The Middletons’ Party Pieces has recorded seven-digit losses during the pandemic

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Personally, I’ve always questioned the Middleton family business, Party Pieces. It really never made any sense to me that a catalogue company supplying inexpensive party supplies would make the Middletons multimillionaires. I don’t doubt that the business was successful, mind you. I think Party Pieces probably could have afforded the Middletons’ a comfortable life. But all of the expensive private schools, the London apartment, financing Kate’s decade-long waity project… those bills add up. I think it’s a combination of things – the Middletons were, at various points, financially over-extended; dodgy Uncle Gary Goldsmith partially financed the Middleton lifestyle; and Party Pieces was moderately successful. The fact that Prince William gave the Middletons the down payment on their Bucklebury home is evidence enough for me that the Middleton finances are in shambles. Speaking of, Party Pieces has recorded seven-digit losses this year.

A business run by Kate Middleton’s parents has recorded losses of more than £1million after it was hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Party Pieces Holdings’ directors, which include the Duchess of Cambridge’s parents Carole and Michael, claimed losses were ‘forecast’ and blamed the shortfall on major restructuring.

It had assets of £175,000 but owed £1.2million to creditors, leaving it with an overall loss of £1.067million, according to its accounts. The Middletons teamed up with new investors to develop their party business – which they have run since Kate was a young girl.

Despite the pandemic, the directors claim to be ‘wholly optimistic’ about the future of the company. Its accounts read: ‘The company began trading in September 2019 to expand and develop the existing “Party Pieces” brand. Loan capital investments of £1.2million were made by the directors to finance four key areas.’

Changes included a new website, the creation of own-brand products, selling wholesale and selling in international markets. But a ‘number of challenges’ surfaced during lockdown, it added, when parties and large gatherings were banned to stem the spread of coronavirus.

‘The company faced a number of challenges during the pandemic and the associated lockdowns in respect of product availability and logistical problems, however was able to trade throughout,’ it said.

The accounts revealed the party company has not been negatively impacted by Britain leaving the European Union. It said: ‘During the year the company was preparing for the end of the transition period and UK’s exit from the single market. The trade deal that has been agreed has brought new processes in the import and export of goods, however the company has felt no significant impact.’

The first four product ranges in the Party Pieces own-brand collection will be launched this summer, it revealed. The report added: ‘The company has invested heavily in new innovative product ranges to create proprietary Party Pieces own brand merchandise. The first four product ranges with over 50 lines are being launched in the summer of 2021 with 2 new ranges to follow in the autumn. It remains a priority of the business to introduce new ranges continually. The losses in the year were forecasted and present the foundations that have been put down to trade successfully into 2021. The directors are wholly optimistic with the future forecast for the business to remain on plan in the year ahead.’

[From The Daily Mail]

I don’t have an MBA nor do I understand British business schemes, but all of this sounds kind of terrible! It sounds like the Middletons were badly overextended when the pandemic hit and their business is really hurting fourteen months later. It also sounds like they’re hoping that once people get vaccinated, they’ll be back to throwing parties and needing cheap Party Pieces-branded sh-t. I’m sure investors are lining up to provide a tax write-off to the in-laws of the future future king though, and I wish people would question that further. Of course, added to all of this is the fact that the most profitable part of the Middleton empire is likely behind the scenes, adjacent to Middleton Manor.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, cover courtesy of Good Housekeeping UK.

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157 Responses to “The Middletons’ Party Pieces has recorded seven-digit losses during the pandemic”

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  1. Aurora says:

    I don’t get how this company is making money in the era of Amazon.

    • Merricat says:

      Lol

    • Gruey says:

      Two questions for Brit readers:

      1) have you, or anyone you know, ever ordered from Party Pieces?

      2) is it actually so easy to order from Amazon like in the states? (I ask because my family who lives in Switzerland finds it pretty impossible so I’m wondering if Amazon is the competitor in Europe that it is in the states—and competitor is the wrong word, more like demolisher).

      • Gia says:

        Yes it is easy to order from Amazon. I can have a delivery either the same or next day. There is no way in hel! that Amazon hasn’t completely destroyed Party Pieces if there ever was a legit business in the first place

      • Snuffles says:

        Excellent question. I’m American and it’s super easy to order from Amazon. I have Amazon Prime and basically became Amazon’s bitch during the pandemic. I haven’t set foot in a store to buy anything, including groceries, for over a year. I get it all in Amazon.

      • Talia says:

        Amazon is possibly even easier in the U.K. – there is guaranteed next day delivery on most things which the US can’t always manage due to the size of the country. I use it for most things, particularly as I have Prime with free shipping.

        The only way Amazon wouldn’t have destroyed Party Pieces would be if they were selling through them and I don’t think they are.

      • Snazzy says:

        Ya I’m in Switzerland and it’s tough because Amazon doesn’t have it’s own swiss site. UK has the Amazon.co.uk but for Switzerland, you have to order through Germany (Amazon.de) or France (Amazon.fr) which means you don’t always get access to the same products.

      • The Hench says:

        1. I don’t know anyone who has ever ordered from Party Pieces.
        2. Yep, Amazon UK super easy and next day delivery if you have Prime
        3. I work in marketing and in business and none of the above makes any sense to me. When I read the headline I went “Of course – there’s been a pandemic and parties have been banned – not surprising” . Then I read the bunny from their report about expansion and new lines and own brand merchandise and went “Whoa, WTF??”

        ETA – who wants to bet that the “directors” who invested the £1.2m are Uncle Gaz and/or Willileaks?

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        They should simply acquiesce and partner with Amazon like everyone else. Or at the very least come up with an Amazon Party Piece group of products as on online gateway. But that’s probably too demeaning lol.

