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Carole Middleton in GOAT For Stella Special

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Carole's second special has hit the web. This is a piece is in the Telegraph's Stella feature. It goes over a few of the points made in Telegraph Magazine, but lots more detail. It is by the same writer, but I think it is much better than the first run. Carole wore one of the Goat dresses that Kate wore while pregnant, and specifically said it was not the same dress (not a hand-me-down)!  


This is Kate in the Eloise dress while pregnant with Louis. I love how much the Middletons 


The article doesn't mention it, but Kate has worn both the Goat dresses Carole wore. This was the headline picture of Carole wearing Goat's Elodie. 


Kate wore this dress in December of last year (a month after wearing the Eloise. 


I think rather than Carole taking cues from Kate, Kate might be getting her style inspiration from Carole. According to the Telegraph:
For someone who looks self-assured and impeccably put together when she’s snapped, she’s surprisingly averse to clothes shopping and being photographed (‘Hate it,’ she admits). Like most British women, she doesn’t know what to do with a compliment. When I tell her I’m surprised that, with her figure, she finds shopping so hard, she bats back with: ‘I’m bigger round my top half than I was, so that’s why I prefer dresses to trousers and I don’t like anything tight. One of the reasons I don’t like shopping for clothes is that there aren’t enough for women my age. I know what I want, but I can’t find it. There’s a way of dressing that’s what I call “correct”.’
Run over and read this special before it is locked like the last one. This article is packed with fun details, but my favorite quote is at the end when Carole underscores how her family is, well, her family, even if some of them are royal:
'I have two other children and grandchildren and my job, and I lead a lot of my life round here, where I’ve lived for years and people knew me before Catherine’s… impact. It isn’t normal maybe to go to Louis’ christening or Catherine’s wedding, but, in the end, they’re all family events.’
If you can't access the article online, you can read it here.

100 comments:

  1. If you read the previous article for free you can’t read this one without paying. Maybe you can add more to the blog Jane. Thanks

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  2. Here's the link to the pdf: https://www.pdf.investintech.com/preview-frames.php?id=WGMxUkVjRVMxVTZqTTBFZ25yOFhwbEY0SWZDNmlCbERtZE1xVGRSWkdlZXpLMVNZWk1JZmxCRVI3QmxwNlB3U0ZpeExpd25QWTNNanZSY0VRUTRZSi9wVXpoS2dzM0JLd1B2aGk1Zk1KTjJEOXJlR1I0ZFdPTTlPa2dNWlg4TVQ=


    (you can also just log in using a new email, even a fake one)

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  3. I was locked out as I had read the previous article. I would love more details if you could add them to your blog. Which is excellent by the way :)

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  4. I think you are definitely right that Kate takes her style cues from Carole!

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  5. Suzanne in ColoradoDecember 1, 2018 at 7:26 PM

    P.S. I totally get her opinion that they don’t make many clothes for “women of a certain age”! Maybe she should start a fashion line!

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    1. Right?!?! I bet a Carole line would be fabulous.

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  6. This article is much better than the first with the tone being more complementary. This should have been the only article published. I don't understand why the interview was presented in two parts anyway as it was somewhat repetitive.

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    1. The first was meant to be an interview - the second was for Stella - the lifestyle magazine of the Telegraph - and was more about promoting the firm - it included Christmas tips and a link to the firm. That's why the tone was different - Stella articles have a softer focus. Worth remembering Stella has an online subscription service and its own social media. My feeling the purpose of the first interview was to get this second one with the Christmas tips. It's probably seen as very valuable to Party Pieces - look at the timing - right when people are thinking of Christmas. An interview that could be in the main news section may have been part of the agreement - I doubt Carole wanted it for any other reason - with mentions of Mrs Bennett - it did have a snide undertone.

      As I read it, Carole's firm has sold much in the States. I wonder if that market has diminished due to time and the arrival of Meghan changing the focus abroad with less written about Kate since that would be the main attraction for international purchasers. By this publicity - Carole seems to be trying to increase attention to her firm at home.

      The Telegraph rather muddied the two features by putting the Stella one also in their main news section. I suppose they thought it too good not to be a lead article but there was much redundancy. I suspect it was really meant for two different if overlapping readerships.

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    2. You could be right Julia that PP has sold alot in the US. I don't really understand why though unless it was purely a Kate effect. But even so... Perhaps I'm just not that into matchy-matchy party paraphernalia. I think it's fine to use paper plates in a multi-color design and have cups/napkins in a solid color. But when I glance through what's available at PP, it looks just like what's been available for many years at Walmart, dollar stores, and party supply stores in my fairly small town in the southern US. The only difference is that when buying locally exact matches for all accessories (plates, cups, napkins, tablecloth, swag bags) may not always be possible. Plus, not having to pay $50 for shipping!

      I'm glad the Middletons have been successful but I've got to admit it's hard for me to see how the catalog/online market for those products was ever that big. Carole says when they started, products weren't available locally and maybe that's still true in the UK?

