Kate Middleton's First Job at Her Mom's Party Supply Business Has a Connection to Her Royal Work!

Carole Middleton shared that all three of her children had roles at Party Pieces, the family business that was inspired by Kate's fifth birthday

Catherine Middleton arriving with her mother Carole Middleton at the Goring Hotel on April 28, 2011 in London, England.
Kate and Carole Middleton. Photo: George Pimentel/WireImage

Before Kate Middleton was a working royal, she was helping out at her family business.

Carole Middleton recently spoke about Party Pieces, the party supply company she started as a young mom. Not only were Carole and Michael Middleton's three children, Kate, Pippa and James, the inspiration for the business (Carole started it after only being able to find clown plates when she celebrated Kate's fifth birthday), but the siblings also held positions in the company.

"Party Pieces has literally grown alongside my family, and I'm very proud of that," Carole told Sheer Luxe. "Pippa wrote our 'Party Times' blog, James did the cakes when he first left school and Catherine developed our first birthday and baby category."

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All three of those roles perfectly complemented the Middleton siblings — Pippa has gone on to write for Waitrose Kitchen and other outlets, while James started a custom marshmallow company in 2013 and a pet food company in 2020. Kate's role in developing party supplies for babies and young children also directly correlates to her current royal work — she launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to focus on the first five years of a child's life and how they impact their futures.

Pippa Middleton, James Middleton, Alizee Thevenet and Carole and Michael Middleton. Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty

Carole, 67, also reflected on starting the business and how her family has helped her along the way.

"My husband and I were young and a little inexperienced, but very enthusiastic, so we didn't worry too much," she recalled. "We took any early setbacks in our stride and had a lot of fun building the business together. When [my husband] Michael and I first started Party Pieces, we did everything ourselves. Taking orders, filling boxes and sometimes making the deliveries. The children were often there too after school. Partyware was a relatively new idea back then, so we worked hard to build our customer base and relied mostly on the odd letter or phone call for feedback."

She added, "My family have always been my biggest supporters and biggest critics. Their honest feedback has been invaluable in helping to shape the business. Party Pieces has evolved from just selling children's products in the early days to curating pieces for all kinds of celebrations, including milestone birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings and new babies."

Kate's mother also discussed juggling motherhood and the company, sharing that she worked during hours when the kids were at school, "while after-school clubs sometimes gave me the gift of an extra hour or two.

"But working for myself meant I had flexibility, so I could squeeze in sports matches and school productions," she said. "School holidays were tricky, but Mike and I were a good team and we managed to juggle home and work life. Having a supportive partner or family is so important."

Carole also shared that during off-work hours she likes to cook, be outdoors and play tennis — all hobbies that she shares with Kate!

To celebrate Carole's 67th birthday last month, Party Pieces shared a throwback photo that featured the company's founder with all of her children.

Carole smiles in the center of the black-and-white shot, surrounded by kids sporting party hats and playing with blowers. Upon further inspection, the young girl to the far right is none other than the future Duchess of Cambridge.

Meanwhile, Kate's two younger siblings — Pippa and James — pose on the other side of their mother.

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"Happiest of Birthdays to the party planner extraordinaire! We hope you have the most magical day," the post was captioned.

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