By the early 19th century, the Middleton family was established in the West Riding of Yorkshire as cultural and civic figures, particularly in the legal profession. The law firm, Messrs Middleton and Sons, was founded in Leeds by gentleman farmer and solicitor William Middleton Esq. of Gledhow Grange Estate. The family firm existed for over 150 years, closing in 1985.
William Middleton's descendants include Richard Noel Middleton, a solicitor who was one of the founders of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra. Richard Noel's son was Captain Peter Middleton, who was Prince Philip's co-pilot on a tour of South America. Peter Middleton's son is entrepreneur Michael Francis Middleton whose children are; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, socialite and columnist Pippa Middleton, and businessman James William Middleton.
Another descendant is solicitor Henry Dubs Middleton, who was chairman of the Leeds General Infirmary. The Middletons were described as "friends of British royalty" to whom, in their civic capacity, they "played host as long ago as 1926".
Michael Middleton's relatives were solicitors in the Leeds-based family firm, Messrs Middleton and Sons. His grandfather Richard Noel Middleton, great-grandfather John William Middleton, Esq. (1839-1887), and great-great-grandfather William Middleton were solicitors. Richard Noel was one of the founders of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra and a director of William Lupton and Sons, the wool manufacturing firm his wife Olive, had inherited in 1921. Michael Middleton's niece, Lucy Middleton, is a solicitor.
Michael Middleton's great grandfather, politician Francis Martineau Lupton, was the first cousin of Sir Thomas Martineau, whose nephew was Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. At a political event hosted by members of the Leeds and County (Liberal) Unionist Club at Leeds Town Hall on 27 September 1894, Liberal Unionist Francis Martineau Lupton entertained his relative Joseph Chamberlain, MP. Francis Martineau's cousin, politician and mayor Sir Thomas Martineau, was Joseph Chamberlain's brother-in-law.
Michael Middleton, the father of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was born into a wealthy family with ties to the British aristocracy. His family had entertained members of the British Royal Family in Leeds from the 1920s. Shortly before his daughter married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April 2011, he was granted a coat of arms as the armigerous head of the family.
Michael Middleton was born in 1949 in Leeds where he spent his early years in Moortown. His father, Captain Peter Middleton (1920–2010), was a pilot who flew alongside Prince Philip as co-pilot on a two-month flying tour of South America in 1962. British Pathé newsreel film shows Middleton alongside the prince during the tour.
Michael Middleton has three brothers, including Richard, whose son Adam Middleton is godfather to Catherine's daughter, Princess Charlotte.
Like his father, Peter, and grandfather Noel, Michael Middleton was educated at Clifton College, the public school in Bristol. At Clifton, all three generations of Middleton men boarded at Brown's House. The archives at Clifton record that Michael Middleton was a praepostor, the title for a college prefect. Middleton represented Clifton at rugby in the 1st XV and also gained his tennis colours.
Middleton declined to follow in his father's footsteps of studying at New College, at Oxford University, the alma mater of many members of Capt. Middleton's family. Middleton had been up at Oxford in the 1930s with his cousin, Cecil Middleton, a champion golfer. Peter Middleton's great uncle, the Lord Mayor of Leeds Hugh Lupton (d.1947), and in-law, James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, were also Oxford alumni.
Following Clifton, Michael Middleton worked briefly as a British Airways (BA) flight attendant. Having graduated from the company's own internal course, he then worked for BA as a flight dispatcher.
Michael Middleton's wife, Carole, was born Carole Elizabeth Goldsmith on 31 January 1955 at Perivale Maternity Hospital in Ealing. The daughter of a builder, Ronald Goldsmith (1931–2003), and Dorothy Harrison (1935–2006), she was raised in Southall, and attended local state schools.
The Middletons met when they worked for British Airways (BA) as flight attendants. By 1979, Michael was promoted to aircraft dispatcher, one of British Airways' Red Caps, at London Heathrow Airport. They married on 21 June 1980 at St James's Parish Church in Dorney, Buckinghamshire. They bought a Victorian house in Bradfield Southend near Reading, Berkshire.
The Middletons have three children, two daughters and a son. Following the birth of Catherine Elizabeth (born 1982) and Philippa Charlotte (born 1983), the family moved to Amman, Jordan, where Michael worked as a manager for BA from 1984 to 1987. Their youngest child, James, was born in 1987 by which time Catherine and Pippa attended St Andrew's School, Pangbourne. Carole Middleton established Party Pieces a company making party bags in 1987. It branched into party supplies and decorations by mail order and by 1995 was managed by both Middletons and had moved into farm buildings at Ashampstead Common. At this time the Middletons purchased Oak Acre, a Tudor-style manor house in Bucklebury, Berkshire. In 2002, the Middletons bought a flat in Chelsea, in which their children lived. Carole and Michael Middleton are also the owners of a racehorse.
By 2012, the Middletons had moved to Bucklebury Manor, a Georgian mansion with an 18-acre estate where their grandson, Prince George spent his first few weeks.
