Parents: Michael Middleton, 61, the Leeds-born son of an airline pilot, was working as an air steward for British Airways when he met his future wife Carole Goldsmith, now 55, in the mid-1970s. Miss Goldsmith, a builder's daughter from Southall, Middlesex, was an air stewardess for the same airline.
Family business: It was from there that they started their Party Pieces children's partyware business in 1987, which became a huge success and enabled the couple to move to a modern five-bedroomed house, set behind trees in the neighboring village of Bucklebury, in 1995.
Party Pieces would be somewhat similar to Party City in the U.S., but without the bricks and mortar. However, the company works out of converted barns in West Berkshire. For instance, its call center is in a 200-year-old barn, the warehouse that stores all of its tableware, party favors, and other supplies is in a converted hay barn, and its shipping and packaging is done in a former cow shed.
Kate Middleton's role in the family business was that of a project manager. She left that position permanently after her royal engagement. Some of her duties as project manager included being the Web designer and photographer. Kate Middleton was responsible for putting together their annual Christmas catalog, attending trade fairs and arranging photo shoots for the catalog year-round. She also utilized these same skills when she worked at Jigsaw. Now Kate is busy planning her own wedding, thanks to the valuable skills she learned from her family business.
The Middletons, with the exception of their middle child Pippa, have not given any interviews to any members of the press since the engagement. The royal family is at a huge advantage with its fleet of press officers to deny stories.
Middleton children: Kate, Philippa (Pippa), and James all attended Marlborough College in Wiltshire at a cost of £35,000 pounds a year ($57,000).
Kate worked at Jigsaw as an accessories buyer and then worked for the family business Party Pieces as a Project Manager and photographer.
In the past year, Kate's younger siblings have proved to be less publicity-shy than their parents. Pippa, 27, works part-time in marketing and PR for Table Talk, an events catering company, and devotes the rest of her working week to The Party Times, an online magazine and offshoot of the family business. In October she rode roughshod over the family's vow of silence by inviting The Sunday Times to the local pub to discuss the venture (with her mother's approval) while stopping short of saying anything at all revealing.
James, 23, dropped out of his English degree course at Edinburgh University to start his own cake-making company, another spin-off from his parents' firm. Last year he attracted criticism for publicizing his venture by appearing in Hello! magazine, baking 21 cakes to celebrate the publication's 21st birthday.