Carole Middleton ‘has hired advisers for a potential sale’ of Party Pieces

Carole Middleton’s business, Party Pieces, has been struggling financially for years. During the pandemic, the company began posting significant losses and, according to recent reports, they’ve had so much trouble with suppliers and the Royal Mail (meaning, significant shipping delays). The combination of Brexit and Covid hit Party Pieces especially hard, although I do question whether PP has been struggling financially for many years before the pandemic, simply because they really aren’t making unique products – you could buy most of PP’s stuff online or at discount stores. Still, Carole tried to grow her failing business, even introducing Party Pieces to the ShopRite chain in America. Looks like Party Pieces’ big American invasion was a total flop as well. So here we are: Carole is looking to sell Party Pieces.

An online party decorations retailer owned by Carole Middleton, the Princess of Wales’s mother, has hired advisers for a potential sale of the business as it struggles with dwindling sales. Party Pieces, which was founded by Carole Middleton, has appointed Interpath to advise on its strategic options, which could include a possible sale or funding from an outside investor.

It comes after reports that the company, which is owned by Mrs Middleton and her husband Michael, became embroiled in a row with suppliers and suffered a dip in sales over the crucial Christmas period. The retailer struggled as cost-of-living pressures hit households and Royal Mail strikes caused delays to deliveries, the Daily Mail reported. Mrs Middleton was also reported to be in a dispute with suppliers over attempts to extend payment terms to 90 days from the usual 30 days. Party Pieces declined to comment at the time.

A spokesman for Party Pieces said: “We are working with our advisers to secure additional investment which will help support the business as we look to embark on the next phase of our growth plan.”

[From The Telegraph]

Whenever I read these straight-reporting pieces about Party Pieces’ failing business, I think about how many dumbf–k books have been written about the Windsors and the Sussexes, and I always wonder why some enterprising British journalist has never done a deep dive into the Middletons’ finances. I’m a broken record about this, I know, but I just have so many questions about the whole PP operation, as well as the Middletons’ real estate in Bucklebury, that weird story about a pot farm adjacent to the Middletons’ property, whether Gary Goldsmith has laundered money through his sister and a lot more. Anyway, I always thought that maybe James Middleton was the black sheep of the family, the only one with zero business sense, but I suspect it’s more of a family trait.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, cover of Good Housekeeping.

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61 Responses to “Carole Middleton ‘has hired advisers for a potential sale’ of Party Pieces”

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  1. Brassy Rebel says:

    I know nothing about British bankruptcy laws, but this company sounds bankrupt or very near it. Why would anyone buy it or invest in it if it’s failing? Fishy af.

    And I don’t think there is such a thing as an enterprising journalist in the UK. They’re all pretty much sheep.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      I wonder how the company made so-called millions selling plastic tat you can find much cheaper on amazon?

    • SussexWatcher says:

      Maybe some sort of quid pro quo? You, investor, prop up our failing business (or buy it) and we’ll get you access to the future king. Sounds like that’s the sort of thing Chuckles (and Fergie and Ford Fiesta) did all the time with his bags of cash. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Other Brother also has a history of doing this.

      And, yes, what is up with the lack of any sort of journalism on Salty Isle?! What are they all afraid of?

      • Green girl says:

        Since it’s a private company will it even be disclosed if someone buys it?

    • Sophie says:

      I am no expert either, but what about money laundering? I hear some Russians would be so happy to participate!

    • equality says:

      Really. What I was thinking. This is how you describe the business and think anyone will invest or buy.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Yeah the whole setup has been fishy AF for years but the way its been setup means that they can avoid paying tax as it’s just a bunch of offshore shell companies – legal money laundering if you will. There was an article about PP and its finances years ago and it was pretty strongly hinted at that they move money around these shell companies.

      There is no way on the earth that PP is making enough money to give the whole clan the lifestyle that they enjoy – someone else is funding it. We know Peggy gave them the money to buy Middleton Manor as they struggled to get a mortgage.

      I think Peggy has cut them off hence why she’s looking at selling it. Its not the first time they’ve tried to offload it – no one was interested it buying it then and am sure no one will buy it now. I think they will eventually fold it.

      • Sue E Generis says:

        It’s complicated to establish a good money laundering operation. Someone will it for the infrastructure.

    • The Recluse says:

      Another opportunity for more money laundering.
      Yes, someone should look into the Middleton finances.

    • Geegee says:

      What do you want to bet some rich Russian secretly buys it.

    • Well Wisher says:

      The value is in the name recognition…
      That’s what they are hoping will be the selling point.

