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According to a new book, Carole Middleton was worried about the absence of a ring on Kate’s finger and she took Prince William aside to press him on his marriage plans.
The meeting took place when Prince William visited the Middleton family just before Christmas 2009.
In the book – Kate: The Future Queen by Katie Nicholl – a family friend tells how Carole Middleton expressed her fears to Prince William. But he assured her that not only would there be an engagement and subsequent marriage, the couple hoped to have children – and he promised Kate Middleton’s mother that she would be fully involved in their upbringing.
Prince William stayed true to his word. The couple were engaged the following November and since their son, Prince George, was born on July 22, Carole Middleton has become the most famous grandmother in Britain.
Carole Middleton and her husband, Michael, were the first family members to visit the new baby after his birth – ahead of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall – while Kate and William have even set aside a “granny flat” for the Middletons at their lavish Kensington Palace apartment.
Another of the Middletons’ friends, former neighbor George Brown, says: “It was a condition when Kate and William got married that Carole and Michael would be a part of the grandchildren’s lives.”
Kate Middleton paid tribute to “Granny” Carole last week during her first public appearance since the birth.
Carole Middleton looked after Prince George when Kate Middleton and Prince William attended the start of a marathon on Anglesey on Friday. Kate Middleton’s presence at the event was a surprise – it was only revealed that morning that she would attend.
It is thought it could be one of the couple’s last engagements on Anglesey before they leave their home on the Welsh island next month to settle into a new life in London.
Kate The Future Queen by Katie Nicholl reveals how Carole Middleton had a secret meeting with Prince William over marriage to Kate
The new book also untangles the tale of how Kate Middleton came to choose St Andrews for her university – starting at the same time as Prince William and on the same course.
It has previously been put down to mere coincidence, but it seems Kate Middleton deliberately plotted to be there at the same time as the prince.
Jasper Selwyn, a careers adviser at Kate Middleton’s former school, Marlborough College, and Joan Gall, her house tutor, confirm in the book that her first choice was not St Andrews at all, but Edinburgh.
Despite achieving the required grades for Edinburgh, one of the country’s top universities, Kate Middleton changed her mind after Prince William’s own choice of university was made public.
In a bold move, Kate Middleton turned down the place she had been offered at Edinburgh, decided to take a gap year, just as Prince William was doing, and reapply for St Andrews – a risky strategy as there was no guarantee that she would get a place. Since then, of course, their relationship has flourished.
In another fascinating insight into the Royal romance, the book reveals that although Kate Middleton has taken on a higher public profile since her marriage, she in fact began doing secret charity work six years ago.
In 2007 the Queen quietly suggested to Prince William that Kate Middleton get involved with a charity, and they both considered it an excellent idea.
The Middletons’ family firm, Party Pieces, already had a connection with Starlight, a children’s charity which grants terminally ill children an once-in-a-lifetime wish.
Kate Middleton arranged to meet the charity’s chief executive officer Neil Swan to see how she could help more.
Neil Swan said: “Kate was working with Party Pieces at the time and she came up with a clever idea for a party bag that doubled up as a coloring-in gift.
“She also designed some Starlight-themed crayons and other bits and pieces to go in the bags. To us, she was just Kate, and we would go and have meetings with her at Party Pieces, and sometimes she would come to us.
“She came up with lots of creative ideas for parties that we were arranging for sick children, and she did a lot of work below the radar.”
It is also revealed that Kate Middleton made numerous secret visits to the Naomi House children’s hospice in Hampshire.
Carole and Michael Middleton are the first visitors to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the birth of their son.
Kate Middleton and Prince William earlier thanked hospital staff for their “tremendous” care.
It is understood the family will leave hospital on Tuesday evening or on Wednesday morning.
Gun salutes in Green Park and the Tower of London and the ringing of bells at Westminster Abbey have marked the birth of the third in line to the throne.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun salute in Green Park at 14:00 BST, after riding past Buckingham Palace.
At the same time, the Honourable Artillery Company – the City of London’s army reserve regiment – fired a 62-gun salute from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London.
Carole and Michael Middleton are the first visitors to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the birth of their son
Meanwhile, the church bells of Westminster Abbey, where William and Catherine were married in April 2011, began ringing out – a celebration set to last for three hours.
Carole and Michael Middleton arrived at private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, west London, by taxi shortly after 15:00 BST.
They were greeted by its lead clinician, Jonathan Ramsay, and paused briefly on the steps for the mass of photographers gathered outside before going inside.
Prince William was at the hospital for the birth at 16:24 BST on Monday, and stayed with his wife and son overnight.
Kensington Palace said in a statement: “Mother, son and father are all doing well.”
The couple said: “We would like to thank the staff at the Lindo Wing and the whole hospital for the tremendous care the three of us have received.