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    3. Julia, I agree I think the interview was meant to market her company in Britain. I mean I don’t understand why people in the US would want to buy party supply stuff from Britain. There are tons of party stores and websites here to choose from. Why pay the extra international cost when you can get it for much less here.

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    4. I will have to strongly disagree that PP is anywhere on the map in the US. That is just simply ridiculous. Our stuff comes from Chinese suppliers (same as PP) with Walmart /dollar stores having whittled supplier profits to miniscule amounts. We pay rock bottom prices for retail in the US, far less than they do in the UK. Nobody goes shopping at PP for their kids birthday supplies. That is a crazy notion.

      I looked at the article again - 4000 orders per week at a peak time does not amount to a large profit annually. Assuming a large gross margin of $10-$20 per order that comes to a max of $80,000 per month at peak order period. This is with being very generous with the margin.
      By my guess, this probably translates to an enterprise valuation between $10-$20 million - meaning if they sold it today that is what they would get. Not bad for a small business. This is assuming a healthy valuation of intangible assets such as brand and customer lists etc.

      I think Carole and Mike are prudent, upper income people. Pretty much like other people everywhere in the world. Didn't waste money but aren't rolling in it either. Have to rely on work and not gigantic inherited capital to get through life. But they won't be leaving hundreds of millions to their grandkids - that's for sure.

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    5. I can't see why any of it would be on the map personally - it isn't my style, but I don't have little ones. But the article did speak of US business - I suppose solely because of the Kate connection. Since the items don't mention Kate I don't see that point - is it your own private satisfaction in knowing it came from Kate's family's firm - is it something you mention when someone compliments you? I have no idea. Royal connections can be a marketing prize - Hhence the 'by appointment'; but this connections seems tenuous at best.

      It was pointed out in a comment on the article that you can get the same item at Poundland for cheaper than PP - so again I'm not going to pretend to understand the business model even at home, especially in these days of Amazon and Etsy and eBay. The competition must be huge unless they have unique products. The mark-up is probably extremely high - that's all I can say.
      I'm not alone in being bemused by this. Here's a Telegraph article from 2010.

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-wedding/8147929/Royal-Wedding-Middletons-money-how-was-it-made.html

      The Middleton lifestyle as described has got even more expensive - the type of house they purchases after Kate's wedding, the way they holiday... Then there's James' failed businesses in which his parents were almost certainly investors. William's wealth as inherited from Diana also isn't in the category of the most wealthy so I don't quite see how it all works and wonder if anyone else has ideas.

      Since the royal gloss by association of the business would be lost if sold - I would doubt the sale value is that high. Not to mention the problems of a sale - the risk of the name being devalued by a subsequent owner which could embarrass the Middletons. So I would think they would just wind it up when retirement comes or maybe the idea is James will take it over. Kate is established as probably Pippa is - although her lifestyle sounds extremely expensive and there are prospective problems there as well. It's all a bit mystery-making.

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    6. Julia, I think I’ve always heard that the Middletons DO NOT invest in James’s companies and they do not bail him out. I’m not sure why they don’t, but it might allow them to step back and let him learn on his own. I do believe that he leased warehouse space from PP, though.

      ~ A

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    7. My guess is that they are being undercut by larger big box stores in the UK the same way that smaller independent retailers were in the US two decades ago and which eventually closed shop. I actually understand these things quite well because this is my field of work. The way the model for Amazon or Walmart works is: they take on HUGE contracts with suppliers from China - so they may have four different suppliers for a single hat and because they have economies of scale, meaning, they can place large orders, they have buyer power - being able to negotiate large hugely beneficial contracts with their suppliers. They can pitch suppliers against each other until they extract the lowest bit of surplus from them. This way they can obtain goods at a very low price, thereby giving very low prices to their customers. Hence "Low prices always" for Walmart. There are numerous stories of how Walmart is able to gain its upper hand - they negotiate contracts on a yearly basis. When their suppliers reach Arkansas for 9 am meetings often the Walmart buyers don't turn up till 4 pm - they are asked to wait in windowless rooms for that long - this is one of the numerous negotiation tactics they use with their suppliers. This is unfortunately how all large companies operate in the US, which has become an economy made up of oligopolistic businesses operating in their own fiefdom. Amazon is the same way, with even harsher practices towards suppliers - but if I start elaborating on that it will become a white paper in itself.

      Party Pieces, by virtue of their size won't be able to negotiate such contracts. They will be easily undercut by the likes of Amazon (for some of their products), and are probably being so, which is why I believe that this advertisement was taken out in the Telegraph.
      Their value will be at a minimum $10million - probably larger. Brand is not built on what it is worth after the royal connection - underwriters will not care about that, is my belief. Brand is about quality and about their business strategy. They employ a strategy that straddles both quality and price and have been able to hold their own even after the likes of Amazon. They have a reach which is based on a personal connection to their customers and by sourcing varied products - they carry themes that are not always found everywhere. That is their niche and that is how they have held their own. Their brand is worth something regardless of the royal connection. My prediction is that they will eventually sell. It is like Barnes and Nobles - the first company that one would have expected to fold after Amazon - yet it made a comeback by finding a strategy that gives its customers experience rather than just product. That way they have been able to hang on, even though Amazon should have wiped them off the map decades ago. PP is likely doing that, hanging on, but is also looking to expand further into some segments -maybe they think that the US is a growth area for them.

