Carole Elizabeth Middleton (née Goldsmith; born 31 January 1955) is a former flight attendant turned businesswoman, and mother of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her siblings, Pippa Middleton and James Middleton.
Middleton's first grandchild, Prince George of Cambridge, was born on 22 July 2013 and is third in the line of succession to the British throne. On 2 May 2015, her first granddaughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, was born, who is now fourth in line to succeed to the British throne.
Carole Middleton was born in 31 January 1955 at Perivale Maternity Hospital in Perivale, London, the daughter of Dorothy Harrison and Ronald Goldsmith, she is the older sister of IT recruitment multi-millionaire Gary Goldsmith. She spent her early years in a small house in Southall, attending the local state schools.
She met flight dispatcher Michael Francis Middleton while working with British Airways as a flight attendant. The couple were married on 21 June 1980, at the Church of St James, in Dorney, Buckinghamshire. Leeds-born Michael was the son of pilot Captain Peter Middleton, whose mother Olive, was a member of the Lupton family who are described in the City of Leeds archives as being "landed gentry; a political and business dynasty".
In 1986, she and her family returned to West Berkshire, Bradfield Southend, after spending two-and-a-half years in Jordan. Her eldest daughter, Catherine, was aged four and attending the private preparatory college St Andrew's School, Pangbourne. In 1987, Middleton established 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's directors were both Carole and Michael and was so successful that its headquarters had moved to a range of farm buildings at Ashampstead Common.
The family's wealth is the result of the success of their business combined with the trust funds inherited from Olive Christiana Middleton (née Lupton), whom the BBC reported in 2011 as being Michael Middleton's aristocrat grandmother. This wealth has resulted in the Middletons being reported to be multi-millionaires.
Carole and her husband Michael own Bucklebury Manor, in Bucklebury, West Berkshire - a substantial Grade II-listed Georgian manor house set on over 18 acres. The Middletons' grandson, Prince George, spent his first few weeks at Bucklebury Manor. In 2002, Carole and Michael Middleton bought "with cash" a flat in Chelsea, London, in which their children lived after completing their university studies.
The gold chevron on the coat of arms taken out by her husband Michael is in reference to Carole's maiden name of Goldsmith.
Research revealed in 2011 that Carole Middleton's great-great-grandmother, Jane Liddle (d. 1881), was a great-great-granddaughter of Sir Thomas Blakiston Conyers, 9th Bt (1731–1810), himself a descendant of King Edward IV. It was reported in December 2014 that Sir Thomas Conyers shared a direct ancestor with Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, née Bowes-Lyon (1900–2002). Their common ancestor was County Durham's Sir William Blakiston. The famous Blakiston-Bowes Cabinet, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was created to celebrate the union of the Blakiston baronets and the Bowes-Lyon family. This connection makes Carole a distant blood cousin of the Queen Mother.
Carole's maternal great-grandfather was Durham coal miner John Harrison (1874–1956). Her paternal great-great-grandfather was John Goldsmith (d. 1888), a labourer and brick maker from Hoxton in the East End of London.