Carole Middleton is ‘desperately sad,’ Party Pieces’ collapse ‘doesn’t reflect well’

The Middletons’ family business, Party Pieces, went bankrupt several months ago. At first, the reporting around the collapse of the Middletons’ house of cards was reported on in various faux-sympathetic and squirrelly ways, reports of Carole and Michael Middleton attempting to “sell” their business, that they would pay a “dowry” to a buyer to help unload PP. Then bankruptcy court came and it turned out that PP was screwing over their creditors (including many local small businesses) for £2.6 million. Suddenly, the British coverage got very critical, as their creditors spoke openly about the trail of financial destruction left in Carole’s wake. Since June, there’s been precious little follow-up reporting though, and the few references to Party Pieces’ collapse are veiled and passive-voiced. Meanwhile, James Middleton keeps scamming investors out of millions of dollars for his poorly-run businesses, and his latest venture is in the crapper too. All of this is the backstory for a surprising piece in the Evening Standard: “A collapsed business and debts in the millions — keeping up with the Middletons.” Some highlights:

James is racking up debts too: When Boomf collapsed last year, it had accumulated trading losses of almost £2 million, despite having the backing of big-name investors like James Matthews, the billionaire husband of James’s sister Pippa, and Moonpig founder Nick Jenkins. “He has lots of great ideas, but he’s less practical when it comes to following those ideas through, which is partly due to his ADD,” says a friend. “He finds it hard to stick at things.”

James’s businesses are always in trouble: “I wouldn’t be too quick off the mark to dismiss him or the business,” says one insider. “And let’s not forget he’s got some impressive investors on board.” Those include, once again, Pippa’s husband James (clearly undaunted by Boomf’s collapse) and insurance and property entrepreneur Raja Balasuriya.

Terribly Moderately Wealthy Pippa: Pippa and James bought Bucklebury Farm Park for £1.5million in 2021. The 77-acre piece of land is already home to a petting zoo (said to be a favourite of Prince George’s when he was younger), café and cabin accommodation for around 30 people, which the family is currently running, but the couple are now keen to expand the business further to include glamping cabins and a restaurant, with the plans being dubbed ‘Pippa’s Playground’.

Carole Middleton wants credit for Pippa’s success: Like her parents and brother, Pippa also has an entrepreneurial streak and her fingerprints are all over the tasteful products on offer at the Bucklebury Gift and Farm shop, where you can pick up chic jute bags, eco-friendly toys and healthy cook books. It’s said Carole Middleton was instrumental in getting the venture off the ground and actively encouraged the couple to launch the online shop.

Carole is desperately sad: Pippa may well have cause to worry about her own parents, too. The closure of Party Pieces has come as a blow to the Middletons, especially Carole, who friends say is “desperately sad” to see the business sold off in this way. It was snapped up by former children’s entertainer James Sinclair – who calls himself the ‘Millionaire Clown’ – for £180,000, but crucially the Essex-based entrepreneur has not taken on any of the company’s debts. Many of those who have been left out of pocket are small family-owned businesses, including Mohamad Pardis, owner of the helium supplier Sultani Gas, who said the £20,430 he is owed was equivalent to a year’s profits. “I thought I was in safe hands and that I could trust the royal family. I’m completely shocked,” he was quoted as saying.

Carole has told everyone that she’s not responsible for Party Pieces’ collapse: The company’s closure has come as a surprise to many – as recently as April, the firm said it was looking to “secure additional investment” to support “the next phase” of its growth plans and in October last year it launched in America, with Carole using a cardboard cut-out of herself to promote the move. Despite her apparent involvement, though, friends say Carole’s actually taken a backseat in the business since 2019, trusting the day-to-day running to a new management team. She’s since acknowledged she was “naïve” to do so, as the business quickly started racking up debts. When lockdown came and people stopped throwing parties, the company was forced to take out a £219,000 Covid loan from RBS, a bank still propped up by taxpayers – meaning some of those debts will now have to be paid out of the pockets of the British public.

The Middletons’ financial straits reflect poorly on Kate: It’s all rather awkward when you consider these are the in-laws of the future king. “It definitely doesn’t reflect well on the royals, but Kate will mostly just be worried about her mother, as the two have always been incredibly close,” says one well-placed source. “Carole will be working hard to put this right.” It’s said before Party Pieces fell into administration Carole was calling those who were owed money from her personal mobile to apologise, promising that debts would be repaid. Unfortunately, the administrators’ report made it clear that it is “highly unlikely” that any of these organisations would receive any of the money that they are owed.

