Strange Things About Kate Middleton's Family

Kate Middleton instantly became famous when she started dating and subsequently married Prince William, and her family members found fame, too. For instance, Kate's sister Pippa Middleton found herself at the center of several controversial moments that have rocked her reputation. Kate's mom Carole Middleton ran a multi-million dollar business, which presumably benefited from her connections to the royal family. Kate's brother James Middleton talked about his mental health journey candidly, using his newfound platform to help others.

During an interview with The Telegraph, Carole opened up about her life as the mother of the Princess of Wales, and her concerns after her family entered the spotlight. "My biggest fear was that I'd lose my family, but we've stayed close," she told the publication. "There are times when they say, 'Can you do this, or that?' and I can't quite. But they like the fact that I work."

From unexpected christening gifts to Kardashian comparisons and the unlikeliest way to make a million dollars, join us as we explore some of the strangest things about Kate Middleton's family.

Kate's brother made a lot of money selling marshmallows

In May 2020, Kate Middleton's brother James Middleton launched the dog food company James & Ella, inspired by his own love of the furry creatures. But dog food wasn't James' first foray into the business world. In 2013, the Middleton sibling started the company Boomf, a personalized marshmallow company, and for a number of years, he had some success with the product. It was reported in August 2021 that Boomf had made a whopping £1.1 million (approximately $1.37 million) profit in 2020, making it seem as though James' fledgling party product was finally taking off.

Sadly, James' marshmallow success was fairly short-lived, and by December 2021, the company was allegedly £2 million (approximately $2.49 million) in the red. Likely as a result of unmanageable debt, Boomf was reportedly sold to another online gifting company named Splento. Roman Grigoriev, chief executive of Splento, told the Daily Mail, "Of course the brand name will remain ... Once we've eased into the business, we are planning loads of amazing things and growing the company way beyond what it was." While the unusual business may not have stayed in the family, it remains surprising that James Middleton made a million dollars selling marshmallows.

Is Carole Middleton the British Kris Jenner?

As the Princess of Wales's mother, Carole Middleton has regularly found herself in the spotlight, for both good and bad reasons. When the final episodes of the sixth and final season of "The Crown" hit Netflix in December 2023, viewers got to see a fictionalized version of Kate Middleton and Prince William's initial romance. Carole's alleged meddling in the couple's relationship led to viewers comparing the future princess's mother to Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner. One X user wrote, "...they are portraying Carole Middleton as the Kris Jenner of England, managing Kate to help the family climb socially." Another viewer wrote, "Kris Jenner works hard but Carole Middleton works harder."

Before "The Crown" made royal fans think Carole Middleton is similar to the Kardashian's famed mom-ager, author Tina Brown explored Carole's influence in the book "The Palace Papers." "It is unlikely Kate would be where she is today without her mother's canny help in negotiating a royal romance," Brown wrote. While it's unclear how much Carole actually intervened in her daughter's relationship with the prince, the narrative in which she was the mastermind refuses to die. And thanks to the successes of son James Middleton and daughter Pippa Middleton, it's not hard to see why Carole often gets compared with reality TV icon Jenner.

The Middleton business failed, but the royals didn't step in to help

Aside from being Kate Middleton's mom, Carole Middleton was known as the face of Party Pieces, a birthday and celebration party supplies business that she founded in 1987. A successful brand for several decades, Carole discussed her children's involvement in the business, telling Good Housekeeping, "Because they all grew up with me working, Party Pieces has been very much part of our lives." However, the company ran into difficulties in 2023, when it was revealed that Party Pieces had accrued a sizeable amount of debt of £2.6 million (approximately $3.1 million) and that it would be filing for administration. The agent responsible for renting out the brand's premises told the Daily Mail, "We were astonished about the amount of money owed to others."

Despite having some very wealthy relatives within the royal family, the Middletons didn't seek any financial aid from their daughter or her husband. In fact, royal expert Christopher Andersen told Us Weekly, "No one in the royal family is embarrassed by the failure of Party Pieces." The author also noted that Carole and Michael's personal wealth had remained intact, in spite of the huge bills their company owed. "Their business went belly-up because of things entirely out of their control, but that doesn't mean they haven't got substantial personal assets," he explained. Still, some onlookers may have wondered why the deep-pocketed royals couldn't step in and save Party Pieces when it faced financial trouble.

Pippa Middleton's husband pursued her for a decade

Most of the details revealed about Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Matthews hinted at a seriously chic, high-society affair. On May 20, 2017, Kate Middleton's sister wed Matthews in a church ceremony, with the bride wearing an intricate lace gown designed by Giles Deacon. But before making it to their big day, Pippa and Matthews had endured quite the journey, which reportedly took place over the course of a decade.

The Mail on Sunday revealed that Matthews first met Pippa on vacation in St. Barts, but she was apparently much too young for him at the time. When they finally did get together, their relationship didn't work out, and they both dated other people. Despite being an exceedingly eligible bachelor worth in excess of $2 billion, Matthews refused to settle for anyone other than the Princess of Wales's sister. A friend allegedly told the publication, "You got the sense James was holding out for the one, and that was Pippa." As another source told The Mail, "The truth was, the only girl he really wanted was Pippa. He always carried a torch for her."