      • equality says:

        @The Hench That’s exactly what I was thinking about the investors. It’s still a way to launder Uncle Gary’s income from his own “product line”.

      • Larry says:

        There is Amazon, but there are also so many other websites on a national and international level that do party supplies (Meri Meri, or even Etsy) – I don’t see many people even remembering Party Pieces exists, let alone using it for party supplies. Unless they are Royalist/Middleton stans, that is.
        Though, it’s not unheard of for businesses to take out significant loans and overextend their finances, for it to then go wrong and them not being able to repay those loans and go bust (in this case a pandemic where human interaction is an absolute no no). Happened to my FIL’s agricultural business (in the 1990s?), where he took out significant loans to expand and then the harvest went tits up. The business going under was such a big deal that it apparently made Radio 4 back in the day.

      • Mac says:

        The purpose of PP branded products is to sell via third party retailers like Amazon. It’s a good business move.

      • GRUEY says:

        I know it’s only anecdotal that none of you have shopped at Party Pieces (lord knows there are plenty of chains in parts of the US that I’ve never even heard of but are quite profitable—then again the US is huge). But it is interesting that none of you can even say that while you personally haven’t shopped on PP, you are aware of its popularity more generally.

        Thanks for the answers everyone!

      • Sofia says:

        @Gruey: the reason why we know it exists is because we’re royal watchers/into royal gossip. If you don’t care much for the royals (which is true for the majority of the UK and other countries), you’re unlikely to know what party pieces is.

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @Gruey
        1) No.
        2) Amazon is incredibly efficient in the UK. They do same-day delivery of everything from French fries to French doors.

      • Ann says:

        I’m not British so I can’t comment on Party Pieces, but I will say that though I use Amazon a lot there are a couple of other places from which I will order party supplies. Specifically, for Halloween, cheap little things to give away so I have something besides candy, and also for a couple of school carnivals I’ve done. These sites are more specific than Amazon, they don’t have everything, but what they have is cheaper.

        But it doesn’t sound like Party Pieces is doing well.

      • Sunnee says:

        Like Gia, I’m doubtful PP was ever as successful as the media portrayed it. Even prior to the pandemic I wondered how they could possibly be a multi million dollar company. To me it was all smoke and mirrors. Of late they claimed Kate earned £8m from her work there before joining the royal family. And I was seriously puzzled; like how is that possible? I came to the conclusion that it was just their way to one up the fact that Meghan was a self made millionaire prior to marrying Harry. The RF and BM are so embarrassingly transparent and amateurish with this embiggening of the Middletons.

    • Lemons says:

      If they were smart, they would start selling their products on Amazon.

      • JT says:

        Would selling their products on Amazon bring more scrutiny? Their business does not seem legit, so maybe they can’t sell through it. They are also operating at a significant loss. How they functioning at all is mystery to me and yet they are expanding their services. It’s very fishy.

      • Harper says:

        Partnering with Amazon would not trigger any added kind of public scrutiny regarding its finances. Thousands of small businesses sell through Amazon, and Amazon makes it ridiculously easy to sell. A small company like Party Pieces could ship all their products to the Amazon warehouse and Amazon would fulfill the orders and ship them and then take a percentage–maybe twenty, maybe thirty percent but totally offset by the increase in sales the company would garner by being on Amazon.

        The only potential embarrassment that could occur is that the sales rankings are visible to the public. The media could definitely pounce on the fact that Party Pieces is ranked #3,444 in the Party Supplies categories which would not look good for the royal adjacent egos, but at the same time, PP could buy their own merch to increase their rankings too. Bad reviews can be offset by fake reviews. It is weird that PP isn’t on Amazon, so my conclusion is that the business hasn’t been supporting the family for a long, long, time. Otherwise, a savvy businessperson like CarolE would have pounced on an Amazon partnership long ago.

      • GRUEY says:

        @harper, that is such a good point. It’s so easy to sell via Amazon that it raises serious questions about why they haven’t. Almost 100% of the brands I buy have some kind of presence on Amazon, though some have barely anything at all, like a Patagonia, and some nothing, like LL bean. But those have a brand identity that goes against Amazon’s ethics. PP should have no such issues I would think.

      • Lemons says:

        @Harper, it’s definitely true that their business would become more transparent on Amazon. But it’s pretty obvious that their lifestyle isn’t funded by PP income. It’s either the loans from banks, “investments”, or w/e under the table dealings they’ve got going on.

      • Tanya says:

        Eh, Amazon is fraught with issues. Lots of brands won’t sell there because counterfeiting is an issue. I’ve gotten fake beauty products, sandals, etc. Amazon itself is a threat; it keeps track of what sells well and will undercut with their own version if you’re successful enough.

    • TabithaD says:

      This business has never made sense to me. They’re just selling party kits and assorted tat, you can pick that stuff up from any supermarket these days (and Amazon of course). Even when they started out, they weren’t the only people doing this. Plus it’s neither high volume nor high retail cost stuff, so I’m highly sceptical as to the level of wealth it is claimed to be generating.
      There’s a whole lot of smoke and mirrors around the Middletons’ finances.

      • anotherlily says:

        I’m convinced Gary Goldsmith is where it makes sense. My theory is that alongside his legitimate recruitment business was a drug dealing and possibly sex trafficking business and he used Party Pieces to launder his ill-gotten gains. Party Pieces might even have been his idea. A small family business importing large quantities of low value goods from the far east is probably an easy way to hide fraud. Until recently PP ran as a private company which didn’t need to publish accounts. It has now partnered with a ‘holding company’ which can be a way of avoiding going into liquidation.

        My guess is that an ‘Unexplained Wealth Order’ investigation, or the threat of one, may have been the trigger for this apparent downturn in Middleton fortunes.
        This change in the law was introduced in 2017 and initial targets were people who had bought London properties for cash. The Middletons put their cash-bought London flat up for sale for £1.95million in 2018. It sold for £1.88million in September 2019.