  2. Etha says:

    Looks like someone’s aiming for her son in law’s newly gotten duchy money

    • SussexWatcher says:

      Right?! That last paragraph gave the game away:

      >A spokesman for Party Pieces said: “We are working with our advisers to secure additional investment which will help support the business…”<

      The family is negotiating their latest stipend check from Big Willy. Better send some of that Duchy of Cornwall money MaMidds way or she’ll sing like a canary.

      • Etha says:

        They got money from him for their mansion, got money from the other son in law for the “mashmellow King’s” business, and now they’re aiming for the duchy money.

    • MsIam says:

      I was wondering if Burger King cut them off? For this story to be out there, things must be pretty dire. And what about Uncle Gary, has that well run dry? Something is up.

      • Jaded says:

        Yup…Uncle Hookers-n-Blow has been uncharacteristically silent for a while now. Neither Burger King nor Peggington would part with a dime of Duchy money for Ma Meddlesome, and she’s likely been read the riot act to keep her big mouth shut or Keen is going to be in the ejector seat.

  3. Delphine says:

    Whenever I think of Party Pieces it reminds me of when I was in high school student council and we used catalogs to buy all the decor and accessories for our school dances. In the 90s. Seems like the same thing. I doubt they keep any inventory, they probably drop-ship but who knows. There are so many places to get this stuff and the shine has worn off if people were buying it because of any royal connection.

  4. Jais says:

    Ugh, that necklace Carole wore was so tacky for a funeral, imo. Gaudy and unnecessary. Wonder who will buy.

    • Ginger says:

      It still blows my mind that she was invited to the funeral. Are relatives of other married ins invited to royal events? The Middletons always are. And yes, Carole and Kate looked tacky as hell at the funeral.

    • ShazBot says:

      I didn’t realize they were sat behind the Parker-Bowles’. I guess that was in the in-law section.

    • MsIam says:

      That necklace is giving Dowager Queen mob wife, lol.

  5. heygingersnaps says:

    Lol. Party pieces sells items that aren’t unique, I haven’t bought from them and would always go elsewhere. If Paperchase which sells lovely stationery and party stuff has just close because sales are down it’s not a surprise that carole’s company isn’t doing well. At least Paperchase was bought by Tesco so they will hopefully sell Paperchase products in their shops.

    • SarahCS says:

      Ooh I didn’t know that, I love Paperchase and was so sad (if not completely surprised) to see them go.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    More like Kate’s hit pay dirt and Carole doesn’t have to run the business anymore.

  7. tamra says:

    I would not buy one thing from them, just because of how nasty they are! I am glad they flopped here.

  8. TarteAuCitron says:

    It doesn’t add up for me… the Chubbly is in a month’s time. You’d think they should be up to their eyeballs with orders for balloons, buntings etc., but if they’re so dependent on 3rd parties, then no wonder they’re grasping at straws.

    • Lucy says:

      You have a really excellent point. If they leaned into royalty themed stuff, they’d have a niche and could sell to Americans with that. There’s enough anglophones that they could have a steady business, between different Royal themed events through the year. It would be gloriously tacky, but so are the Midds.

  9. HeyKay says:

    What does Mr. Middleton do for a living?
    Isn’t PP just a hobby/biz for Carole?
    Maybe it was meant to loose money as a tax write off?
    I assumed William has been funding them all along.
    And Pippas hubby too likely.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      How did they support themselves before Kate snagged Big Blue? Till I came here and got educated, I always thought they had this thriving party supplies business. Obviously, that’s not the case. 🤔

      • Lucy says:

        I do think money laundering for Uncle Gary remains my top theory. A high volume, small transaction business would work. God, I really hope the full scope of Trumps money laundering comes out, his golf courses are set up to money launder as well.

  10. HamsterJam says:

    Does anyone know who the little girl is who is sitting below and to the right of ma?

  11. Chantal says:

    And which royal family member do we thank for this tidbit? Carole begging for investors/money via the tabloids seems “unseemly” so have her childrens’ spouses and her brother cut her off? Or is she anticipating a larger role in the royal clownshow? After all, Special K needs a new assistant and lots of help…

    • TheWigletOfWails says:

      Or maybe she’s letting Chuckles know she’ll be a willing runner for the bags of cash from his middle eastern friends?

    • Lucky Charm says:

      I love the nickname Special K, that’s brilliant! Burger King and Special K lol.

  12. notasugarhere says:

    But but but, the derangers insisted that ShopRite in NJ is high-end, luxury shopping in exclusive neighborhoods. That Carol(E) was going to make a mint and this wasn’t a desperation move. Not that the Midds were heavily in debt in a sham business and refusing to pay their suppliers.