The party’s over: It seems the party is well and truly over for Carole and Michael – at 68 and 74 respectively, it’s unlikely the duo will be launching any new business ventures. Indeed, before Party Pieces went into administration, they revealed they were keen to devote more time to “family, gardening and travel” and are known to be incredibly hands-on grandparents to both Kate and Pippa’s children, who all live relatively locally.

James will keep scamming people: As for James, the serial entrepreneur’s not going anywhere. “He’s full of energy and he’s always got something on the go,” says a friend. “He knows people will mock him for starting endless businesses, but he doesn’t care. If this one fails, I reckon he’ll just keep launching more.”

[From The Evening Standard]

There’s a lot more in the report, most of which is basically a summary of previously reported stories. Many of the quotes are new, especially this one: “It definitely doesn’t reflect well on the royals, but Kate will mostly just be worried about her mother, as the two have always been incredibly close.” It doesn’t reflect well on KATE that her mother lied for years about Party Pieces’ success and it makes KATE look bad that she’s so powerless to help her debt-ridden scammer parents. Now, it’s also funny and interesting that no one in the Windsors’ world stepped in to help the Middletons save face and rescue their business. It shows how expendable the Middletons are at this point and how they’ve never been favored in the “royal court.” Carole still hasn’t shown her face either – she didn’t go to Ascot, she didn’t go to Wimbledon, and there’s just been fewer Keen Carole stories in general. As for James… a trainwreck. His terribly moderately wealthy brother-in-law needs to cut him off.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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57 Responses to “Carole Middleton is ‘desperately sad,’ Party Pieces’ collapse ‘doesn’t reflect well’”

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  1. Wow. Is she desperately sad that she f d people out of their money? No she is only desperately sad that f ing people out of their money might reflect poorly on her.

    • kirk says:

      ITA. There are all kinds of reasons for business failures, including expansion right before pandemic that keeps people out of restaurants and away from social gatherings. But in this case it seems the usual Middleton business practices are to blame, e.g. poor customer service, stiffing vendors completely after leaning too hard on them, etc. Carole, girl, there are Reasons it was an assets-only business sale; you behind all of them.

    • Princessk says:

      I noticed that Carole and her husband did not show up at Wimbledon this year…lol!

  2. MsIam says:

    Now these are the folks who are “under pressure” about going broke, not the Sussexes. People Mag are you listening?

    • Yvette says:

      @MsIam … Indeed. The Middletons are the true ‘grifters’ the haters call Harry and Meghan. Kate ‘grifted’ her way to St. Andrews land William.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    You know who is also “terribly sad,” Carole? The people who lost their businesses because you screwed them over. They’ve sustained more than reputational damage.

    Maybe stop shifting blame and show some sympathy for them instead of yourself and your coddled daughter who is a literal princess. Perhaps if you did, this wouldn’t reflect so badly on you.

  4. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Isn’t it interesting that the first children in both families are desperately jealous of the younger sibling of the same sex? That must be how they bonded—feeling superior to their younger sibling and now feeling supremely jealous of their wealth AND freedom. Too bad, so sad.

    As far as Carole goes, she grifted well and no longer has to grift. She can grift into the sunset. She taught her grifter kids well, who have gone on to grift in their own rights. Her work/grift is done.

  5. SarahCS says:

    A well connected white man gets to keep failing upwards? How delightful!

    Seriously, how do these people not realise how awful they are?

    Interesting that this is being brought back into the news now. Whose agenda?

    • BeanieBean says:

      It is seriously disturbing that James is just going to keep on starting–and tanking– businesses! And this came from a friend! ‘Ha! Watch me! I’m going to continue throwing away investors’ money!’

  6. The Hench says:

    Yep, the Middleton’s are out of Royal favour. The RF could have easily made this go away – but they haven’t.

    • MsIam says:

      I’m more surprised the “billionaire” son in law didn’t make this go away, especially since Carole seems overly involved in Pippa’s life too. Or maybe he’s hoping the Middletons will be forced to sell and move far away. As for William, I guess he’s lost his appetite for cheese toast.

      • The Hench says:

        @MsIam – there were rumours that there had been a cooling between Pippa and CarolE because Pippa was not as ‘biddable’ as Kate. There was some article a while back about how Kate was the golden child because she did whatever her mother wanted. TMW James seems genuinely to care for his wife so I can see him not stepping in to rescue CarolE from her mess because of that.

      • Startup Spouse says:

        I thought there were also rumors that Carole didn’t want Pippa to be with TMW James because he wasn’t titled. Pippa actually wanted to be with James earlier, but felt pressured by her mother to pursue a title. When Pippa actually found the balls to tell her mother to f— off, she got with James and the rest is history.