        The Daily Mail seems to have now acquired Gary Goldsmith as a spokesman for the Cambridges. It’s all very odd.

    • Indiesr says:

      But this explains all the Kate is all that and William can’t do without her stories that has been rampant lately, since they need Kate to stay married to the future King so they can easily get out of all this debt. Who wouldn’t want to give them money to be in the good graces of the future monarch? :)

      • A says:

        I actually think uncle Gary is probably going broke as well, hints the non-stop talking all of a sudden. Back in the day baldamort or chuck could probably just throw him a bone and stop him. Now having to possibly look into bailing Kates parents out it’s not possible so on he goes by way of getting money from the tabloids. The problem becomes he can only get so far with the Kate is great/Meghan and Harry bad. I do wonder with some interest what’s going to happen when these people he’s being paid by start wanting more for their investment.

    • Sue E Generis says:

      I don’t get how they made money before. Not the kind of money needed to finance their lifestyle. I read a lengthy, in depth article on their finances some years ago and it was abundantly clear that the numbers do not add up. They never have. They sell low-end items in the single and double digits that they purchased from a wholesaler. And, apparently, they were nowhere close to being the major players in the market. Their purchases reflected a very minor mom and pop setup. I even went to their site and it was obviously unprofessional and second rate. There is no way that business paid for anything.

    • DuchessL says:

      I think they tried to find all possible ways during the pandemic to make the loss as heavy as possible on the business because the royals – not being political – know all about politics – and probably there will be some kind of subsidy to roll back the economy and the middletons want to make sure they get a piece of that money pie. They are going to milk any cow after the pandemic.

    • Lizzythe2 says:

      There are plenty of people that are all about buying local and helping their local economy. Not some person who tries to stop employees from unionizing to get better working conditions. I know plenty of people who don’t buy anything from Amazon.

  2. Cecilia says:

    “Despite the pandemic, the directors claim to be ‘wholly optimistic’ about the future of the company“

    Probably because a certain future king will be there to help if it all goes to shits. Honestly if i were charles i would hold on to those 2 duchy’s.

    • Snuffles says:

      I wonder if Charles is letting the Middletons run their mouths (dig their graves) because he’s planning on dropping the hammer on their business dealings soon.

      • Cecilia says:

        Nah i think he’s letting them run their mouths because the middletons have something on the windsors. Don’t forget that the media is hiding something that got to do with william. I bet the middletons also know what it is and the windsors simply don’t want them to talk.

      • Snuffles says:

        @cecilia

        But, if the media already know and are keeping a lid on it at, say, the Queen’s request, then what power do the Middletons have?

        I do agree they probably know things but so do a hell of a lot of other people. Therefore they have no real leverage.

      • Harper says:

        The Windsors believe that for the monarchy to survive, Will & Kate have to be the perfect normal family–they have to erase the mess of Chuck & Di. And Andrew and Fergie. And now Harry and Meghan. No pressure, there, huh? CarolE knows this–so she runs her mouth because she knows they can’t/wont do anything about it. As long as Kate behaves, I guess they will tolerate CarolE’s gossiping to Page Six and the Tominey.

      • Mac says:

        The Middletons are private citizens. Charles has no authority to interfere in their lives.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Mac – It’s not a matter of “authority” but influence. Charles could certainly say to William “get your in-laws to stop running to the press if Kate wants another round of bespoke coatdresses” but so far he hasn’t.

      • Mac says:

        Charles would never pit himself against the Midds with William. He may be clueless, but he isn’t stupid.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        This is bad press no matter how they try to spin that optimism post quarantine.
        No way this article got out on a whim. Someone wants to let the Midds know their place is not secure.

      • February-Pisces says:

        One thing I have learnt about Charles since the Oprah interview is that he is one sneaky mother f*cker. Outwardly he looks like he doesn’t get involved or do anything, but he is very much a snake working behind the scenes. Whatever is going on Charles is definitely doing something about the middletons.

        Willie and keen were too dumb in the smear campaign against harry and Meghan. I mean they got their mouthpieces to trash the Sussex’s whilst praising them, but didn’t expect people to connect the dots?

        Charles was smart in the fact he keeps his name completely out of the narrative, that way no one notices him. I think he’s probably doing the same to the middletons.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Whatever the Midds have on William is nothing compared to what the BRF and UK government have on the Middleton, especially Shady Uncle Gary. When the time comes, Charles and William will team up to banish the Midds.

      • Nic919 says:

        I agree that Charles knows how to play the game. He has only been dragged into things because Harry called him out on cutting the money for security but outside of that it’s been Knauf and angry Billy getting the blame for what went on with the Sussexes departure.

      • Noo says:

        I love it @snuffles. FFK’s coke dealer is Gary Goldsmith! And GG ain’t no fool he has the receipts!

      • Demi says:

        I think the Middletons+ Kate have this deal with William ” will keep quiet about your affairs as long as you support us financially” their running to the press with the puff pieces about kate just to remind William how much he needs kate for his family man image

    • The Hench says:

      Weelll, we’ve had plenty of rain here in the UK and now it’s warm and sunny so the Bucklebury pot farm is probably growing great guns…..

      • JT says:

        Even if the Middletons knew something about the Windsors, the firm would still bury them and they’d have the entire BM on their side. Look at what they are doing to Harry. Look what they did to Meghan. CarolE wouldn’t stand a chance and Kate’s position would get even more uncertain. So much of her own PR is dependent on her “good and decent family.” If they took a hit, she would too.