“We know it has been a very busy period for the hospital and we would like to thank everyone – staff, patients and visitors – for their understanding during this time.”
Prince William had earlier said the couple “could not be happier” following the birth of the 8lb 6oz boy.
There has been no word yet on what Kate Middleton and Prince William plan to name the royal baby.
Six-month pregnant Kate Middleton and her mother were spotted in upmarket South Kensington together, browsing some of the London’s most exclusive baby stores after enjoying a spot of lunch together at the Zefi Mediterranean restaurant where they were seen by fellow diners sipping healthy fruit juices.
First on their list was Blue Almonds, which boasts that it creates “magical rooms for children” – perfect for the third in line to the throne.
Dressed in identical dark blue skinny jeans and knee-high black boots, Kate and Carole Middleton spent up to an hour browsing the Moses baskets on sale.
Priced up to £295 ($450) for an off the shelf model, they are certainly out of reach price-wise for many new mothers-to-be.
Some bespoke versions at the store can cost up to £1,000 ($1,600) and be customized with frilled fitted sheets and sun shades.
Six-month pregnant Kate Middleton and her mother were spotted in upmarket South Kensington together, browsing some of the London’s most exclusive baby stores
Kate Middleton, 31, who was wearing a loose blue maternity top with a pretty white lace collar, and her mother finally settled on a large white wicker version and walked out into the street together, clearly discussing their purchase.
They were then whisked off by a waiting car driven by one of Kate Middleton’s bodyguards, presumably back to Kensington Palace where Kate is overseeing the renovation of her new apartment.
According to recent reports, work on Apartment 1A, once the home of the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, will not be finished until at least September or October this year, well after the birth of the Duchess of Cambridge’s baby.
Kate Middleton and Prince William are currently living in a small two-up, two-down cottage in the grounds, which is less than ideal to bring a royal heir home to.
As a result, say sources, Kate Middleton has decided to eschew the help of a maternity nurse and spend the first six weeks after her child’s birth living with her parents at their new $7.5 million Georgian mansion in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
The duchess has told friends that she cannot think of anyone better suited to helping her in those first difficult few weeks than her mother, who has brought up three children of her own.
“It’s where I feel safest,” Kate Middleton has said.
Carole Middelton is said to be nervous but thrilled at the prospect of becoming a grandmother for the first time – to a future king or queen at that.
Although Izabela Minkiewicz, the owner of Blue Almonds, has declined to comment on Kate Middleton’s purchases, she confirmed that she was “honored” to have received a visit from the duchess.
“We spend a great deal of time making sure that we get to know the client, their particular taste and demands,” Izabela Minkiewicz said.
The following day Kate Middleton was seen back out shopping for baby goods again at the Peter Jones department store in Chelsea, where she spent several hours mulling over buggies and a car seat.
Kate Middleton has revealed that her baby is due in mid-July and that she will be going on maternity leave around a month earlier but insists, contrary to speculation, that she and Prince William have chosen not to discover the sex of their first child.
Rather than sharing a designer bag named after Pippa herself, Carole Middleton and her daughter Pippa both have their own version of Modalu handbag.
And either they aren’t ashamed to commit the fashion faux pas of looking identical – or didn’t liaise on how the other was accessorizing before leaving the house – as they both stepped out together carrying their Modalu bags today.
Carole and Pippa Middleton carried black versions of the “Pippa Grab” with gold detailing as they visited the National Portrait Gallery to see the unveiling of the official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The only difference was that Pippa Middleton’s bag had a mock crocodile skin effect. The bag is available to buy in various colors at a cost of £195 ($310) from Modalu’s website and retailers including John Lewis. A smaller version is also available for £169 ($270).
Rather than sharing a designer bag named after Pippa herself, Carole Middleton and her daughter Pippa both have their own version of Modalu handbag
Pippa Middleton, 29, was first seen carrying a grey style of the bag by the then little-known designers Modalu the day after the Royal Wedding. The brand were keen to capitalize on the new-found fame of Kate Middleton’ sibling, who was propelled into the spotlight thanks to her tightly-fitted bridesmaid gown, and re-issued the bag as the “Pippa”.
Today, Pippa Middleton teamed the bag with her outfit choice of a purple wrap coat and black Russell and Bromley boots. Meanwhile, Carole Middleton, 57, wore a black skirt and top under a blue jacket and kept out the chill with a black scarf.
It appears the arrival of their first grandchild has been seen by Kate Middleton’s parents as a marvellous business opportunity.
They are promoting a range of baby goods on the Party Pieces website – with paper plates decorated with a blue or pink crown and the words “A New Little Prince” and “A New Little Princess”.