      As for the Middletons' lifestyle, those who invested wisely in the nineties' stock market made a killing. Gary was in the tech industry - I think he knew where to invest and Carole followed him. They have a nice principal sitting somewhere, is my guess.

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    8. Julia, I agree. PP may have been an innovative business at the beginning, now I imagine it is getting a lot of competition. And the Middleton life style is very high.

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    9. That makes sense, Julia. Two articles for two different audiences.

      I know someone who orders from Party Pieces every once in a while. There is a huge market for matching paper goods/ decorations for parties for young children. For the mom who wants something different than what all the other children are having, it's a good although expensive resource.

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    10. I believe PP set themselves apart from the big box stores because not everyone wants superheroes or Disney as their children's party theme and, while they also supply those characters, they have many other themes that are so lovely. One stop shopping for everything and you don't have to fight crowds of shoppers. During HM Jubilee they carried some very British party supplies that I'm sure ex-pats here in America did buy. We used to have several British markets in our area but they've all closed. We've got British friends who order from websites all the time for a bit of home. As to their lifestyle, part of the Middleton's wealth is a healthy sum Mike inherited and, while they take a big annual vacation and live in a large home, I think their lifestyle in general is that of fairly quiet country folk. We just happen to only see them at large royal family events.

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    11. That's exactly it, Robin. The last party I went to that had PP paperware was fairy themed and the stuff was beautiful, and I hadn't seen the design sold anywhere else here. Also, it's great quality. The paper plates and cups were sturdy.

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    12. Completely agree, Faith & Robin- and that is their niche. That is how they have differentiated themselves from the big box stores. While big box stores follow a "cost leadership" strategy, we would call PP's strategy that of "differentiation". That is the only was to survive against Amazon or Walmart, because they will never be able to match their prices. So they differentiate on the basis of some other dimension. That is why their brand is not nothing.

      I confess I did order from PP once for my daughter's party and really loved it - I know that makes me sound like a groupie. But it was much much more convenient than ordering hats and bags and table cloths and cake stands all separately from Etsy. If you have a theme in mind you can collect different items from Etsy or Amazon separately, but PP just gives it altogether. Firstly it looks more coherent and given the quality, the price isn't unfair.

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    13. And to clarify something, because I realized that I seem to be contradicting myself - while PP may have a small market in the USA I strongly believe it is small - very very small if not tiny. Just look at basic numbers and market share of big box stores, and that will give you an idea of how much of the market is occupied by independent retailers *cumulatively*.

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    14. Doesn't make you sound like a groupie at all. The company has great products that stand on their own regardless of the affiliation. What theme did you buy? I just took a peak and they carry a darling and very British, very un-Disney Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland that I would be all over if my daughter were younger.

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    15. Faith, it was Beatrix Potter themed ! It was for her fourth birthday, and she was into it then. But sadly the stories don't really grow with you, so it seems a different era especially with them getting into Harry Potter right now - I'm not complaining though as this is better LOL.

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    16. My daughter used the beautiful Alice in Wonderland themed pieces for our granddaughter's first birthday. It was so classic and beautiful.

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  7. I am totally genuine with this question: how were Kate and Pippa more conservative in their 20s than their peers were? I'm a year younger than Kate and I never thought she was "conservative". Granted, she wasn't wearing the outfits Paris Hilton was, but she would wear mini skirts and if she wore a long gown they usually had a plunging neckline (granted she doesn't have much in the way of cleavage, but it was showing skin). I wouldn't have described their style in their 20s as conservative and I wouldn't have described it as revealing.

    ~ A

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    1. Maybe she means conservative values, like waiting to have intimate relations with a committed partner instead of with a guy you just meet. They seem traditional in that sense.