    @Kaiser, there was only one article I remember that tried to delve into their finances. It was right after the engagement announcement. Royal Wedding Middletons’ money – how was it made? The Telegraph, 20 Nov 2010

    I’ve always suspected the Palace made sure no other investigations were done. Just as other Midd-related things disappeared. Gun charges against Pippa. Charges against Papa Matthews for (allegedly) raping his underage niece. James and the repeated Nazi marshmallow sales. BUT should William decide to set Kate aside and the Midds fight it? All bets are off.

    There was also talk years ago that a royal watcher had tracked down two off-shore mortgages for the Midds original home. Overseas (Scandinavian) banks used to conceal the massive debt. The idea of William buying them their second home as Kate’s post-nup has always made sense to me.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      I remember that article. It was very interesting, and it detailed a few generations back, the Middleton ancestor who made the big bucks and indicated the Trust that was set up still exists today and is still being administered. I also recall reading an article by an accountant who worked with one of the big four, about the improbability of the wealth coming from party pieces, even if they sold consumer information. it’s been scrubbed from the internet of course.

  13. AnneL says:

    I mean, I’m not going to get down on the woman because her business is faltering. A lot of businesses are going under for similar reasons as hers. I even stopped going to the 99 Cent Store for party and holiday stuff because I can get a lot of the same or nearly the same items delivered from Amazon or other on-line sites for just a slightly higher price, a wider selection and more convenience.

    That said, unlike with many other smaller business owners, I don’t feel an ounce of sympathy for her.

    • Anners says:

      Those were my thoughts as well. I don’t think it’s surprising for a party supplies store to be closing down in this post-pandemic/high cost of living world. It would be weirder if they weren’t. But I have zero sympathy for the Middletons because they are the worst and I totally believe it was a front for their pot-selling/money laundering business.

      I would really like a tell-all book about the Wisteria Sisters and all of their inner machinations to get Kate to the throne, starting with Carole as a young woman. She is fascinating. Horrifying, yet fascinating.

  14. Jensa says:

    I’m sure we had a story about them searching for a buyer a couple of years back too. I get the impression that Carole is not as “in” with William as she used to be (especially after that business with Diana’s statue, when she was briefing to the press that she was a better mother to him than Diana had been (!)), so she could be yanking his chain here. She’s got a sniff of that Duchy cash and I imagine she has a LOT of dirt on him.
    But I can’t see who’d want to buy this company. I’ve never understood how they made the money they claim. It’s just tat – you can pick this kind of stuff up from any supermarket or from Amazon for a couple of quid. Though I’d quite like to see a buyer going super-super-tacky on the royal connections.

    • notasugarhere says:

      It would be difficult for anyone to out-tacky the Middletons when it comes to using royal connections.

      • Whyfortheloveo says:

        OMG agreed. The Middletown are like the Clampets in the Beverly Hillbillies except the Clampets were somewhat likable

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      It will fold as no one is going to buy it and she ain’t gonna sell it cheap either esp if its got lots of debts/cash flow. They’ll blame COVID, Brexit and the cost of living crisis and she’ll reinvent herself as some sort of societal influencer type or something. She ain’t getting anywhere near the Duchy and she has a taste of the fame – gf wants to be in the public eye.

  15. HeyKay says:

    Did Carole really say she was a better/more of a Mother to W than Diana?
    Holy Cats!
    Woman, seriously. GTFO!
    I hope Will freezes her out. Damn.
    That is some EGO.

  16. Maeve says:

    Shes 68, he’s 73 – if none of the kids want to take over the business their choices are wind it down or sell as a going concern. Any type of business where you’re relying on international supply chains is a massive headache at the moment, especially in the UK where Brexit has added hoops to jump through. I’d be looking to cash out if I were her.

  17. Saschafrom76 says:

    Nobody Really talked about the dead body found in their pot farm either

  18. Lee says:

    Don’t understand why this is news, I’m sure that company never made any profit

  19. B says:

    Ouch! Has to hurt to lose a business you’ve spent 20-30yrs growing. But its the way of the world now. Netflix killed Blockbuster and Amazon killed Borders and Waldenbooks and so many other chains. Barnes and Noble is holding on for dear life and good luck to them.

    Isn’t she retirement age? This could be a blessing in disguise. Perhaps with all the free time she’s about to have she could address her first born’s issues and why she appears to be wasting away.

  20. Andrea says:

    I went home for Christmas to see my dad and stepmom in suburban Trenton, NJ. I stopped by the sad Party Pieces rack (pretty full of crap, I don’t think it’s selling well) in their local ShopRite and had a good laugh at Carole’s expense.