The Middletons are self-made New Money, and that is something to be admired. The skilful promotion of Party Pieces, which Carole Middleton founded 25 years ago, making up children’s party bags on her kitchen table, has catapulted them from humble beginnings in a modest semi-detached house, and from their meager salaried existence – she as a British Airways hostess, he as a BA dispatcher – to multi-millionaire dom.
When their eldest daughter began going out with Prince William, the Middletons had to brave social wisecracks about their former jobs. Yet they have nothing to be ashamed of: they represent the sort of aspirational and hard-working enterprise that Britain desperately needs more of.
But the marriage of their daughter into the Royal Family – and her future as the Queen consort of Britain, a delicately sensitive constitutional role – calls for discretion and careful judgment on their part.
Exploiting the impending birth of Kate Middleton’s baby, who will one day occupy the throne, in order to sell paper plates at £1.69 ($2.6) for a packet of eight, is not showing discretion or good judgment.
Miniature castles, “Prince” and “Princess” banners are among the other royal baby-themed products. A message on the firm’s website proclaims: “It’s a great occasion to celebrate before the new arrival, inviting family and friends along.” Such a celebration allows “other mothers to share their wisdom and own knowledge of becoming a mother”.
It’s hard to believe it did not occur to the Middletons that this would be seen as a cynical attempt to cash in on their daughter’s pregnancy.
It is not as if they need the money. Conservative estimates by City analysts put the value of Party Pieces at £40 million ($60 million). They own a £4.7 million ($7.2 million) seven-bedroom Georgian house in Berkshire, set in 18 acres of landscaped grounds, and a £1.6 million ($2.5 million) Chelsea flat.
The arrival of their first grandchild has been seen by Kate Middleton’s parents as a marvelous business opportunity as they are promoting a range of baby goods
Since Kate Middleton’s elevation to the ranks of royalty, the sales of products marketed by their company have escalated hugely. A lucrative licensing deal with the multi-millionaire teen idol Justin Bieber to sell a range of merchandise opened the door to vast worldwide income.
And the party plates are not the first instance of the Middletons facing accusations of cashing in on their royal connections.
Before the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, courtiers became uneasy when Party Pieces launched a “Britannia” range, including royal trivia scratch cards.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee offered further possibilities. The company marketed Jubilee plates, bunting and balloons.
One set of plates bore a silver unicorn, like that on the royal coat of arms, and the date, 1952, the year of the Queen’s accession.
Other plates featured a Queen-style figure wearing a crown and the words: “Hope and Glory Tea and Scones”. Among other items were state carriage-shaped cardboard teapot vases, cups with coats of arms and the words “Long Live G&T” and canapé flags featuring crown-wearing corgies.
Concern was also generated by the business activities of Kate Middleton’s 25-year-old brother, Edinburgh University drop-out James Middleton, whose company specializes in selling adult-themed cakes with personalized bawdy messages that are unlikely to find their way on to the tea table at Buckingham Palace.
These have included “Boob-licious jiggly jugs” and “A willy that wriggles and gives me the giggles”. A Sexy Hubby cake displays a cartoon man with an arrow pointing to his private parts and the caption: “Weapon of mass seduction.”
Eyebrows rose still further when James Middleton was photographed baring his buttocks, and cross-dressing in the outfit of a French maid, one of the tackier items on the Party Pieces website, available in their Adult Occasions section at £14.99 ($23).
The company is even marketing, at £27.99 ($43), an inflatable sumo outfit, the same one that Kate’s sister, Pippa Middleton, recently revealed their father Michael once wore to enliven the family’s Christmas festivities in Berkshire.
The thrusting business enterprise of the Middletons has several times landed them in trouble. Last year they were obliged to amend their website over Games-themed goods after falling foul of strict advertising laws covering the London Olympics.
They were also accused by Britain’s Got Talent of illegally using its logo, and two months ago were forced by the Broccoli family to remove from their website the James Bond Skyfall logo, which they were using without permission to advertise 007-themed goods under the heading “James Bond Secret Agent Party”.
But for many, it will be their apparent attempt to exploit their daughter’s pregnancy that will seem a step beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior. Turning the birth of their first royal grandchild into a part of their business empire is the sort of mercenary and undignified behavior they should have scrupulously avoided. It exposes them to criticism and, by extension, reflects badly on Kate Middleton.
Have they not learned from the spectacle of the Duchess of York trying to earn money in order to stay out of debt and involving herself in projects that were often tasteless?
The question is whether the Middletons, who have dined privately with the Queen at Windsor and accompanied her to Royal Ascot, can continue to walk the tightrope of combining a quasi-royal status with their booming empire or are destined to become a liability and embarrassment to their daughter and son-in-law.
Dismissing criticism of their activities in the past, Carole Middleton said: “At the end of the day we are running a business, not a charity. We don’t want to do anything that will embarrass Catherine but I feel as if we are caught between a rock and a hard place.”