        If that’s the case, you can see why TMW James wouldn’t be so *keen* to rescue his MIL.

      • The Hench says:

        @Startup Spouse – yes, that’s also a very good point! There were many rumours that CarolE didn’t think he was ‘good enough’ socially without a title. Revenge is a dish served cold etc!

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Didn’t Ma make Pippa dump that guy she was seeing at the time of Catty’s wedding? She dumped soon after and he made comments to the press saying that he didn’t see it coming and hinted it was because he didn’t have a title. He came from a very good family and was well off.

      • Becks1 says:

        Oh what was his name….Alex something, right? (googled, Alex Loudon). And then she was seen a few times being super friendly with George Percy and there were rumors there but IIRC the Percy camp shut those down pretty fast, making it clear they were friends but nothing more. So maybe Ma Midds did want Pippa to be the duchess of northumberland.

        Funny thing is now James will have a title so Pippa still gets to be Lady Pippa lol. Or Lady Matthews.

  7. Debbie says:

    Oh, my goodness, the collapse of the Middletons’ business “doesn’t reflect well” on the family? They act like she forgot to RSVP on an invitation. The fact is that the Middletons lied for decades by inflating and exaggerating their financial success in order to appear wealthy. They apparently spent money like drunken sailors on shore leave and borrowed heavily, I’m sure, using their daughter’s connections to the English royals to make any loans seem more secure. Then, when they couldn’t keep up with their house of cards anymore, they left the smaller investor high and dry and unpaid. But all that means to the British press is that it “doesn’t reflect well.”

    I also strongly disagree with the understated line that the BM was “critical” of the Middletons about their financial mess. One honest but fairly neutral story does not make for “criticism.” Why, the BM went on and on about Archie’s godparents and Lilibet’s name in a far more sustained way than they followed the Party Pieces fraud, bankruptcy and collapse story.

  8. Jan says:

    Everyone knew that business was not as successful as they claimed, maybe a front laundering the brother’s funny money.
    With Amazon in the UK, party pieces was doomed, but instead Carole was out there attacking Meghan.
    None of the Middletons children are successful, there is no work ethic, they all start projects that fall apart.

    • Bettyrose says:

      The whole business model never seemed sustainable to me. Even if it was a healthy family business pre Amazon, it never made sense that it supported their lifestyle. There’s also no shame in retiring at their ages with grow children. What is this fuss even about?

      • Libra says:

        The DM agreed with you! Back before the wedding the tabloid press questioned how Party Pieces equalled millionaire status. That was quickly hushed up.

      • bettyrose says:

        Ha! Well, I’m definitely not looking to be bed fellows with the DM, but this seems like a huge open secret. No one thinks Party Pieces paid private school fees for three children, extravagant gap years, a post-college apartment in a posh London neighborhood, and whatever other expenses were involved in throwing their kids in the path of Britain’s elite. Worst part is, the last thing most of us would ever do is snub a legit family business. Who doesn’t dream of supporting themselves as an entrepreneur? But there’s supporting (which is an accomplishment in itself) and getting rich.

    • bisynaptic says:

      Maybe if she’d spent less time attacking Meghan and more time tending to the business…

  9. Kokiri says:

    James has trouble “sticking to things” because he’s an ultra privileged white boy who has never been accountable for anything or anyone in his life.
    He’s been propped up with “great ideas!” While in reality he’s a failure beyond description & his ideas are ridiculous at best.
    Yes, people will buy dog food, but why would they buy from him, exactly?
    Well, they won’t who is why it’s failing.
    And whomever told him marshmallows was fantastic for a business venture was trolling him.

    Of course, it’s all money laundering anyway. Not that the press will do a deep dive into that area.

  10. Becks1 says:

    James is just going to keep starting businesses and watching them fail because….that’s just who he is? omg its so FUN to keep losing other people’s money!! That makes him sound really……well, out of touch.

    They are drawing a really direct line here between Carole and the royals, which just makes it that much more interesting that no one stepped up to help at least pay off the debts, even with the company going into administration.

    • Libra says:

      Waiting for the other shoe to drop on the million dollar farmhouse he purchased. How long before he defaults on the mortgage?

      • Jan90067 says:

        I thought his pregnant, French wife (can’t think of her name…Analize?) came from money and works in Finance. I think she’s the one that’s keeping them financially afloat.

      • Elizabeth says:

        The smartest thing that James has done is marry a woman who actually has a job. Doesn’t Alize work in finance?

