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Was Kate Middleton rich before marriage? Family life before she became princess

Britain Princess of Wales (2011 AP)
Britain Princess of Wales (2011 AP)

The Princess of Wales has been at the centre of public frenzy in recent weeks with her ongoing absence from royal engagements sparking a firestorm of online speculation and wild conspiracies theories.

Even a harmless trip to the local greengrocers in Windsor became cause for online sleuths to debate and dissect the latest wrinkle in an increasingly bizarre royal watchers’ saga.

Amid the furore, a survey released this week named the Princess of Wales as the UK's favourite royal.

The poll - which was carried out before the publication of the controversial edited Mother's Day photo - found 38 per cent of Britons like Kate Middleton the most.

Which begs the question, who is Kate really, and what was life like before she married into the royal family?

Far from humble beginnings, the public has long speculated on Kate’s life before dating Prince William. The privately educated daughter of wealthy parents is a proud alumni of St Andrews University, where she famously met her future husband. But her story started long before those hallowed halls.

Here The Independent shines a light on the life of Kate Middleton – before the titles, trappings and turmoil.

Michael and Carole Middleton founded Party Pieces (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)
Michael and Carole Middleton founded Party Pieces (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

Kate Middleton, 42, was born to Carole and Michael Middleton on January 9 1982 in Reading, England when, and later had two younger siblings Pippa, 40 and James, 36.

Michael Middleton, 72, has always enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, born in Leeds to a wealthy family with links to aristocracy, he attended the elite Clifton College in Bristol.

Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, 69, formerly Carole Goldsmith, was from a considerably more modest start. Born and raised in a council flat in Southall, London, she was the daughter of a sales assistant and a builder-decorator. Her grandfather was a miner from the northeast.

Carole went on to work for British Airway’s cabin crew which is where she met Michael, a commercial pilot. The pair married in 1980 at the Church of St James in Dorney, Buckinghamshire.

The family’s wealth has long been a point of contention, with Carole Middleton’s brother and Kate’s uncle, Gary Goldsmith, 59, recently hitting out at claims his niece was “common” whilst appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.

Kate Middleton’s uncle Gary Goldsmith describes first time he met Prince William. (GB News/ITV)
Kate Middleton’s uncle Gary Goldsmith describes first time he met Prince William. (GB News/ITV)

He addressed the family’s fortune on Wednesday 6 March, revealing he and his sister Carole were both multi-millionaires before they were 30.

The uncle said: “We’re humble stock - dad was a painter and decorator, mum was an accounts clerk so they worked hard.”

He continued to say he felt “narky” when people said Kate was common, and said there was nothing common about their family.

Carole and Michael Middleton

Five years after welcoming Kate into the world, Michael and Carole launched their own business ‘Party Pieces’ as Carole realised she could profit by making party bags.

It is believed the family’s entire fortune derives from the success of Party Pieces and allowed the Middletons to put their three children through the prestigious Marlborough College and acquire an impressive property portfolio, including a Chelsea flat and a £4.7 million Grade II-listed Berkshire mansion, known as the Bucklebury Manor.

Despite their royal family ties, the pandemic hit their business which was estimated to be worth £30 million in 2011, according to the Daily Mail.

The couple sold-up their lifelong venture after it collapsed into administration last May. Today, it is thought the couple have a net worth of over £54 million, The Sun reports.

Carole and Michael Middleton in the Royal Box on Tuesday (PA)
Carole and Michael Middleton in the Royal Box on Tuesday (PA)

Kate Middleton

The eldest Middleton, Kate, grew up in Bucklebury, Buckinghamshire and attended Marlborough College- an independent boarding school. She graduated in History of Art from St Andrews University, where she met Prince William, in 2001.

Before becoming the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate established herself in the fashion industry, working as a part time accessory buyer for Jigsaw.

She also worked for her parent’s business Party Pieces, where she pursued her passion in photography to help with the catologue design and marketing, Town and Country Magazine revealed.

Pre-Duchess status, Kate lived with her sister Pippa in an apartment valued at over £1 million, purchased by their parents, according to Cosmopolitan.

Britain King Impact (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Britain King Impact (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Since marrying into royalty, Kate shares her finances with her husband William, who inherited round £10million when his late mother Diana died and another £7million after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, reported the Daily Mail.

The couple and their three children, George, 10, Charlotte, eight, and Louis five, enjoy the financial perks of inheriting the Duchy of Cornwall, a property portfolio and investments with assets amounting to £1.2 billion.

In 2022, Kate alone was estimated to be worth around £7.8 million by Cosmopolitan.

Gary Goldsmith

Gary Goldsmith, 58, a self-made millionaire, has gained notoriety as Kate’s ‘playboy’ uncle.

He grew up alongside older sister Carole in a Hounslow council house and left school to become an IT operator before joining an IT recruitment company, Computer Futures, where he quickly became director.

In 2005, he reportedly made £17m when he sold his shares in the company and subsequent luxury purchases included a villa in Ibiza, sports cars and a yacht.

Inside the renowned villa, known as “Maison de Bang Bang”, the initials GG were said to be emblazoned on the wall, along with a mural that read: “It’s Gary’s world, you just live in it.”

Despite a short stint on reality television, as the first contestant to be voted out of the Celebrity Big Brother house by the public, it is thought to be worth £30 million.

Gary Goldsmith was booted out of the Big Brother House in the first eviction (Celebrity Big Brother, ITV)
Gary Goldsmith was booted out of the Big Brother House in the first eviction (Celebrity Big Brother, ITV)

Pippa Middleton

Pippa, Kates younger sister, shot to public prominence after she dazzled spectators as the Maid of Honour at William and Kate’s royal wedding in 2011.

She married billionaire James Matthews, a hedge fund manager and the older brother of the former Made in Chelsea star, Spencer Matthews, in May 2017.

The couple met on the exclusive Carribean island of St Barts at the Eden Rock hotel, which is owned by James’s parents.

Pippa Middleton landed in the spotlight as Maid of Honour at sister Kate’s wedding (Reuters)
Pippa Middleton landed in the spotlight as Maid of Honour at sister Kate’s wedding (Reuters)

Pippa graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in English literature and later released a poorly-received social etiquette and party-hosting book, Celebrate, in 2012.

In 2016, she released a cookbook called Heartfelt and contributed to the Waitrose Weekend magazine as a columnist up until 2019, when she was dropped.

The couple have three children together: son, Arthur, five, and two daughters: Grace, three and Rose one.

The Sun estimates the socialite’s net worth to be £43 million.

James Middleton

The youngest Middleton, 36, attracts much less media attention than his older sisters, the self-confessed dog-lover inherited the entrepreneurial spirit of his parents.

After working for the family business he launched his own venture the Cake Kit Company which sold DIY themed baking kits to customers, however the company dissolved in 2015.

The youngest also invested in a personalised gift business Boomf and later founded Ella & Co a high-quality dog-food company.

The Princess of Wales’ brother James Middleton is set to publish a memoir which documents his time with his late dog Ella (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Archive)
The Princess of Wales’ brother James Middleton is set to publish a memoir which documents his time with his late dog Ella (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Archive)

According to a report in the Evening Standard the business has faced significant losses this past year with assets plummeting from £334,591 ro £92,510 over the past year.

James married French financial analyst Alizee Thevenet in 2021 and welcomed their first child, baby boy Inigo, in October 2023.

He has an estimated wealth of between £3 and £5 million, according to Berkshire Live.