The Middleton's business was successful, and along with trust funds inherited by Michael Middleton, enabled the family to send their children to independent schools. All three children were sent to St Andrew's School, Pangbourne and both daughters were sent to Downe House, a girls' boarding school in Cold Ash and Marlborough College, Wiltshire. James also attended Marlborough.
Shortly before his elder daughter's marriage, Michael Middleton was granted a coat of arms featuring three acorn sprigs, one for each of his children. The oak represents England and strength as well as the family's home district of West Berkshire. The white chevronels symbolise peaks and mountains, said to represent the family's love of the Lake District and skiing, and the gold chevron represents Carole Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith.
The British press created the term Upper Middleton Class to describe the family's social position; other reports refer to the family as being "minted....with a smattering of blue-blooded antecedents".
The Middletons' first daughter, Catherine, "Kate", now HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, was born on 9 January 1982. A boarder at St Andrew's School, Pangbourne and Marlborough College, she graduated from the University of St Andrews. It was here, while living at St Salvator's Hall, that she met Prince William. After a long relationship and a six-month engagement, she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.
In December 2012, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting their first child. Catherine gave birth to a son, Prince George of Cambridge, on 22 July 2013, who is third in line to the throne. Her second pregnancy was announced on 8 September 2014, and she gave birth to a daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, on 2 May 2015. Her third pregnancy was announced on 4 September 2017.
The Middleton's second daughter, Philippa "Pippa", born on 6 September 1983, attended the same schools as her siblings and studied English literature at the University of Edinburgh. There she shared a house with Lord Ted Innes-Ker, a son of the Duke of Roxburghe, and George Percy. Following graduation in 2008 she took an events management / marketing job with Table Talk, a London-based events catering company. She has written for The Spectator, Waitrose Magazine, the Daily Telegraph, Vanity Fair and The Party Times, an online magazine which is an offshoot of her parents' company.
In July 2016, Middleton became engaged to hedge fund manager and former racing driver James Matthews, eldest son of David Matthews, the Laird of Glen Affric. When he inherits his father's lairdship, Middleton will be accorded the courtesy title, Lady Glenaffric.
Pippa Middleton and James Matthews were married on the 20 May 2017, at St Mark's Church, at Englefield Estate, Berkshire, near Bucklebury Manor, the Middleton family home.
James, the Middleton's youngest child and only son, was born on 15 April 1987. He was educated from age four at St Andrew's School, Pangbourne, and at Marlborough College. He started a degree in Environmental Resources Management at the University of Edinburgh but left in 2006 after a year to start a cake-making business. His company Boomf employed over 100 people at peak periods in 2016.
Pippa was a bridesmaid and James read the lesson at their sister's wedding.
Michael Middleton's father was commercial pilot and RAF officer Capt. Peter Francis Middleton (1920–2010). He studied English at New College, Oxford and after leaving in 1940 served as a RAF fighter pilot during the Second World War. Commissioned as a pilot officer (on probation) in the RAFVR on 9 March 1941, He was confirmed in his rank and promoted to flying officer (war-substantive) on 9 March 1942. In May 1942, he was posted to No 37 Service Flying School in Calgary, Canada where he spent two-and-a-half years as an instructor, training Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster pilots, receiving a promotion to flight lieutenant (war-substantive) on 9 March 1943. After joining the reservist 605 Squadron at Manston, near Ramsgate in Kent, in August 1944, Middleton flew a de Havilland Mosquito fighter bomber, nudging the wings of unmanned German V1 flying aircraft to divert them from hitting London. After the war, Middleton joined British European Airways as a pilot, but remained in the reconstituted RAFVR, receiving a reserve commission as a flying officer on 12 August 1949. Promoted to flight lieutenant on 1 March 1951, he relinquished his reserve commission on 12 August 1959.
On a two-month tour of South America in 1962, Prince Philip piloted 49 of the tour's 62 flights with Peter Middleton as his co-pilot. He sent Middleton a letter of thanks and a pair of gold cufflinks. British Pathe newsreel captured Middleton and Prince Philip during the tour. Middleton met his granddaughter's fiancé, Prince William, on his 90th birthday and William attended Middleton's funeral in November 2010.
Michael's mother, Valerie Glassborow (1924–2006) worked at the Second World War Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) in Bletchley Park, along with her twin sister, Mary. Codebreaking penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers and is the birthplace of the world's first programmable, digital, electronic computer: Colossus. Her Bletchley Park colleague and friend, Lady Body (née Marion Graham), recalled in 2014 that she had shared a "rather special moment" with Valerie: "Our superior officer, Commander Williams, came into the room smiling and he said, ‘Well done, girls. A signal has been intercepted from Tokyo to Geneva and it's the signal that the Japanese are surrendering'. He told us that a message has gone to the King and the Prime Minister but that it could not be announced until Geneva has sent on the message to London."