      • The Hench says:

        @JT – yes, ITA. The Middletons wouldn’t stand a chance in a PR fight with the Windsors even if they were fine, upstanding members of society with nothing to hide. Throw in Uncle Gaz, the rumoured pot farm and company financials/expenditure which just do not add up and it will be a bloodbath. No amount of Carole-briefed “Kate is the Monarchy’s Rock” nonsense will prevent that.

      • JT says:

        The Middleton’s dodgy business dealings sounds like a good reason to divorce, if William needed a scapegoat. It would look awful if the FFK were involved in such shadiness. Kate should watch out and put a muzzle on uncle Gary.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Charles will become Duke of Lancaster the moment QEII dies. He cannot retain Duchy of Cornwall, that automatically goes under the control of William the moment Charles becomes king. It is not private property, it has a board of trustees that oversees it and where the money goes. What Charles can control is the Prince of Wales title, when and if he chooses to award it.

  3. Keen Kate says:

    “dodgy Uncle Gary Goldsmith partially financed the Middleton lifestyle”

    Me thinks possible money laundering more like (he boasted he could get drugs and prostitutes for an undercover reporter).

    • Chrissy (The Original) says:

      Agree. It’s all smoke and mirrors with this crew. I hope some investigative reporter does a deep dive into their company and gets to the truth.

  4. NTheMiddle says:

    Can you use party hats as rolling papers?

  5. Amy Bee says:

    There were rumours that the business was in trouble a whole year before the pandemic hit. It’s likely that William and the other son in law has been giving the Middletons money to stay afloat. The reason Carole has been doing all those interviews was to promote her struggling business. No doubt KP gave a helping hand in getting those interviews and write ups including the disastrous Tatler piece.

    • Cecilia says:

      Maybe this is one of the reasons why the middletons are riding this “kate must be queen and charles must be skipped” campaign so hard?

    • Snuffles says:

      Could explain the desperate PR to skip the line of succession. They need access to that royal money.

  6. Snuffles says:

    I strongly suspect dodgy finances and unethical if not illegal activities behind the business. They better hope their books are on the up and up because if the BM can’t get their claws into the Sussex’s, they need another whipping post. And I would bet Big Willy would aim them towards the Middletons to continue to keep the heat off himself.

    • Merricat says:

      I wouldn’t mind a ringside seat for the fall of the house that karma built.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      There is an article from years ago that explains how the Middletons made money – it also explained that they have several shell businesses where money is passed through to avoid paying UK tax. There was an off shore business account as well I think. It basically said they were committing legal money laundering to minimise their tax bill to HMRC.

      PP also took a massive financial hit when the EU introduced the GDPR (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation) which drastically limited their ability to sell their customer lists which they apparently made a lot of money off doing.

      Also I didn’t realise it had been confirmed that William had given them the cash needed ti buy Middleton Manor – I thought i was just rumour.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        I can’t find the article anymore. It was on the DM in a pro middleton piece that their son in law (William) generously helped them with what sometimes sounded like a loan and other times a gift from his personal funds. Reasons being they weren’t safe in their old neighborhood because they were too high profile.

        This was also to distract from the news they were in massive debt and double mortgages on their old property. Found after they applied for a loan in another country’s bank.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Wiglet I don’t want to go searching on the DM lol but at the time I thought it was put out there that William helped them with the house because they needed “additional room for security” since Kate was there so much with the kids (so for the RPOs.) and the timing was interesting because it was right after he came into his full inheritance from his mother, IIRC. So my guess is that he did give them a lump sum for the house and someone in the press knew it so it was put out there that it was for “security” (and that William was such a good son-in-law, he felt responsible because of his role so he paid for it, he didn’t want that burden on them, etc.)

      • Elvie says:

        This is the conclusion I’ve come to.

        The trading company is likely registered as a “number company” or Holdco and Michael and Carole are not directors and I wouldn’t be shocked if the ultimate company were registered in Guernsey with 0% tax and lax audit rules.

      • Jais says:

        @digital unicorn- you spoke of them being hit hard by the GDPR introduced by the EU? No lie, understanding this is not my strength, but is that why the article says that PP has not at all been hurt by Brexit? Has it really not been hurt by Brexit due to this GDPR thing already hurting it or are they just stressing that cuz they’re so pro-Brexit? Not sure if my questions are totally making sense

      • The Hench says:

        @Jais – Brexit is really biting companies in the ar*e who trade outside the UK – whether selling abroad or getting materials in. It’s possible that PP trades entirely and only inside the UK – but kind of unlikely. I have friends running really small UK businesses who are struggling with the additional costs imposed by Brexit.

        But then, as Elvie has discovered from Companies House, if PPisn’t trading at all then, yeah, that would mean Brexit doesn’t affect them too….

      • Nic919 says:

        Middleton Manor had “security upgrades” that were paid for by the taxpayer because Kate was staying there so much early in the marriage.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        @Jais – GDPR was introduced in 2018 before Brexit happened and is still part of UK law (at the moment). It hit a LOT of companies and charities who relied heavily on the trading of lists, as up until it came into law a company could sell your details on without your explicit consent which they have to do now.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Becks
        That came not long after on all the ever changing narratives the BM put out. That they needed a larger home for when the Cambridges visited to accommodate their security. Later it was an issue of building a new wing, kitchen, servants quarters and a security building for when Kate moved in for over 6 months. Which was all covered by tax payers.

        The articles are all in CB archives. It’s just a lot to dig through if you don’t know the exact date the articles came out.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        The ‘security’ upgrades to Middleton Manor cost the taxpayer around £1mill – they got a new drive as well as a lot of internal renovations done that to me did NOT look like security related.

        The Middletons are grifters just like the white Markles and the Trump clan – it doesn’t get covered by the BM cause they (the Middletons) got in bed with the press years ago. Carole and Mike are allegedly ‘family friends’ with Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Fail.

