, the borrowing goes both ways. Catherine borrowed her mother's blue Reiss dress back in 2012. Great taste runs in the family.


Carole Middleton and her husband grieved Queen Elizabeth II

When Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, the whole country went into mourning. Carole and Michael Middleton were featured prominently at the royal funeral. They joined approximately 2,000 guests on September 19, 2022, at Westminster Abbey, and sat behind Tom Parker-Bowles and Laura Lopes, children of Camilla, Queen Consort, according to the Daily Mail. Following this, they attended the queen's committal service at Windsor Castle, held in St. George's Chapel. The service was steeped in royal ritual, including the critical moment when the Lord Chamberlain snapped his Wand of Office and put it on her coffin. It ended with a nod to succession, with the song "God Save The King" to honor the new King Charles III.


In a much less traditional moment, Carole paid tribute to the queen on Instagram, with a post on her company Party Pieces' feed. "We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen," the tribute reads. "For over 70 years she dedicated her life to service for the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to The Royal Family at this time of great sadness." The post was flooded with sympathy and well wishes from all over the world. As the Daily Mail reported, Carole and Michael were very present during the weeks following the queen's death in support of their daughter, the Princess of Wales, and their three grandchildren.

Her daughter-in-law wore her wedding dress

Carole Middleton lent her wedding dress to daughter-in-law Alizée Thevenet for her wedding to James Middleton, Hello! magazine reported. James and Alizée married in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the French Riviera, after having to postpone several times due to the pandemic. Alizée actually got the idea because of the lockdown — she and James were living with Carole and Michael Middleton in their home, Bucklebury Manor and, with such close contact, Alizée and Carole got to discussing wedding dresses. "My something borrowed was in fact my dress from my mother-in-law Carole who last wore it 41 years ago on her wedding day in June, 1980," she said. "While talking about dresses with Carole and sharing ideas during lockdown for inspiration, I tried on her wedding dress and fell in love with it."


Catherine, Princess of Wales, and William, Prince of Wales, attended the wedding along with their children, according to People, but they kept the focus on James and Alizée. The mayor of Bormes-les-Mimosas, François Arizzi, told Var Matin that he spoke with Catherine and William. "I was able to interact with [William and Catherine] in very poor English," Arizzi said (via People). "We talked about the charms of Bormes-les-Mimosas and its climate, banalities. ... It was a simple moment, and I wasn't more impressive than that!" He added that William was casually dressed in a beige suit and that Catherine wore a long, green dress.

She's all about holiday activities with her grandkids

While Carole Middleton may wear many hats (or fascinators), it seems that her favorite role of all is being a grandma. When it comes to holiday festivities, she's all about celebrating, which makes sense considering she's built an entire business, Party Pieces, around party accessories. It's festivity all the way for this gal! On her company's Instagram page, Carole is quoted as saying, "Halloween is an Autumn highlight for me. I can still remember the fun and frights from my own childhood; the chance to dress up, decorate pumpkins and go trick-or-treating! I've even grown my own pumpkins this year, so I'm looking forward to decorating those with my loved ones."


Carole doesn't just love Halloween though. She is also all about Christmas and makes sure that her grandchildren, including Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, have a festive experience. On a 2021 Party Pieces Instagram post, Carole said, "Once again this year we plan to have two Christmas trees: one for the children to decorate and one which I do myself." Unfortunately, Princess Catherine, Prince William, and their children don't always get to spend Christmas with the Middletons. As Express pointed out, they tend to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with the royal family, though Carole must certainly get lots of grandkid-time in and around the holiday season.