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    2. I agree ~A. I don't think the clothing styles favored by Kate & Pippa in their 20s were especially conservative. In addition to mini skirts and midriff-baring styles, remember the dark Issa dress Kate wore that had a neckline that plunged almost to the waist? That wasn't a modest dress by a long shot. True, neither sister dressed like the Kardashians, but I doubt their "non-conservative" British peers did either! While I definitely wouldn't call their style "trashy" (or a worse term that probably wouldn't pass moderation) I certainly wouldn't call it "modest" or "conservative" either (and in the article, the author was clearly talking about clothing when she wrote K&P were conservative in their 20s.) Regardless of what the author meant, I don't know that we know enough about the details of their sex lives Anon 8:24 to make judgments about how conservative they were in that arena (nor am I saying we should know.)  Although the word conservative isn't the one I'd choose, I could make the case it's possible both were more interested in getting married and raising kids instead of having careers. The lack of a meaningful career for Kate perhaps can be explained by Will's desire she be available to him on a moment's notice 24/7 (yuck IMO) but prior to Kate's wedding, Pippa hadn't pursued a meaningful career either. In addition to PP, she'd had a few fairly brief outside jobs (PR,  event planning) but wasn't on any sort of discernible "career track," yet she was approaching 29 when Kate married. But the context in the article suggests both Kate and Pippa were modest dressers in their 20s and I don't see that at all. Perhaps the author has an odd group of 20-somethings in mind when she made that comparison judgment? Or she was trying to flatter?

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    3. I think there is a difference between conservative style of clothing and dressing modestly. I don't think the girls ever dressed modestly because not all of their dresses were to/below the knee, etc. But I do think they had a pretty conservative style. Their style wasn't much too different from what they are now. It evolved but didn't change, there is still that "Middleton signature" there. Young girls in America, in comparison, dress like ..... not in a conservative style in the context of everyday city style. It's something among no style rolled out of bed look, super casual sometimes to the point people can see your butt cheeks in those ripped jeans, or so revealing you might mistake one for a harlot. They just don't dress like adults. You almost never see one in a dress, and even less in a blazer. That's why the Middleton girls always stood out so much.

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    4. I think there’s a difference between not tying different career options and not succeeding Lizzie. Pippa did try a few different projects, they just didn’t go anywhere. We might be saying something different if her ventures had been more successful.

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    5. Maybe, Anon 8:17. I can't say your description of young American women's dress--- "no style rolled out of bed look, super casual sometimes to the point people can see your butt cheeks in those ripped jeans, or so revealing you might mistake one for a harlot" --- is at all consistent with what I see most young women wearing in my part of the US. That was especially true during the years the one or both of the Middleton sisters were in their 20s (approx 2001-2012) Do I ever see clothes of that sort? Of course. Is it common among 20-something women? Nope. I wouldn't even say it's common among teenagers but it is more common in that age group than in 20-something women, at least where I live. (I also see some young men wearing their trousers WAY too low on their hips but that's hardly common among all young American men!) Does that style seem related to subcultural influences? Yep.

      But the actual article quote is this:

      "Extrapolating from the way she and both her daughters have always dressed - modestly and, when they were in their 20s, in a noticeably more conservative way than most of their peers, one can deduce she means with a careful sense of decorum and appropriate diligence at all times."

      To me, the author is comparing Kate and Pippa (& technically Carole) in THEIR 20s with THEIR peers, not with 20-something women in some regions of America & in some American subcultures today. So saying Kate & Pippa's dress was modest & more conservative than their British peers doesn't make sense to me. Maybe the author was trying to say the Middletons have always appeared to pay attention to their clothing (I'd agree with that) and she just got carried away when using words like modest and conservative in a comparison/normative sense.

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    6. I am also confused to read that women in their twenties in the US dress like ".... no style rolled out of bed look, super casual sometimes to the point people can see your butt cheeks in those ripped jeans, or so revealing you might mistake one for a harlot."

      Where do you live Anon 8.17 LOL ? Because I don't know any 20 year olds like this. And I have had 20-something college-educated or college-going au-pairs (typically east-European), nannies and adhoc babysitters for the past eight years. They dress like Pippa and Kate did. Jeans and sweater/ jeans and jacket/ skirt and sweater. Granted not that many dresses except for parties. I don't know what social class of women you are talking about but girls raised in families like the Middletons - upper income, well-bred families, don't dress like this. Jane is likely a 20 something - do you dress like a harlot Jane? I am going to take a wild guess and say - No. I was a 20 something not that long ago and jeans and sweater/shirt/chiffon skirts and boots were my staple. What on earth are you talking about?

      Sheesh - please be careful before you make mass generalizations, Anon.

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    7. Lizzie I think that the author was a bit less careful with that. Kate and Pippa dressed typical of their social class and education. The author wasn't comparing apples to apples. I agree with you.

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    8. To those saying Pippa tried a variety of jobs and nothing amounted to a career...if you truly read the interview(s) Carole tried many, many jobs before creating and growing PP. Carole committee to the PP career at a younger age, but she was also married with kids. From the Middletons perspective Pippa’s jumping around of jobs may have seemed a normal part of exploration and growth. Then since her fame from the wedding many of her attempts flopped.

      ~ A

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    9. That's true ~A. The more unsuccessful endeavors of Pippa's I'm familiar with (the book on entertaining, the NBC "screen test") came after her debut at Kate's wedding. I was talking about the lack of a career trajectory from the time she graduated from university to when Kate married. The difference to me between Carole and her daughters is Carole was in her 20s in the 1970s, not the 2000s. Work opportunities---at least those that were "meaningful" and financially rewarding--- were sometimes quite rare in the 70s for women, especially those like Carole without a university degree. (At least that was true in the US.)

