Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Middleton family
Arms of Michael Middleton.svg
Undifferenced Middleton arms, granted to Michael Francis Middleton, as the armigerous head of the family.[1]
Ethnicity English
Current region Bucklebury, West Berkshire, England
Earlier spellings Middeltone, Mideltuna, Middeltune
Place of origin United Kingdom
Notable members Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Pippa Middleton
James William Middleton

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").[2][3] Early recorded instances of the surname are: de Mideltone in 1166, within the Eynsham Cartulary;[4] de Midilton in 1221, within a charter to the Abbey of Arbroath;[5] and de Midelton in 1327, within the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex.[4]

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.[6] Ancestors of the Middleton family include The Rev. Thomas Davis, a Church of England hymn-writer.[7][8][9][10]

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

Carole and Michael Middleton

Michael and Carole Middleton

Michael 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. [14] At Clifton, all three Middleton men were boarders of Brown House. Carole Elizabeth Middleton (née Goldsmith) was born on 31 January 1955 at Perivale Maternity Hospital in Ealing.[15][16][17] 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.[18]

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.[19] They bought a semi-detached Victorian house in Bradfield Southend near Reading, Berkshire.[14]

The couple have three children. Their first child, Catherine Elizabeth was born in 1982 and their second Philippa Charlotte was born in 1983.[20] In 1984, the family briefly moved to Amman, Jordan where Michael Middleton worked for two and a half years.[21]

Their third child, James William was born in 1987.[14] 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.[20][22][23] The business was successful, and over the space of a few years the Middletons are reported to have become very wealthy.[24] 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 symbolise peaks and mountains, said to represent the family's love of the Lake District and skiing, and the inverted gold chevron represents Carole Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith.[25]


Catherine (left) and Pippa (right) Middleton

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.[26][27] After a long relationship, and a six month engagement, she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.[21]

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.[28] 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.[29] Following graduation, in 2008 she took a events management / marketing job with Table Talk, a London-based events catering company.[30] She also writes for The Party Times, an online magazine which is an off-shoot of her parents' company.[31]

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.[32][33] Both of the younger siblings live in a flat in Chelsea, reportedly purchased in 2002 by their parents for £780,000.[34][35] 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.[36][37]

Family tree

Television and film portrayals

In William & Kate, a television movie released on 18 April 2011 about Catherine's romance, 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).[38] 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[39] and Channel 4's Meet the Middletons.[40]


  1. ^ Coat of arms of the Middleton family - website of the College of Arms
  2. ^ Learn about the family history of your surname,,, retrieved 30 May 2011 . This website cited the following book for the surname "Middleton": Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 .
  3. ^ Middleton,,, retrieved 30 May 2011 . This website cited the following book for the place name "Middleton": A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford University Press, 2003 .
  4. ^ a b Reaney, Percy Hilde (1995), Wilson, Richard Middlewood, ed., A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 308–309, ISBN 0-19-8631464 .
  5. ^ Black, George Fraser Black (1946), The Surnames of Scotland, New York: New York Public Library, pp. 599–600 .
  6. ^ "The Leeds connection...". Yorkshire Evening Post. 11 September 2006. 
  7. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams (2011). Child, Christopher Challender. ed. The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton. Scott Campbell Steward. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society. p. 16. ISBN 978-088082-252-7. 
  8. ^ "Reverend Thomas Davis". 
  9. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams (2011). Child, Christopher Challender. ed. The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton. Scott Campbell Steward. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society. p. 9. ISBN 978-088082-252-7. 
  10. ^ "Olive Christiana Lupton". Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams (2011). Child, Christopher Challender. ed. The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton. Scott Campbell Steward. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society. pp. 116–7. ISBN 978-088082-252-7. 
  12. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams (2011). Child, Christopher Challender. ed. The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton. Scott Campbell Steward. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society. pp. 118–9. ISBN 978-088082-252-7. 
  13. ^ Wilson, Christopher (22 December 2006). "Kate, the coal miner's girl". Mail Online. 
  14. ^ a b c "Royal wedding: Kate Middleton's family background". 16 November 2010 (The Telegraph). Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  15. ^ Poppy Bradbury (3 May 2011), "Kate Middleton's mum's old school hosts Royal Wedding party", Ealing Gazette, 
  16. ^ "Person Page 20097". Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  17. ^ Geoffrey Levy. "For Kate Middleton's mother Carole being royal in-law will be no laughing matter | Mail Online". Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  18. ^ "Kate Middleton's character shaped by generations of social-climbing matriarchs | Mail Online". 17 April 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  19. ^ Claudia Joseph The intriguing story of the woman who gave Kate her looks – and family wealth Mail Online, 21 November 2010; Retrieved 22 November 2010
  20. ^ a b Party Pieces Princess in News of the World (21 November 2010), pg. 4
  21. ^ a b "Royal wedding: profile of Kate Middleton". 4 May 2011. The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  22. ^ About us at, accessed 19 February 2011
  23. ^ Profiles: Kate Middleton in Hello! dated August 2001
  24. ^ "Generation why-should-I?". Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  25. ^ "Royal wedding: Family's badge of honour for Kate Middleton". The Scotsman. 20 April 2011. 
  26. ^ "Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton". 4 May 2011. The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  27. ^ "Royal wedding: Kate Middleton's home village of Bucklebury prepares for big day". 12 Apr 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  28. ^ Anna Pukas, Kate Middleton's eligible little sister (20 November 2010) Daily Express, accessed 19 February 2011
  29. ^ Anna Pukas, Kate Middleton's eligible little sister (20 November 2010) Daily Express, accessed 19 February 2011
  30. ^ Welcome to the Firm at, accessed 4 January 2011
  31. ^ Tim Walker, Wedding is good business for Pippa Middleton Daily Telegraph (17 November 2010), accessed 17 February 2011
  32. ^ Levy, Geoffrey and Kay, Richard (1 September 2009). "How many MORE skeletons in Kate Middleton's closet?". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  33. ^ Jessica Fellowes (1 October 2008), James Middleton: 21, cake maker, "The 'posh-preneurs' who mean business", Daily Telegraph, 
  34. ^ "5 Things You Didn't Know About James Middleton". US Weekly. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  35. ^ Royal wedding: the very ambitious James Middleton - Telegraph
  36. ^ Anita Singh (29 Apr 2011), "Pippa Middleton shines as maid of honour", Daily Telegraph, 
  37. ^ Tim Ross (29 Apr 2011), "How Kate Middleton's brother risks upsetting the Prince of Wales", Daily Telegraph, 
  38. ^ William and Kate at, accessed 19 February 2011
  39. ^ Rewind TV: When Kate Met William; Kate and William: Romance and the Royals; The Suspicions of Mr Whicher; The Crimson Petal and the White The Observer, 1 May 2011
  40. ^ TV review: Meet the Middletons; Help! My House is Infested; The Reckoning, 18 April 2011

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