      • Jais says:

        Thanks for the responses back about the GDPR!

  7. Becks1 says:

    I can see how this company was successful in the 80s and even the 90s, but now? in 2021? If I’m buying something online for a bday party, it’s either going to be from Amazon or Etsy. If I want something more themed than I can get on Amazon but more convenient than Etsy, I’m going in person. I would never use a site like this in 2021. And I’m sure even if people were otherwise using it, they weren’t in 2020. PP should have made a very quick pivot to Cards in the Yard type of products.

    Anyway I’m not a business person so I can’t tell if this is just about a restructuring and leveraging losses and assets or whatever or if the business is actually in trouble. Regardless though I think its clear that the business has not brought in the kind of money the Middletons want us to think it has and Uncle Gary financed a lot of the Waity years.

  8. Eleonor says:

    I am sorry for those who will lose their jobs, that’s all I have.

    • Seaflower says:

      Long time lurker who does lots of company restructures here. Given they only have 50 staff (see Elvie’s post below), they will not save the sort of money they need to by laying off staff, unless they laid off 30 who were all paid over 80k. I don’t know wages in the UK but I doubt employees at PP are on that as an average salary. Most of their staff would be warehouse/low level marketing/customer service or order fulfillment. Given they are bread and butter operational jobs needed to run the company/fulfill orders, laying them off would mean delays in servicing customers – a death knell for this time of business these days against amazon etc.

      I suspect the “restructure” is more about creating more companies offshore or wherever that they can pass money through undetected (cough cough).

      That might be how PWT gets rid if KKKate, “your family bringing the Firm into disrepute – here’s 30m to go away and never breathe to a soul or all bets on the finances are off and the Tax office will be looking into your parents”.

      Just my 2 cents. Off back to lurking.

      • JT says:

        @Seaflower That is a good theory. The Middletons getting into financial trouble would absolutely look bad for the firm, especially with William having to give them money for their home and who knows what else.

  9. Ginger says:

    It still amazes me that a company that sells cheap party supplies ( that you could get at a dollar store) made this family millionaires. Definitely money laundering going on.

    • Snuffles says:

      Possibly for Uncle Gary? Family scheme?

    • Nomegusta says:

      Oh, heck yeah

      Carole’s about to start dropping her cash app at the end of interviews

    • MaryContrary says:

      I’ve said this for years. There is ZERO way they could afford the ginormous house, London apartment, part ownership of a race horse (eye roll)), and all the other wealthy people accoutrements that they display based on that business alone. They did not have serious family money to begin with (other than the supposed educational trust set up by Mike Middleton’s family) so there were some very creative money management/laundering set up.

      • Maria says:

        Yep. They paid cash for that London flat too, when Kate moved to London after graduating St. Andrew’s.
        Money laundering. Possible drug/sex trafficking money from Gary. Data selling.

      • Harper says:

        Uncle Gary had to have pitched in to make all that happen. I think once Kate got to Marlborough, then got into St. Andrews, then got close to Prince William, Carole started Operation Queen Kate in earnest, and sold Uncle Gary on being an investor. And why wouldn’t he invest in making his sister’s daughter the FFQ of England? They decided that Kate having a regular job and income and potentially losing Will because of it didn’t make financial sense, so they supported her, figuring the amount of money she could make with an art degree vs. the windfall from becoming the future Queen did not compare.

        But now, ten years in, where is Uncle Gary’s payoff? He doesn’t have access to the real royal stuff and I think he must by now know that Will is a wanderer–maybe he saw it on Twitter himself and thought shoot–when do I get mine from all of this support? What if the Cambridges marriage is unstable? So now Uncle Gary is making himself a Royal commentator, bashing H&M, proposing that Charles give way to Will & Kate. He is getting some media fame for himself, and maybe position himself as the Middeton spokesman for the coming breakup? Who knows?

  10. Wiglet Watcher says:

    No doubts one of the middleton side hustles is the cannabis farm adjacent or on their property. That smells of uncle gary and it would be a huge money maker. It would also be criminal. Which is why I think publications liked saying the property was “adjacent “ and then never having a follow up article.

    If you lived in that wealthy area wouldn’t you push to know how there was an illegal cannabis facility on or near your property run by people that would have to be trespassing on your land from time to time?

  11. aquarius64 says:

    To me it looks like having royal connections is no guarantee of financial success. The Middletons didn’t work up a plan B due to the pandemic and relied on Bill to bail them out. Even with new plan the Middletons are still relying on being royal adjacent for a return to fortune.

    Side note: Bill putting up the down payment for Buckburry Manor explains why the Markles kept baying for money from the Sussexes: royal in-law= family ATM and loan officer (where the note doesn’t have to be repaid).

  12. OriginalLala says:

    I’ve never understood how the business made them rich – its all cheap crap that you can get for cheaper at other stores. Definitely shading things going on behind the scenes.

  13. Harla says:

    I think that Moderately Terribly Wealthy James is propping up yet another Middleton business. It must be such a joy to marry into that family *eye roll*

    • JT says:

      Didn’t he give Kate’s brother a job on his property as well? I guess we know why Mama Miss wanted her daughters to marry well, she needs the in laws to prop up the family. But Meghan is the gold digger?

    • UnionSnack says:

      The most intriguing is why Prince Baldylocks didn’t help, according to press he is so supportive to his in-laws and gets so well on them!
      Seems Wills is tired of midds. Poor ma, this boy is her meal ticket!

      • JT says:

        Maybe he is getting tired. If he funded their home in Buckleberry, what else has he funded? I’m absolutely certain the Middletons get all sorts of business deals because their son in law is the future king. Maybe he’s tired of being used as a meal ticket? I would.