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    10. Lizzie, I don’t agree that there wasn’t a “theme” or trajectory to Pippa endeavors. Working for the family business, the party book, NBC show & waitress colu,n all fall under the umbrella of “lifestyle media.” Plenty of those things haven’t quite taken off on the way she may have hoed, but it’s not like she has been flitting between stints as a model then graduate degree in bird watching then pastry chef. She’s been exploring in the same general direction & for many many people her age the defined trajectory for a career simply isn’t there in the way it used to be so Pippas attempts seem more focused than I think she gets credit for. She’s staying in her wheelhouse and seeing what sticks.

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    11. True Anon 9:49. But most of the things you mentioned occurred AFTER Pippa was in Kate's wedding. I was talking about the period of time between Pippa's university graduation until Kate's wedding--- the bulk of time Pippa was in her 20s. Not the 7+ years since.

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    12. Lizzie, I honestly don't know what Pippa was or wasn't doing prior to the royal wedding.
      ~ A

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    13. According to Wikipedia prior to the royal wedding pippa worked in PR and events management

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    14. I only know it from the many articles written about her after Kate's wedding.

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    15. I moved to London from NYC in 2008... and lived in Chelsea not far from Kate. Being of similar age, I also frequent the same nightclubs and saw that posse not so infrequently. :). I can say first-hand that they did not dress any more or less conservatively than what was generally the style in London with that crowd in those days. I do remember thinking how boring people dressed and that NYC was much “cooler.” So I do believe that they dressed in keeping with their social norms and, while not adventurous, certainly not more conservative either.

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    16. I agree that in the southern US the teens and young 20s aren't dressing as 8:17 described but I can also tell you that there are so many of them here in CA who do. Belly shirts, shorts so short they should be called underwear, ripped apart jeans, and so many other rather trashy looks. While I wouldn't describe Kate and Pippa as modest dressers they were certainly more conservative.

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    17. RobinfromCA,
      Ripped jeans are not trashy.

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    18. Yes I have to agree - I wear ripped jeans on weekends !

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    19. Maybe I should clarify about the ripped jeans. Some of them have rips in areas that should be covered up. The amazing thing to me is the cost of buying jeans we used to throw away. :-0

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  8. This article was written much better than the last. As I was reading her quote about being knocked back and being brave to try again I was thinking "Brene Brown would love this". These interviews were smart of her to agree to, regardless of how the interviews came about. We see that her and Mike are solid partners in all areas of their marriage, and you can see why their children have been so composed and resilient with what they've faced with all the media attention. Further impressed with the Middleton clan!

    ~ A

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  9. They don't where the photos were taken, but the backgrounds are absolutely lovely. Wonder if it is in her house?

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    1. It is the Middletons home in Bucklebury.

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    2. Their home looks lovely (from what we can see!).

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  10. IMO the most flattering dress was the one she wore seated on the sofa, it looked lovely on her and the color amazing. The other two dresses, identical to Kate's, were flattering on neither women. Second article was a big improvement.

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  11. I suppose I need to correct myself and say the dress Carole was wearing as she sat in the window seat not the sofa.

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  12. I wonder when there next full overseas tour will be. I hope it’s sometime soon.

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  13. Jane is there any way you could share the second article on Carole Middleton? I was also locked out after registering & a message stated after reading one article I needed to sign Up for a subscription. I would so adore reading this second article & seeing Carole in the various photos. She is a lovely lady & it would be so inspiring to hear her thoughts .

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  14. I think as Kate has already have 3 children, she has decided that it is done for her and got rid of the the pregnancy wardrobe. May be she asked her mom to select her favorite pieces and store everything else away. In another instance Carol wears Kate's red coat visiting pippa, https://www.hellomagazine.com/fashion/royal-style/2018102063697/kate-middleton-lends-carole-red-coat/

    I think otherwise it is odd to think Mom will by 3 exact pieces her daughter wore in exact same colour. Knowing Middleton women, I think it is more believable that Carol took from Kate. Also I think it is not something bad. It is such a waste not to wear these beautiful pieces again. Carol might think it is not nice to get dresses Kate wore to public engagements, so she might tell a white lie to cover it up. nothing harmful. Also Kate wore one of Carol's dresses to her 1st public engagements. No harm in doing that. Also remember, Diana gave her clothe's to her sister. I hope we will get to see more of Kate's maternity pieces on Carol.

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    1. Anglophile in OhioDecember 3, 2018 at 7:46 PM

      Or alternatively, the dresses were actually Carole's to begin with and Kate borrowed them to wear when pregnant because they were shift style dresses with no waist. Kate has borrowed her mother's clothes before.

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    2. It makes better sense that those are Carole's clothes. Kate borrows them when pregnant. But I wouldn't have worn them to make the interview, it raises unnecessary questions. The only explanation I can see is the one given by Rosman, it gets PP more clicks.

