Wednesday 19 December 2018

Carole Middleton still turns to daughter Kate for business advice as she embarks on uncharacteristically candid interviews

Catherine Middleton (R) her mother Carole and sister Pippa arrives at The Goring Hotel after visiting Westminster Abbey on April 28, 2011 in London, England
Catherine Middleton (R) her mother Carole and sister Pippa arrives at The Goring Hotel after visiting Westminster Abbey on April 28, 2011 in London, England
The Duchess of Cambridge (left), and Carole Middelton (right) during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Michael and Carole Middleton arrive for the christening of Prince Louis Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Carole Middleton arrives on day two of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon
Carole and Michael Middleton arrive on day two of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon
Carol Middleton arrives at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 19, 2018. See PA story ROYAL Wedding. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
(L-R) Carole, James, Michael and Philippa Middleton depart the Goring Hotel in London on April 30, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Photo: Matt Holyoak/Camera Press
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (right), Prince George, Princess Charlotte followed by Carole, James and Michael Middleton arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, Berkshire.
The Duchess of Cambridge (right) arrives at with Carole Middleton (second left), James Middleton (third left), Michael Middleton (fourth left) and Pippa Middleton (fifth left) St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, to attend morning church service. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

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Carole Middleton still asks her daughter Kate for “advice” when it comes to the family's lucrative Party Pieces business.

The 63-year-old entrepreneur set up her business - which sells supplies for a range of different themed bashes - in 1987 and says her three children Catherine, 36, Pippa, 35, and James, 31, have all had input into the company.

And Carole says she still calls upon her brood for advice on the business every now and again, including her eldest daughter, Britain's Duchess of Cambridge.

“My children have all worked for the business. Catherine started the First Birthday brand – she chose the products and looked after all the imagery and the catalogue production," she told Good Housekeeping. "Pippa set up the blog, as we didn’t have one. James came up with the idea of personalised cakes and got them off the ground for us. Because they all grew up with me working, Party Pieces has been very much part of our lives and what we talked about. I still ask their advice and say ‘What do you think of this?’”

The Duchess of Cambridge (left), and Carole Middelton (right) during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
The Duchess of Cambridge (left), and Carole Middelton (right) during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

Carole set up the party supplies business when was expecting her youngest James because she didn’t want to head off into full time work and “miss out” on seeing her brood grow up.

Read more: Kate Middleton fled to Ireland with her mother after her break-up with Prince William - and we have the exclusive pictures

“In 1987, I had two young children and was pregnant with my son, James. We had come back to the UK from living abroad and I was a full-time mum. I didn’t want to miss out on my children growing up, so I considered starting my own business," she said.

“Party Pieces was as a result of my personal need for my own children’s parties. You had to hunt high and low to find suitable party supplies. I found suppliers and put up notices in my daughters’ playgroup that said ‘Planning a Party?’ and started getting orders. My memories of those early days are very vivid.”

But Carole didn’t always dream of being a businesswoman, as when she left school she had her heart set on becoming a teacher.

“When I left school, I wanted to be a teacher, but my parents couldn’t afford to send me to teacher training college, so instead I decided to get a job with the idea of raising money by myself. I got married quite young and had children, so when the time came to work again, it seemed a better idea to set up Party Pieces.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (right), Prince George, Princess Charlotte followed by Carole, James and Michael Middleton arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, Berkshire.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (right), Prince George, Princess Charlotte followed by Carole, James and Michael Middleton arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, Berkshire.

This marks the second major interview for Caroline in a number of days, after first appearing the Telegraph over the weekend in her first major interview in over 15 years. The reason behind the PR push is still unclear, but Carole has kept the focus on each feature on her business rather than her famous children.

However, she did reveal that each of her grandchildren will get their own Christmas tree at the Middleton mansion in Bucklebury.

In an uncharacteristically candid chat, she reflected on her balance between business and family, saying:  “I’m definitely hands-on. I don’t find it complicated. My biggest fear was that I’d lose my family, but we’ve stayed close. There are times when they say, ‘Can you do this, or that?’ And I can’t quite. But they like the fact that I work. I have two lovely sons-in-law and I hope I’ll have a lovely daughter-in-law.”

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