      • MaryContrary says:

        Isn’t he notoriously cheap?

      • Nic919 says:

        William is very cheap and if he can get someone else to pay for it he will. Note all the gifts Kate gave herself because William couldn’t be bothered to do it.

        It will be interesting once William has access to the money from the Duchy of Cornwall. With the way that the Middletons have been slamming him with their separate PR they may have to circle back because he will control the purse strings then as Charles does now.

      • notasugarhere says:

        If William did fund all or part of the new Midd Manor? It would/could be perceived as a post-nup. Meaning Kate would get next to nothing in a divorce.

  14. Elvie says:

    So – I’m a financial statement auditor at a big firm in London. Let me tell you some things:

    - Party Pieces Holdings Limited was incorporated in 2019 to “expand the business”.

    - The other 2 companies where Michael and Carole are listed as directors are both dormant and have been since the 90s and early aughts respectively.

    - Party Pieces has assets of less than £5M and employees less than 50 so they do not need to disclose their Profit and Loss Statement and they don’t need to be audited.

    - The only money that appears to have come in is this £1.2M loan that they then spent on “Research and Development” … it looks like they didn’t actually trade at all, but if they did the funds would be very modest based on their balance sheet alone.

    - I cannot actually find any company with financial statements where Michael and Carole Middleton are the directors that trades between 1993 and 2019 … so I’m unsure under what name Party Pieces previously operated under for the last 26 years, which is baffling.

    But the new website it spent all its money on is very nice.

    • The Hench says:

      Wow. Good sleuthing @Elvie. And it all continues to look v dodgy.

    • Becks1 says:

      I don’t understand the part about no financial statements with them as directors from 1993-2019 – we know Party Pieces was a business, was it just operating under a completely random name?

      • The Hench says:

        They could have called their company Botch It & Scarper Holdings Ltd for all we know and Party Pieces was a brand within that but the *company* has always been referred to as Party Pieces – so it’s still weird. Maybe they started a new company under a different name precisely to shield themselves from nosy people like us looking up their financials and speculating.

      • Elvie says:

        That’s the confusing part Becks!

        @The Hench: Companies House website lists every single company you’ve ever been a director of in the UK. For Carole and Michael its only 3 companies, Party Pieces Holdings Limited and then these 2 dormant companies.

        SO I’m going with Guernsey registered company.
        (Context for non-Brits: many UK based companies are registered in the Channel Islands are do not need to publicize their finances and pay 0% tax).

      • The Hench says:

        Thanks @Elvie – I was about to ask that question re searching via director rather than company name. So yes – registered in Channel Islands makes sense.

      • Jaded says:

        @The Hench – “Botchit and Scarper Holdings” … LOL!!! You win best comment of the day!!

      • RoyalBlue says:

        @Becks, there have been articles saying it was a partnership previously and under no obligation to file public accounts. so they intentionally changed it from a partnership to a corporation only recently.

    • Emily says:

      What’s a normal asset to debt ratio? The Daily Mail article says they have assets of 175,000 and debt of 1.2 million. Is that normal? Because to me as a non-finance person that looks messy. Especially because it’s not like they’re some new startup.

      • Elvie says:

        So they have total assets less current liabilities of £175k which for a company this size is not unreasonable. Basically breaking even – then there’s the £1.2M loan injection they mention below that which is putting it at a loss for the year.

        If this company was required to be audited (but its not because of the size) there would be a modified audit opinion on material uncertainty related to going concern (basically the auditor saying – we think this company is going to go belly up). I wouldn’t sign a clean opinion on these in this economic climate.

        I did note that the stock levels seem really low – again, they’re not selling much because they’re not carrying much stock on hand imho.

    • BeanieBean says:

      It is a nice website & very different from their earlier one, which looked very much like a family-owned/operated business. The new one is slick, but a little…generic looking, I think. And it has a lot more product choices.

  15. RoyalBlue says:

    Interesting. Wonder how come the financials have been revealed now. Being a private company, the financial health of the company was always kept secret so who has leaked this information. I wonder if this is the Charles camp trying to pull the Mids down a peg or two.

    There was previous analysis that the family did not under any circumstance get rich off of Party Pieces. No way, no how. Even with selling consumer names before GDPR it was not possible. My gut tells me they were partly financed by the inheritance via the Trust that kept them afloat and also partly by slick Willie, Trying to wrap my head around why would uncle Gary pay for a london apartment and help buy their berkshire home and not keep them in his name if it were his money.

    • Elvie says:

      No one leaked the info – the financial statements have to be filed with Companies House annually. I literally just looked them up. https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/12191766/filing-history

      What’s confusing as I noted above is that this company is newly incorporated in 2019 and there’s no past UK Company that hasn’t been dormant for a decade and a half – so where were sales (if any) and why the sudden urge to rebrand? Certainly Michael and Carole would be thinking of retiring or winding up the company soon not “reinvigorating” it.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        maybe they changed it from a partnership to a company, which was why there was no previous filing.

      • Seaflower says:

        Setting it for sale maybe? Spend money to make it look legit/profitable, rake in a few million through sale, ride off into the sunset as the new owners discover they’ve been sold a lemon?

      • LaraW” says:

        Maybe looking even broader might provide context? What was happening in 2019 in Kate’s life?

        Also, if they incorporated in 2019, is it possible they discussed and planned it in 2018?

      • notasugarhere says:

        Carole has been trying to sell PP since what, 2018? The series of interviews she gave, bashing Meghan and promoting herself and Kate were a tip-off. As for what was happening to Kate in 2018/19? Rose was happening.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        Yes, agree with all comments. I believe it was transitioned from a partnership to a corporation to sell it, all timed around the time when all the powdery Mommy dearest PR pieces came out. Probably a fire sale with those books of accounts, they will take whatever they can get. I can’t imagine it was haemorrhaging money like a sieve all those prior years. wtf. were they really laundering $$ for uncle G all along?