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  15. And just.like.that. I want to read more and more about Carole Middleton. She seems like a confident, ambitious (and I mean that in a complimentary way) woman who enjoys her life and her place in history. I also surmise that to know more about Carole would be to understand more of how Catherine and Pippa navigate life. If that IS the Middleton home in the photos then I need a British country manor house. It's beautiful and oh so tasteful.

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  16. What a woman, much respect for Carole Middleton! This woman is a entrepreneur, a wife, a mother and grandmother and she manage it all so well. Respect for her!

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  17. Thank for sharing us the interview, after reading all, I can say, Carole is a wise e down to earth woman, suceeded businesswoman e mother, the interview is delicious, I know many person had interested because she is he mother the future queen, but you can see how this amazing woman guide her family and see her influence in Catherine's acts, the importance of the family, her vocation for the mothership, because Kate is good mother too, caring but put disclipine when it's necessary, You see why Catherine reserved because she learned with her parents to appreciate the privacity, since Kate started to date William, I saw the Middleton's being called "Social Climbers" many times but they always behaved in a dignified manner, I think this education e and way that Catherine was raised, helped her with Royal family, the future queen always been called classy and elegant lady, You can see that Michael and Carole made a great job.

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  18. This article is much better than the other one! Carole looks fantastic and I think she is a very smart and discrete woman, she managed to answered very naturally the questions that involved her daughter and family.

    About the dresses, she looks beautiful and I find natural that, if this is the case, she gets the clothes her daughter ni longer uses/needs but I would have avoided to use it for the interview (even if the dresses are hers). Knowing that every detail of the interview would be extra analyzed she could have avoided the potential criticisms (I have already read some on the dresses topic).

    BM

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  19. I have a great deal of respect for Carole Middleton as a woman, a Mom, and an entrepreneur. Both she and the rest of the family have been admirably discreet and supportive of each other. I think an article about Carole would be interesting even if she weren't Kate's mother.

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  20. What a great read! Such a shame they make these articles premium. Any way, so informative. She does seem very down to earth and her confidence is something to admire. Especially when she says 'everything she does isn’t about fitting in, but based on her own values and what she thinks is right’. That's so hard! Perhaps that's something you have to work on for it to become "not hard" We all have families and friends with lots of opinions, expectations, and advices. It can be hard to tune it out and focus and what you think is the right choice and not worry about how people are going to perceive it. Carole is such an inspiration.
    And what a beautiful home! Tips on home decor would be great too :)

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    1. Anon 9:36,You are so right! That's exactly what is so amazing about Carole and probably Kate (i want to believe she is like that too), she's doing what is right for her, according to her values and goals!

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  21. It's wonderful learning more about her. She is such a likeable, intelligent and driven lady. Catherine must be very proud of her parents :)

    Their home looks gorgeous. Love what we can see of the furniture and decor. I would love to see more of it.

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  22. I do wonder if these pics were actually taken in the Middleton home. We saw lots of external pics of it in run up to pippa wedding and these black framed Windows didn't feature anywhere. Random thought I know.

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    1. They were taken at the Middletons' home. Remember, they moved after the wedding. They upgraded to a big, beautiful house. I talked a little about the move in this post: http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/03/prince-georges-week-with-granny.html

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    2. Jane, I wonder if Anon 1:54 is talking about all the exterior photos we saw of the Middleton house/property in the lead up to and weekend of Pippa’s wedding. I think you’re talking about how the Middletons bought a new home after Kate’s wedding. ?? :-)
      ~ A

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    3. Yes its the run up to pippa wedding I am talking about. The house has white sash Windows. The Windows in this piece are totally different . I know they could have changed them but it seems strange

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    4. I, too, admit to questioning the interior. The home had to be redecorated at some point.

      http://www.mylusciouslife.com/royalty-kate-middleton-family-home-in-bucklebury-berkshire/

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  23. Honestly, why would you wear the same two (!!) dresses your daughter was photographed in? You're a beautiful Lady, Carol, but that is a bit embarrassing and strange.

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    1. I agree and I think they are the same dresses. There is also the identical Boden coat. Maybe they are having money problems?

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    2. I agree, that is a bit odd. I really like Carole (and the Middletons in general). She looks like she could be Kate's older sister.

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    3. It is the same style, but the dress is different--it isn't the one Kate wore. Carole was very clear on that point.

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    4. Not the identical dresses but the same style is still odd.

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    5. They have similar coloring so I, not surprised they would be drawn to the same pieces

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    6. I can see why Carole said the dress wasn't Kate's since Charles would have paid for that dress. Even if they do share Kate's clothes, with grumbles about royal clothing budgets always brewing, that's probably not something she and Kate would wish to have published in the Telegraph! But I still thought it was a little odd that 2 of the 3 dresses Carole chose to be photographed in for her first official interview were dresses Kate wore last year. You may be right, Jane, that Kate is taking sartorial cues from Carole. And Carole certainly looked nice in the photos, but I still think it was a bit odd.