As luck would have it, Matthews and Pippa reportedly both found themselves single again in 2012. "After being in the background for at least 10 years he finally decided to pursue her and he told her she had to give him a second chance," a source explained to the newspaper.

Queen Elizabeth II didn't like Carole Middleton at first, sources claimed

Life within the British royal family isn't always peachy, as evidenced by all of the troubling details about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit that have come to light. While Kate Middleton's family has always seemed to fit in well with the royals, that wasn't always the case, according to some reports. In April 2007, after Prince William reportedly dumped Kate in a shady way, The Guardian discussed the royal family's apparent disdain for the future princess's mother, Carole Middleton. Referencing an article in The Mail on Sunday, the publication quoted a source as saying, "The Queen was fond of Kate and liked her father, but let's just say there was a feeling that Mrs. Middleton was not right or acceptable." The same article alleged that the team at the palace reportedly made fun of Carole's former occupation as a flight attendant.

While William and Kate's breakup only lasted for a number of months, the rumors about there being ill feelings towards the princess's family persisted. "There are some social mountains you just can't scale," a source told the publication. "You can't become royal through sheer force of will." Singling out Kate's mother in particular, the source also alleged, "Carole's approach is very aspirational," suggesting that she didn't necessarily fit in with the royal family very well at the start. Whether or not the queen warmed to Carole over the years remains unclear.

Kate's brother has an uncanny resemblance to King George V

In August 2022, the royal family's official Instagram account shared a carousel of photos featuring regal relatives with their beloved dogs. One of the photos showed King George V, Queen Elizabeth II's grandfather, sweetly holding a pug, and royal fans had a lot to say about the picture. In particular, commenters noted how much Kate Middleton's brother James looked like George V, even down to the fact that he also loves dogs. "Is it not uncanny, the likeness of King George V to the brother of Catherine, Princess of Wales?" one Instagram user asked in the comments. Another commenter wrote, "In photo 2 of King George V looks a lot like @jmidy 😮 Is James the reincarnation of the King?"

As well as looking strangely similar to a member of the royal family, James has also proven his love of dogs by launching the dog food brand James & Ella, named after one of his pups. After Ella died, James paid tribute to her on Instagram, writing, "Through James & Ella, I'll be carrying on the legacy of the most incredible dog I ever had the pleasure of caring for, as she cared for me." Although James isn't technically a member of the British royal family, he most certainly looks the part.

Pippa Middleton spent £7k on a 'creepy' keepsake for Prince George

As the aunt of the future king of England, Pippa Middleton likely felt the pressure while shopping for christening gifts for Prince George. Luckily, she reportedly found the perfect present in the form of Wrightson and Platt's silver sculptures, which take molds from a baby's hands and feet to keep forever, per the Daily Mail. The thoughtful gift apparently cost Kate Middleton's sister £7,000 (approximately $8,700), but a royal family spokesperson refused to comment, telling the publication, "If such a gift exists it would be a private gift and not be something we would be aware of." 

Unfortunately for Pippa, not everyone thought the silver sculptures were a good choice. One person took to X to express their concern about the gift, writing, "Is it just me or are these a wee bit creepy." In response to another post about the present, another commenter wrote, "that's an awful gift for such a beautiful little cherub." It's never been revealed whether or not Kate and Prince William liked the gift, or if they also thought it was "creepy." But nevertheless, Pippa spent a lot of money to celebrate her nephew.

Kate Middleton's dog helped pick Prince George's name

It's not unusual for celebrity baby names to have hidden meanings, but that doesn't seem to be the case for Kate Middleton and Prince William's children. The couple's first baby, Prince George, was born July 22, 2013, and the Prince and Princess of Wales found a unique way to choose his name. According to The Times, Kate and William relied on their dog Lupo, a black English cocker spaniel, to select the baby name at random. The publication alleged that the Prince and Princess of Wales wrote down all of the names they were considering on pieces of paper, which they put on the floor of their home. Luckily, Lupo picked the name George from the selection, and the rest is history.

Unfortunately, Lupo died in November 2020. William and Kate shared a tribute to the special pup on their official Instagram account, writing, "Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away. He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much." But if Lupo did, indeed, help select Prince George's name, the dog will live on in history forever.

Kate Middleton's uncle Gary Goldsmith is a reality TV star

There are a plethora of celebrity families that had reality shows, and it would appear as though the royal family also has its connections to the genre. Gary Goldsmith, who just so happens to be Carole Middleton's brother and Kate Middleton's uncle, surprised the world when he appeared on "Celebrity Big Brother" in the United Kingdom in 2024. After he was the first contestant to leave the competition, Goldsmith spoke to The Times and decided to make some disparaging remarks about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Referring to Meghan by an unusual nickname, Goldsmith told the publication, "Laughing Girl isn't going to be around forever, is she? I think she's fickle. And I think she's so bad for Harry and for our country."

During an interview with "Good Morning Britain" (via the Daily Mail) in March 2024, Goldsmith also opened up about how often he stays in contact with his royal relatives. "I haven't spoke to Kate in ages," he revealed. "In years, maybe a year. Weddings and funerals is when we see them." Despite not being in regular contact with the Middletons, it seems that Goldsmith was able to cash in on his family tree by appearing on reality TV. How the royals really feel about his very public exploits remains to be seen.