Michael Middleton's grandfather, Richard Noel Middleton (1878–1951), was a solicitor who "met and married aristocrat Olive Lupton in 1914". In 1921, he became a director of the company his wife had inherited from her father. Members of the Lupton family owned the Newton Park and Beechwood estates in Leeds, the latter being the family seat where, for decades, the "whole family would gather". The Lupton family are described in the Leeds City Council's photographic archive as "woollen manufacturers and landed gentry; a political and business dynasty".
Michael Middleton's grandmother, Olive Middleton was a member of the Lupton family who had contributed to the political life of both the UK and to the civic life of Leeds, especially in the areas of education, housing, and public health, for several generations. Several members were Lord Mayors of Leeds. They were prominent Unitarians and worshipped at Mill Hill Chapel, where a stained glass window commemorates the family. During the First World War, Olive worked for the war effort at Gledhow Hall, the home of her second cousin, Florence Kitson, Baroness Airedale which was used as a VAD hospital, with Olive's cousin, The Hon. Doris Kitson and sister-in-law, Gertrude Middleton, as volunteer nurses. Olive Middleton's brother, Lionel Martineau Lupton, studied the same subject at Trinity College, Cambridge as Princess Diana's grandfather - Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer. The two men joined up together to fight in the Great War which saw Lionel and his two brothers killed.
Olive Middleton's father, Francis Martineau Lupton (1848-1921), grew up initially on the family's Newton Park Estate and then their Beechwood Estate, in Roundhay. Two of Olive Middleton's uncles were Lord Mayors of Leeds – Sir Charles Lupton, (founder of the law firm DLA Piper) in 1915 and Hugh Lupton in 1926. In their official roles they played host to royalty. British Pathe discovered newsreel footage from 1915 of Francis Martineau and his three brothers inspecting troops near Leeds.
On 27 May 1943, the Princess Royal attended a music concert in Leeds with the city's Lady Mayoress, Elinor Lupton. The daughter of Arthur G. Lupton, Elinor was the first cousin of Olive Middleton. Elinor shared great grandparents with Beatrix Potter and died in 1979, having never married. Her brother, Major Arthur Lupton, died after a serious horse riding accident while hunting with the Bramham Moor Hunt in 1929. As Beechwood had been entailed to Arthur, his sisters, Elinor and Elizabeth - "The Misses Lupton" - lived at Beechwood until their brother's son Thomas could inherit. Sir Charles Lupton was Deputy Lieutenant of Yorkshire County (West Riding) when Princess Mary's father-in-law, the 5th Earl of Harewood, was his Lord Lieutenant.
Michael Middleton's great grandfather - politician Francis Martineau Lupton - was the son of Francis Lupton, Esq., whose marriage to Frances Greenhow on 1st July, 1847 is listed in The Patrician - John Burke's supplement to Burke's Peerage. Frances Lupton was a pioneer of girls' education who co-founded Leeds Girls' High School. Her maternal family was the Martineau family of Norwich and later, Birmingham; her aunt, the sociologist Harriet Martineau was especially close to her. London's National Portrait Gallery, holds nearly 20 portraits of Middleton's ancestors; siblings Harriet and Dr James Martineau, a friend of Queen Victoria.
The Rev. Thomas Davis, a Church of England hymn-writer is Michael Middleton's paternal ancestor.
Michael Middleton's family tree is linked, via his Leeds-born cousin, Lady Bullock (née Barbara Lupton), to William Petty-FitzMaurice, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1782–83. Through his direct ancestor, Dame Anne Fairfax (née Gascoigne), Michael Middleton has several descents from King Edward III.
According to genealogists Patrick Cracroft-Brennan and Anthony Adolph, Michael Middleton's children descend, via their mother, from Elizabeth Plantagenet, King Edward IV's illegitimate daughter by Elizabeth Lucy, via Sir Thomas Blakiston Conyers, 9th Bt. of Horden, Durham. Catherine and Prince William's closest common ancestors are Sir William Blakiston of Gibside and his wife Jane Lambton, making them eleventh cousins once removed, These findings echo Christopher Challender Child's research, published in 2011.
The Blakiston-Bowes Cabinet, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, provided proof that Catherine shared ancestry with Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Catherine and the Queen Mother share a common ancestor, County Durham's Sir William Blakiston, whose great granddaughter, Elizabeth Blakiston, married into the Bowes-Lyon family who were ancestors of the Queen Mother, née Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The cabinet was made in Newcastle upon Tyne to celebrate the union of the two families. Reports suggest that Catherine and the Queen Mother's blood cousinship was the reason Catherine wore the Queen Mother's tiara when she wed Prince William.
William & Kate, a television movie about Catherine's romance, was released on 18 April 2011, with Catherine and William played by Camilla Luddington and Nico Evers-Swindell respectively. Other members of the Middleton family were played by: Christopher Cousins (Michael Middleton), Serena Scott Thomas (Carole Middleton), Mary Elise Hayden (Pippa Middleton), and Calvin Goldspink (James Middleton). A number of television programmes were also shown in the UK before the wedding which provided deeper insights into the couple's relationship and backgrounds, including When Kate Met William and Channel 4's Meet the Middletons.