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    7. I have to agree, Lzzie. Why wear dresses for a high profile interview that your daughter who is one of the most photographed woman in the world wore publicly? I'm sure she could have found other dresses that looked just as nice. Honestly, my first response was that they must be having major money problems and she couldn't spring for anything new.

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    8. I'm going to offer a *theory*. We often say Kate recycles her outfits for an event where she really wants the focus to be on the cause. Perhaps this was Carole's attempt to not have the articles turn into an internet frenzy of people trying to identify her outfits, but rather focus on her business and giving people insight into who she is and her family life.

      Regardless of why Carole chose these dresses for the photo shoot, she indicated they weren't the same ones Kate wore. I think the dresses look lovely on women from different generations - they're versatile and timeless. I also find that moms that are close in clothing size to their adult daughter's will sometimes buy the same clothing. Nothing seems weird to me.

      ~ A

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    9. Did Carole wear her own clothing for the photo shoots or was she styled for them?

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    10. It makes complete sense that Carole wore the same dresses that Kate did, whether or not it was the actual piece. Does anyone think it was a coincidence and Carole didn't really know what she was doing? I have a bridge to sell you then.
      This article was publicity for the 30th anniversary. Perhaps for growth in the US or UK, or perhaps to hang on to a shrinking market share - who knows. But the idea was to bring publicity. What better way to do that than to wear the same clothes her daughter wore? Guarantees pictures of Kate somewhere or her daughter mentioned with GOAT in the article, and this article pops up when someone searches Kate and her clothes. So even when the article fades from people's memory, it will pop up when Kate and her clothes are searched. Carole is nothing if not sharp. I think that is clear. And she has business acumen in plenty. I loved this little cheeky move of hers !

      As for whether or not it's the same dress - of course it is ! Come on. Of course she is not going to declare that and have Charles throwing another conniption fit and shove out more horrible stories in her face. She will pretend it's a different dress, but of course Kate passed them on to her. Frankly, I am just happy that the clothes are being worn by *someone*. Being pretty frugal myself I always cringe at the royal wardrobes. I suspect my values are very similar to Carole's. If I were her I would totally have told Kate - Give them to me if you're not going to wear them. Good for Carole. The more I learn about her the more I like her. I would totally want to be friends with women like her. Older or not.

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    11. My guess is that they are the same dresses as well, rosman, regardless of what Carol said. However, I'm more inclined to think they are Carol's, not Kate's since Kate has been known to wear her mom's clothes a time or two.

      Whatever the case, I get what you are saying about the possible marketing strategy using the dresses. Makes complete sense and I think you're correct but I still don't like it 😞

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  24. I think you're absolutely correct when you write that Carole Middleton's style influences HRH's...and not the other way around (at least that was the case initially); that's quite the revelation. And Pippa's interest in entertaining is very clearly also modeled after her mom's. Carole has led a remarkable life, and yes, her stratospheric social ascent is impressive (and I mean that in the best of ways–good for her and her family!). Her family is certainly not the first and it won't be the last in the long history of the British monarchy (the 19th century is rife with examples). I really do like her...and do I covet her lifestyle? You bet! Sylvia.

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  25. I'm of two minds about the wisdom of this interview Carole gave to The Telegraph. On the one hand, Carole has silently had to put up with an incredible amount of bashing in the British press (note: her husband was given a universal pass--classism, sexism, or both?) as have all three of her children, and has done so for a very long time; the temptation to vindicate herself, and by association, her children, might well have been strong. On the other hand, the Middletons were beginning to look awfully good when compared to the Markles, and breaking the very silence which was finally recognized and appreciated, might've been foolhardy. Personally, if I were Carole, I would've asked myself if any national paper in the UK would've been interested in my small business enterprise if it weren't for my connection to William and Kate--and I suspect the short answer to that is NO.

    I can't help but feel that Carole might live to regret this, and I did notice that, apparently, Mike wanted no part in it.

    JC

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    1. JC I think Mike frequently chooses to blend into the background. When James did an interview from his business's Bucklebury headquarters (space he rented from his parent's converted barns where PP is also headquartered), the interviewer had noted that Mike popped into say "hi" to James, and as soon as he saw the interviewer he turned on his heels and walked out, not to be seen again for the duration of the interview. My opinion on the Middleton's marriage/business partnership, is Carole is the idea generator, the networker, the saleswoman and Mike is probably the operations manager, business-minded one who holds down the fort while Carole visits her children/grandchildren in London. There are a lot of spouses who don't like the spotlight and I think that is fair.

      ~ A

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    2. I don’t know JC, I think party pieces would have been quite famous even if Kate didn’t meet or marry William. But I do think that pp would have only been famous in the UK and not aboard. I think the majority of non-British customers are due to Kate marrying William.