      • Becks1 says:

        Hmmm…maybe they started floating around the idea of selling it in case they needed cash in the event of a messy divorce.

  16. Sofia says:

    It’s not super surprising. I’m in the UK and don’t know anybody who orders from PP. If people want birthday party supplies, they just go to Tesco/Asda/Sainsbury/Amazon. I don’t think the people I know even *know* about party pieces so that could be it.

    It also makes me wonder what Carole and Mike’s plan for PP is. Carole is 66 and Michael turns 72 this month. They’re not super old but I’m sure they’re starting to think about the future? Are they hoping to sell it to some big corporation? Are they going to wind it down in 10 or so years time when they’ll be 76 and 82? If they’re going to leave it to the kids, who’s going to run it? Kate can’t so that leaves James and Pippa. James isn’t that great with business so that really just leaves Pippa. But in my opinion, these family businesses only survive if the kids are taught how to run them and I doubt Kate, Pippa and James have been taught how to run them. (James maybe)

    • Brielle says:

      Kate the big social media strategist, the crown jewel,the Windsor’s Pilar!! Of course she could run it😂😂

      • Sofia says:

        But if she runs it, how is she going to have time to be the bestest fewtcha fewtcha keen kween konsort the kountry has ever seen?!?!?!!? The top CEO needs her holidays and breaks!

      • Jaded says:

        Yup…run it into the ground.

    • MaryContrary says:

      Yeah, my theory when Carole was doing the interviews last fall was that they were trying (unsuccessfully) to unload it.

    • TigerMcQueen says:

      I think they need to keep up a pretense that it’s still a viable company, because how else can yucky uncle and others funnel money them?

  17. Basi says:

    All sorts of shadiness re: Middleton lifestyle. I assume we won’t know unless the royal family decides to let us know. They are being protected. For now.

    • bamaborn says:

      Just makes you wonder, why now? A lot of things point to ffk and ffqc living apart. My guess is bill is starting to lay the ground work for when it’s safe enough to dump Kate for good. Definitely believe he’ll have Charles’s blessings. We’ll see.

      • February-Pisces says:

        One theory is uncle Gary has stopped funding them seeing as Keen has not brought in the return on investment they had hoped for, and that’s why they have accumulated so much debt. Maybe that’s why uncle Gary is speaking out saying ‘Kate should be queen now”. They keep hoping that Kate’s royal status would translate financially for them, but I don’t see how. If kate hasn’t ‘happened’ by now she never will.

  18. Hyrule Castle says:

    I went to the website, it has a few cute animal plates.
    But expensive, to me anyway, when the dollar store has cute things too.
    I also cannot believe people would order a cake from them?
    Do people do that? I wouldn’t, what a chance to take on the most important part of the party.

    It’s just… junk. I can’t believe they made millions selling it.

    • iconoclast59 says:

      I used to go to Party City, but when I saw that the dollar store has stuff that’s almost as nice and a LOT less expensive, I’ve been going there ever since. There’s also an online company called Oriental Trading which has a HUGE selection of party goods for dirt cheap.

      • JanetDR says:

        I have always pictured PP as Oriental Trading . Nice resource for teachers when you are making up a holiday gift bag. Love their rubber ducks!

  19. Watson says:

    With so much debt there’s no escape for Kate. she must remain FFQ to keep her family afloat .

  20. Nina says:

    Charles and Liz should be thank you that it is the 21 century. Given the Middletons and Willie’s ambitions, in any other century, they would have been offed a long time ago

  21. MerryGirl says:

    “It had assets of £175,000 but owed £1.2million to creditors, leaving it with an overall loss of £1.067million”
    I’m not a business major but basic profit and loss sense shows that this business is bust and they are only fronting like this is a viable business.

  22. fani says:

    Ahhhh!!! Finally, the explanation for the unhinged PR strategy. Mama needs that money and she needs it fast … if only those in-laws would hurry up and step aside. Prepare for more talons.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I’ve always felt that getting their hands on the Duchy of Cornwall money has been part of their grand plan – they piggy back their party tat on the back of the Duchy Originals supply chain and they are quids in.

      • Merricat says:

        +1

      • Becks1 says:

        I think you’re right DU. Can you imagine if they start selling Duchy Originals? Or if there is an exclusive “duchy of cornwall” line at Party Pieces?

        and I also think in general they are waiting for William to become the Duke of Cornwall so that he can help them out even more.

      • Jaded says:

        I agree…William is just waiting impatiently, rubbing his hands until he becomes Duke of Cornwall and receives all the associated goodies of the Duchy. A golden opportunity for the Duchess of Grift to flog her crap under the Duchy Originals brand. However this could be a double-edged sword for her if his marriage is on the rocks and he wants to unload Kate. It’s a bit of a financial quagmire and could spell the end of PP and the banishing of the Midds.

      • notasugarhere says:

        There is a board that controls the Duchy of Cornwall, it isn’t private property. If William tried handing millions to Carole, the board would stop it. Unless he can learn to be as sneaky at it as Charles, like paying Camilla’s sister to do the interior design at Clarence House and Highgrove.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        nota I like how you bring the receipts!

        I would not put it beyond PWT to be sneaky.

      • Becks1 says:

        @nota that’s what I think it will look like – more like nepotism than outright “giving” them money – like hiring carole to monitor the “gardens” at Highgrove, or having James be a tour guide (who gets paid well), etc.

        Also keep in mind when William gets the duchy money he won’t really need the money from Diana, and the Middletons may have an eye on that.

