Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge comes from a branch of a Middleton family. The Duchess's parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, whose wealth derives from their party supplies business, have featured in the world media in the run up to their first daughter's wedding to Prince William of Wales and its aftermath. In addition, as a result of the world exposure of the wedding ceremony, their two other children, Pippa and James, especially Pippa, have often been discussed in the press.
Middleton is a habitational surname originating from numerous different places throughout England and Scotland. There are over 30 places similarly named which are derived from the Old English elements: midel + tūn ("middle" + "enclosure", "settlement"); although some other places have different origins and derived from other elements, such as: micel ("large", "great"), or *(ge)mȳthel ("confluence"). Early recorded instances of the surname are: de Mideltone in 1166, within the Eynsham Cartulary; de Midilton in 1221, within a charter to the Abbey of Arbroath; and de Midelton in 1327, within the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex.
Michael Middleton's family line came from Leeds: his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were all solicitors in that part of England. Michael's father Peter, was an Oxford educated pilot. His paternal relations, such as the Lupton family, were active in commercial and municipal work in Leeds for several generations. Ancestors of the Middleton family include The Rev. Thomas Davis, a Church of England hymn-writer.
William Addams Reitwiesner has discovered that via Michael Middleton, the family are distantly related to Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife Agnes Gascoine, an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, thus making Catherine and Prince William fifteenth cousins. This link, as well as another more distant ancestry via Sir William Gascoine and his wife, née Lady Margaret Percy, are both via Michael Middleton's grandmother, Olive Lupton, daughter of a Leeds cloth merchant Francis Lupton and his wife Harriet (née Davis), Fairfax being an ancestor of Lupton. Lady Margaret Percy in turn was a descendant of King Edward III.
The Goldsmith family of Carole Middleton came from London, although two generations before, the Harrisons were working-class labourers and miners from Sunderland and County Durham.
Carole and Michael MiddletonEditMichael Francis Middleton was born in Leeds in 1949, and was the son of a pilot instructor/aviator. His grandfather Noel Middleton was a solicitor. Michael Middleton was educated, like his father and grandfather at Clifton College. At Clifton, all three Middleton men boarded at Brown House. Carole Elizabeth Middleton (née Goldsmith) was born on 31 January 1955 at Perivale Maternity Hospital in Ealing. The daughter of a builder, Ronald Goldsmith (1931–2003), and his wife, Dorothy Harrison (1935–2006), she grew up in a council flat in Southall, and attended the local state school.
The couple met when they both worked for British Airways; Carole as a stewardess, Michael as an officer. In 1979, Michael Middleton was promoted within BA and became a flight dispatcher at London Heathrow Airport, where he kept track of the airline's fleet on the ground. The couple were married on 21 June 1980, at the parish church of St James in Dorney, Buckinghamshire. They bought a semi-detached Victorian house in Bradfield Southend near Reading, Berkshire.
The couple have three children. Their first child, Catherine Elizabeth was born in 1982 and their second Philippa Charlotte was born in 1983. In 1984, the family briefly moved to Amman, Jordan where Michael Middleton worked for two and a half years.
Their third child, James William was born in 1987. In 1987, when their two eldest children were at a pre-school at St Andrew's School, Pangbourne, Carole Middleton set up 'Party Pieces', a company which began by making party bags and which now sells party supplies and decorations by mail order. By 1995, the firm was being run by both parents and was moved into a range of farm buildings at Ashampstead Common. The family moved into a larger five-bedroomed house in Bucklebury, Berkshire. The business was successful, and over the space of a few years the Middletons are reported to have become very wealthy. As a result, the Middletons sent both of their daughters to the independent Downe House, a girls' boarding school in Cold Ash, and finally the public school Marlborough College, Wiltshire.
Shortly before his eldest daughter's royal marriage, Michael Middleton was granted a coat of arms. This features three acorn sprigs, one for each of his children. The oak represents "England and strength" as well as the family's home district of West Berkshire. The white chevronels symbolize peaks and mountains, said to represent the family's love of the Lake District and skiing, and the gold chevron represents Carole Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith.
Their first daughter, Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton, now known as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, was born on 9 January 1982. After finishing at Marlborough, she went to study at University of St Andrews. It was here, while living at St Salvator's Hall, that she met Prince William. After a long relationship, and a six month engagement, she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.
Their second daughter, Philippa Charlotte "Pippa" Middleton (born 6 September 1983), attended the same schools as her sister and then studied English literature at Edinburgh University. There she shared a house with Lord Edward Innes-Ker, a son of the Duke of Roxburghe, and with Earl Percy, heir of the Duke of Northumberland. Following graduation, in 2008 she took an events management / marketing job with Table Talk, a London-based events catering company. She also writes for The Party Times, an online magazine which is an off-shoot of her parents' company.
James William Middleton, their youngest child, was born on 15 April 1987. He was educated at St Andrew's School, Pangbourne and Marlborough College. He started a degree in Environmental Resources Management at the University of Edinburgh before leaving in 2006 after one year to start his own cake-making business, the Cake Kit Company. Both of Catherine's siblings played a prominent role in their sister's wedding; Pippa was the maid of honour and James read the lesson.
Television and film portrayalsEdit
William & Kate, a television movie about Catherine's romance, was released on 18 April 2011, with Catherine and William played by Camilla Luddington and Nico Evers-Swindell respectively. Other members of the Middleton family were played by: Christopher Cousins (Michael Middleton), Serena Scott Thomas (Carole Middleton), Mary Elise Hayden (Pippa Middleton), and Calvin Goldspink (James Middleton). A number of television programmes were also shown in the UK before the wedding which provided deeper insights into the couple's relationship and backgrounds, including When Kate Met William and Channel 4's Meet the Middletons.