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    3. JC, I've been holding back on commenting because I am torn on the interview. (Very unusual for me!) I recognize that Carole has every right to promote PP and enjoy her (the family's) success. On the other hand, silence is golden and the stock has gained value in recent months.

      Regarding Mike, I don't think his silence should be interpreted as disapproval; PP is Carole's "baby" and I suspect he's content to stay in the background and let Carole do what she does best.

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  26. I really like Carole - she comes across as gutsy and a realist. I love her telling of her story and the little insights into her life ("hmm bills to pay" and being worried that the journalist will have to pay another return train fare - that definitely tickled me)

    I am also a little shocked that she is still working at the age of 63, given the fact that they are quite clearly financial comfortable, but again perhaps she wants to - she doesn't hang around on sofas in her own words (much unlike myself!)..This interview is more than likely a canny PR move regarding the emphasis of the Company in general with a view to selling same..

    It's a pity that not one of the off-spring are making moves to take it over, but then again I don't think anyone should be forced to do that either. I imagine Carole as practical and quite tough- you have to be to have had the success she has had - and say what you like, but party pieces was already a established successful business prior to Kate and William's relationship. You would definitely like to sit down and pick her brains a little bit more - what on earth has the last 15 odd years been like? Does she still pinch herself regarding the status quo? Despite her success, this is a girl that spent her early years in a Council flat and was essentially of working class stock.. she must stop to take a deep breath every now and then to take it all in.

    The job of the interviewer is to provide insight into the interviewee..I think the first interview achieved this.. it's neither fawning nor sarky, but gently probing and allows us a little look into this famously secretive, private family's matriarch. Carole, you have left us wanting to know more!

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  27. I think it is interesting that she chose England's right-leaning, Conservative Party supporting paper for this piece. They also are supporters of the British Royal family. And while I find it interesting, I really am not sure what conclusions to derive from that. Would love to hear thoughts.

    Also, JB, I did not perceive the first article as snarky so much as just written to give a different perspective on a person whom the world is clearly curious about.

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    1. Well Carole is not royal so I think it’s perfectly fine for her to show her politically leanings. If that’s what she was trying to do of course

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  28. Carole is a great role model for woman who want to start a buisiness as well as be a great mom and wife. I wonder if Kate buys party supplies from party pieces for her kids birthday parties. If she does I wonder if her and now Pippa get the party supplies for free, being that they are the owners daughters.

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  29. Thanks for finally writing about >"Carole Middleton in GOAT For Stella Special" <Liked it!

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  30. Does anyone know where the red dress with the tie neck is from? (The third dress!) thanks!

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  31. I wonder if members of the royal family like Autumn, Zara, and Sophie order pp supplies for their kids birthday parties. Obviously we will never know but it would be lovely if they did.

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  32. Jane, thank you to linking to the estate agent's photos of the Middleton home. The kitchen is intriguing--nice, big Aga stove--but there appears to be little workspace for prep and baking. Hopefully Carole specified a makeover that is more suited to a serious cook. Not sure if the stained monstrosity in the center is refrigeration, but that would have to go if I were cooking there.

    On a slightly different topic, I wonder if the Middleton family celebrates Twelve Days of Christmas? That time frame gets you over the hump of the dreariest winter days, ending with Twelfth Night on Jan. 5 or 6, depending on who you ask, and by then it's time for Catherine's birthday on the 9th--and the days are getting longer. I never forget because my daughter has the same birthday and 12 Days just works out really well in our family. We count Christmas Day as the first day, meaning Twelfth Night is Jan. 5 and the 6th is Epiphany. Grace

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    1. I'm interested in how you celebrate the twelve days, Grace. Do you celebrate Christmas traditionally and then exchange a gift on each day until the 5th? Do you have a king cake on the 6th?

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    2. Our 12 Days celebration varies, depending on weather and family travel plans, but the emphasis is on celebrating, hospitality and giving. Gifts need not be of the monetary kind. A clear sunny day here in Texas is a gift, and we might hike to a favorite spot and watch all the birds along the way (Audubon Christmas bird counts are a big thing in Texas--and the "12 Days" song has a lot of birds in it!).

      Good food and drink are key. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on Christmas, or Beef Wellington if it's just hubby and me. Yule log for dessert. One year on the fifth day--five golden rings--I made onion rings, a treat we never have otherwise. Always a milk punch, with rum, milk and simple syrup for eight maids a-milking. And so on...We have fun with it. It probably helps that I love spontaneity and activity. My mother's motto was 'Never sit down.' The main thing is not to stress out over anything!

      For Epiphany, I make a fruitcake and decorate it with glistening dried candied fruit to look like a jewel box, using Nigella Lawson's certosino recipe from her "Domestic Goddess" cookbook. Every Anglophile should have this cookbook for holidays; you can't go wrong with these recipes. Cheers! Grace

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    3. Thank you Grace! I've been thinking of creating a 12 days of Christmas tradition for my family. Yours sounds delightful. You've givem me some ideas.
      Anon 6:44

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