It’s been quite a transformation for the Middleton family – from ambitious middle classes to the fringes of royalty.
The parents of Catherine, Princess of Wales, took their seats at Westminster Abbey for the coronation of King Charles with Pippa Matthews and James Middleton in May.
More importantly, they continue to play an important family role in the lives of their grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
But if it’s Carole and Pippa who tend to command attention – Carole certainly did it with a sapphire-colored dress at the Abbey – and command attention, the smiling figure of Michael Middleton, Catherine’s father , plays a crucial role.
Michael, who is 74 today, is often seen in the background. But he was a calming presence throughout, first, the long courtship and, then, her daughter’s marriage to Prince William.
Watching over a future king: Michael with his grandson Prince George as they watch the inaugural Kings Cup regatta at Cowes, 2019
Carole, elegant in sapphire, and Michael Middleton at the coronation
Michael cuts a dignified figure as he gives his daughter, Kate, away at his wedding in 2011
Part of the family: The Middletons seem to have settled into their new royal role easily. Pictured right to left, back row: Pippa, James, Carole and Michael
Celebrating his birthday on this day, June 23, Michael Middleton was born in 1949 in Leeds.
Raised by the parents of Captain Peter Middleton and Valerie Glassborow, they were a family with an aristocratic background.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Middleton family had rubbed shoulders with members of the British royal family.
Both of her parents served in the Second World War, her mother was a code breaker and volunteer nurse and her father was a pilot for the Royal Air Force.
During his service, Peter had previously flown alongside Prince Philip as co-pilot on a two-month flying tour of South America in 1962.
Like his father and grandfather, Michael attended Clifton College, a boarding school in Bristol, before continuing his education and graduating from the University of Surrey.
Michael originally planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pilot and studied at British European Airways flight school, before deciding to join the ground crew instead.
He then started working for British Airways as a flight dispatcher, where he met his future wife, Carole Goldsmith.
Michael and Carole were married on June 21, 1980 at St. James’s Church in Buckinghamshire.
It was while working for British Airways as a flight dispatcher that he met his future wife, Carole Goldsmith
Two years later, in 1982, they welcomed their first child, Catherine Middleton, the future Princess of Wales. Their second daughter, Philippa, followed in 1983.
Michael moved his family to Amman, Jordan from May 1984 to September 1986 for work. Back in England in 1987, the couple welcomed their youngest child, James.
Carole started Party Pieces, a company selling party supplies and decorations, in 1987. By the 1990s it had branched out into mail order and was run by both Carole and Michael.
Meanwhile, business was booming and in 2012 they moved into a Tudor-style mansion in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
Michael and Carole welcomed their first child, Catherine, in 1982
A heartwarming family photo of Michael and his baby daughter, Kate Middleton
Four-year-old Catherine Middleton with her father and sister Pippa in Jerash, Jordan
Pippa, Michael and Carole Middleton leave after a community song service held at Westminster Abbey in 2021
Since becoming grandparents to Kate and William’s three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, Michael and Carole have taken on an even bigger role in the lives of the royal family.
William refused to allow them to be treated as non-royal in-laws had in the past, rarely receiving invitations. Even the late Queen was thrilled and warmed by the ambitious values of the Middletons.
Michael and Carole have been guests at Balmoral, Royal Ascot, Sandringham, where they were guests on Christmas Day, and most recently at the coronation of King Charles.
Unlike previous generations, it is clear that the Middletons will actively participate in Welsh life.