      • February-Pisces says:

        I think Carole is clinging on by the skin of her teeth hoping keen stays married for the duchy cash. I can’t imagine Willie being that generous to the middletons at this point in his marriage, unless he quietly gives them whatever they want in exchange they take kate off his hands and keep her entertained whilst he visits the neighbour.

        Anyway isn’t Pippa’s husband supposed to be ‘rich’? Why hasn’t he bailed them out?

  23. UnionSnack says:

    Agree about inelegant gaits, Kate is walking like a grenadier

  24. Dss says:

    Yeah but marijuana sales are probably through the roof so they will be ok

  25. Midge says:

    The Middle-tons who social climbed and clawed their way to the Top. Where is the Lifetime movie?

    • Snuffles says:

      I swear, if Diana was alive, she would have clawed Carole’s eyes out and killed that relationship before it made it out of college.

  26. February-Pisces says:

    I remember looking on similarweb to see how many hits Party Pieces got on a monthly basis as it was something like 250000. If 2-3% of visitors made a purchase then that’s about 5000-7500 units sold a month. It’s a lot of shipping for a small business, but their items are small and inexpensive so there isn’t much money to be made per sale. Plus they still have to pay for staff to pack and ship those items and then there are the customer enquiries as well. Anyway based on my estimates as a small business owner myself, the numbers don’t match the middletons lifestyle. There is no way they could afford to pay all those staff, pay for stock, advertising, and live like millionaires and pay for the kids to go to elite schools.

    Also no one knew about party pieces when the kids were school age. It’s only known now because of Kate, that would have given the business a huge boost, not the opposite.

    It doesn’t add up. I think the middletons really thought they would coin it in once their daughters married rich, but it hasn’t worked out.

  27. Robin says:

    Oh, no. So sad to hear this. How will they afford to eat? Don’t worry, Carole. There’s a job going as gardener at Anmer Hall. Fingers crossed for your interview.

  28. candy says:

    I recall them making cuts even before the pandemic, so if they were already struggling I am sure the pandemic did them no favors. They are never going to get more exposure than they did post-wedding, so at this point there is little hope of the company turning around.

    I agree they are totally shady and funded by uncle Gary, which is why he’s still in the family fold despite the embarrassing things he’s done. I remember reading that he sold his tech start-up for $200 million back in the 90s. Definitely enough to fund their lavish lifestyle many times over. I believe he gave Carol the seed money for Party Pieces, and propped it up anytime she needed. In exchange, she sold out her daughters and propelled them into a new social stratosphere.

  29. Plums says:

    Their finances seem so shady, especially with the creepy uncle. And the pot farm, lol.

    Like, help me out here. Is Party Pieces sort of equivalent to Party City here in the US? Like a strip mall location that’s just where you go if you’re throwing a child’s birthday party and want cheap theme decorations and balloons and paper plates with matching napkins? Because those places used to be common not too long ago but I’m pretty sure have lost a ton of money in recent years due to amazon and the fact that you can buy most of the same stuff at dollar stores or big box stores. If that’s the kind of business the Middletons owned, I could see how it made them millionaires, but that they’d be in worse straits now. But apparently it’s not the kind of business they own, and Party Pieces is an online order/catalogue thing? That’s kind of weird to me. I could see a successful boutique business doing custom fancy party supplies with that business model, but not achieve the level of wealth the Middletons attained. idk maybe it’s a cultural difference. Generic “party supplies” does not really feel like something one orders online or from a catalogue rather than just gets from a store, but maybe it’s different in the UK.

  30. Becks1 says:

    I think it’s a cross between Party City and Oriental Trading Co – all online or in catalogs (back in the day) and not boutique – still pretty cheap, but themed. So I think the theming was the “hook,” you could buy all the “pieces” you needed for your party and have it be kind of a one-stop shop. Like I said I could see this being successful in the 80s or 90s pre-internet, especially if you lived somewhere without a Party City or equivalent nearby, but not in 2021.

  31. bettyrose says:

    I wish I was clever enough to have a business idea that supported a fully work from home life. It’s different in the U.S. because a good job equals better health insurance than one can afford solo, but in either case no hate at all for someone who creates a successful business and simple country life, but yeah it’s questionable that party pieces supports a posh prep school/London life for three children. But with two well married daughters, why are we meant to believe they’re still living off party pieces?

    • Becks1 says:

      Well, to be clear, I don’t think it supported a “fully work from home life” – they had offices and warehouses and at least for the early years Carole and Mike were doing a lot of the heavy lifting for order fulfillment etc. It doesn’t sound like an easy business to get off the ground.

      As for your last question – we’re meant to believe they’re still living off PP – even if William and James are fully supporting them – because it’s part of their image. Successful, wealthy business owners. If it came out that PP wasn’t successful, then the family looks a lot more like social climbers who purposely married their daughters off for money because they don’t have any. Or, people would look more closely at Uncle GAry.

  32. The Recluse says:

    Sooooo…..it’s a long term grift, eh?
    And what are the odds that they’re going to expect William to subsidize their lifestyle (at the taxpayers’ expense)?

  33. jferber says:

    I didn’t recognize Carole at all from the header picture. Her face has been softened and embiggened somehow, like more play dough was added to the head. She sure does look happy, though. She’s happier than Kate, it looks for sure. Yes, Carole doesn’t have to live with William, so I’m sure that’s a big part of it. She looks like the cat that got the cream. Regarding her store, maybe she consulted our orange former guy for the Big Grift.

  34. Kate says:

    I wonder what the timeline on some of this stuff.

    Carole did a couple interviews where she talked about being a grandmother. Maybe she was trying to get publicity.

    As well as all the Kate jewel of the crown press. That just smacks of stage mom.

  35. Dl says:

    Can the RR say money laundering? Front company? Yep. I do fraud investigations and even a newbie like me smells something rotten pea yew