Carole Middleton, mum to Kate Middleton, says she came up with the idea for her Party Pieces business when her oldest daughter was about to celebrate her fifth birthday and she was throwing her a birthday party
When the Duchess of Cambridge celebrates her landmark 40th birthday this weekend, there’s no doubt she’ll be surrounded by those closest to her.
These will include her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, who have been a constant support to their daughter.
And it turns out that a previous birthday of Kate’s – more than 30 years ago – was a very significant event for her mum.
That’s because in a previous interview, Carole once revealed how it was actually Kate’s fifth birthday in 1987 that inspired her to set up her successful party supplies business.
Carole has been running her firm Party Pieces for more than 30 years after setting up the company from her kitchen table and seeing it grow into a hugely profitable venture.
Her idea for the firm came after she realised she could make money from creating children’s party bags – and now Carole and Michael are self-made millionaires.
And it was that cash which allowed the couple to send their children to some of the country’s best schools, which helped Kate earn a place at university where she met Prince William.
In a rare interview, Carole has talked about her business and said she has no plans to slow down now she is 66.
And during the chat, she revealed that the lightbulb moment for creating her business came as she struggled to find any decent party supplies in the shops for Kate’s fifth birthday party.
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She told the Daily Mail: “All I could find were basic clown plates.
“I realised there was a gap in the market for partyware that wasn’t too expensive and which looked good, so decided to design my own. I took some prototypes to various High Street retailers and was turned away.”
However, despite being turned away from retailers, Carole knuckled down, set up her business and began handing out leaflets at her daughters’ school – and the firm took off.
She added: “Thirty-five years later, I’m launching the Party Pieces collection. I suppose some things are worth the wait! So rather than slowing down, this is an exciting new chapter for me. I think I’ll always be interested in party trends.”
Carole juggles running her business with being a grandmother to Kate’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, as well as other daughter Pippa’s two children Arthur and Grace.
And it could be that all of Kate’s family will be with her when she turns the big four zero on Sunday.
But despite the milestone, it’s thought to be unlikely that Kate’s birthday celebrations will be big – especially given the Covid-19 situation.
A source told the Mail on Sunday: “There are likely to be low-key celebrations for the Duchess. She didn’t want anything flashy anyway – that’s not exactly her thing – but particularly given the current climate anything is likely to be scaled down.”
It comes after royal author Duncan Larcombe told OK! : “Kate and William are not the sort to go away to celebrate on their own and leave the kids at home.
“I think the same will apply to Kate’s birthday as it does to Christmas – it will be low key and it will be focused entirely on the family.”