This has been quite a year for the Middleton family and, in addition to how things have changed for Kate, we find ourselves wondering how life has changed for her hardworking parents, Michael and Carole.
We all know Kate and her family had a very different introduction into this life that Diana had. Diana had grown up around the Royal Family so it wasn’t as much of a shock. Diana told Andrew Morton when collaborating with him for Diana Her True Story, “You see, I had a very good lifestyle myself. I had my own money and lived in a big house. So it wasn’t as though I was going into anything different.”
For the Middletons, it’s a different kettle of fish. I mean they probably would have liked to have visited Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle as tourists when Kate was young. No doubt Carole also read a Diana biography or two way back when and occasionally picked up an issue of Hello. All this to say that prior to Kate heading to St. Andrews, they had no concept or thought that on day they’d be up there on the Buckingham Palace balcony waving to their daughter’s future subjects. No way.
It must still seem totally surreal that their daughter has become ‘Her Royal Highness’ and perhaps the most celebrated women of the year. They have had several years to start getting used to the idea, but they didn’t know how this would all play out. Carole reportedly spoke to a Telegraph reporter in November of 2008 while at the Hennessy Gold Cup. She said,
“I feel very vulnerable about everything. I’m not a celebrity and don’t want to be one…I haven’t asked for all this.”
Fair enough. It must have been tough to have been criticized in the press for things she didn’t do or say, like the rumour that she said “pleased to meet you” to the Queen while chewing gum at Wiliam’s Passing Out Parade at Sandhurst in December 2006. That one was 100% false we now know. Carole and Mike didn’t even meet the Queen until after the engagement, when they were invited to lunch with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor.
Anyhow, on Michael’s part, he first spoke to the press in May of 2003 when he said,
“We are very amused at the thought of being in laws to Prince William, but I don’t think that is going to happen.”
First of all, if we were Kate back then we would have been absolutely cringing that he said that and we can only imagine that they had a few words. But, as we all know, it did happen and boy did they ever look tickled pink while speaking to assembled reporters outside their home the day the engagement was announced. And who can blame them? Even after so many years of getting to know William as just plain William, for this to actually happen must have still been TOTALLY SURREAL.
So the engagement happens and the Middletons get geared up for the wedding, showing lots of class along the way. In many ways, they seem like real quality people who could really teach a thing or two to the Royals. Then the hoopla of the wedding is over and it’s back to a new normal involving occasional Royal invitations, watching their daughter get a hero’s welcome all over Canada, and photographers trying to get your picture as you spend time in your garden. That must be so odd. I’ve got to say, this photo of Michael Middleton working in the garden was taken just two days after the wedding is one of my favourites. He really seems like a very kind, grounded man:
At a party at the Goring Hotel in June of this year, Carol Middleton reportedly commented that the only time she and her husband felt normal was bedtime. A guest who attended the party told the Daily Mail,
“She said that they wake up every day and can’t quite believe what has happened. Apparently the only time they ever feel as though they are living their old life is when they climb into bed at the end of the day. She said they have both been so surprised at the continuing interest in their daughter.”
I’m sure we’ll see lots of Carole and Michael, and of course siblings Pippa and James, in the years to come. Kate will make sure they stay very included in her life, so who knows, maybe we’ll get another Mike and Carole balcony appearance one day. They’ve already had a second royal carriage ride, after all (below, pictured at Ascot)!
Also, to read about Pippa wearing an imitation of a dress Kate wore in Canada click here!