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        @Jan I didn’t realise that Alizee was pregnant – congrats to them. She’s the high earner in that relationship and I can def see James becoming a stay at home parent who dabbles in ‘business’.

      • Unblinkered says:

        Replying to Libra above – it’s hard to imagine James M would get a mortgage. Be interesting to know just how ‘his’ house is funded.

      • Nic919 says:

        I think the James is referencing Matthews and not Middleton in terms of who purchased the farm and zoo.

      • Becks1 says:

        The Matthews bought the farm and zoo but James Middleton bought a million pound farmhouse…a year ago maybe?

  11. aquarius64 says:

    Being in financial straits and your royal in law won’t bail you out. Congratulations Middletons you are now the Markles.

  12. Mary Pester says:

    Two points, one she’s not half as sad as the poor company’s she shafted, and two, grab yourselves a dictionary, and under the word “grifters”, you will find the word “middleton”.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Point three, this bankruptcy is years old and almost a decade in the making. The business was failing for years before COVID.

      As others have written, all changes they’ve done in the last few years were deliberate and need to be investigated. They knew the business was failed and bankrupt, but hid it. They changed the business setup and legalities a few years ago – specifically so small businesses couldn’t come after the Midds personally for recompense.

  13. Noor says:

    The small business owners are left holding the mess. It is shameful and not honorable on the part of the Middletons who are living in luxury but not able to pay the owner of the helium supplier the £20,430 he is owed which was equivalent to a year’s profits/income for him and his family.

    • Unblinkered says:

      It most definitely wasn’t honourable behaviour.
      The honourable thing to do now is to sell their large country house, allegedly bought for them by a naive Prince W, and pay off the money they owe people. Any chance of that happening?

  14. Amy Bee says:

    Her not turning up at Wimbledon or Ascot was a sign that she felt she couldn’t show her face in public or mingle with those aristos who look down on her.

    • Harper says:

      Having to miss Wimbledon and Ascot is what has made her desperately sad.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      That lot have no shame – they would have turned up to Wimbledon and Ascot if they could have but I suspect they were told not to or invites were just not sent to them.

      They are being managed out of the royal sphere – even at the coronation events they were stuck at the back out of the public view. Normally they are at the front mugging for the press.

  15. Seraphina says:

    I wonder if pride went before the fall…………….

  16. Mslove says:

    Not only does it reflect poorly on Kate, it reflects poorly on Pegs. He is married to their daughter after all, but is too stingy to help the peasants out I suppose.

  17. notasugarhere says:

    A ‘billionaire’ doesn’t sell off a heavily-mortgaged London property and buy a cheap tacky petting zoo in the countryside. His ‘wealth’, like the Midds, appears on paper and took a major hit in the last few years. All the Midds and in-laws are failing financially.

    The shady freebie holidays to members of the Jordanian (and Saudi?) royal families aren’t a good look for (alleged underage niece rapist) papa matthews either.

    • Chaine says:

      that’s what i’ve been wondering, first on the scene he was supposedly a “millionaire,” then described as a “multi millionaire” and now he’s supposedly a “billionaire.” This older article talks about him making £559,310 in profit from his company for the year 2015– good money but hardly billionaire level or even millionaire level and if that’s what he is making per year how could be be worth billions now???: Mentions some scammy business practices.
      Another article says “Eden Rock Capital Management is an advisory company that helps affluent people manage their wealth an invest it properly”– it really sounds like what Jeffrey Epstein supposedly did, which we all now know was actually him blackmailing the wealthy people and likely doing some insider trading.

  18. Digital Unicorn says:

    Ma is ‘desperately sad’ that Peggy wouldn’t bail them out. The fact that this happened and then the press wrote about it negatively is VERY telling – it tells us that they are no longer protected by William and that Chuck isn’t going to give them anything.

    I believe that the story from the Coronation about Mumbles getting extra tickets for her staff was really an excuse for her to blag extra tickets for her family. No need for her brother and sister to be there, in fact no need for her parents to be there either. Catty and her family have generated a lot of bad will with both the press and the RF over the years and karma is coming. Part of me thinks that one of the reasons the press was hands of with them was because Betty didn’t want any scandals but the gloves are off – Chuck has found a use for them, to divert bad press away from him and Cams.

    Also no matter how much Ma and Mike try to distance themselves from the debt – it was still THEIR business and they would have been involved any any loans etc.. that were taken out. They are trying to chuck the other directors under the bus to save face but it’s too late. They have been exposed as the lying grifters they are.

    As for James, I suspect that he will end up disappearing into the back ground – his business failures off the back of the bankruptcy of his parents business does not bode well for him and grifting investors. It seems that in the world of small businesses the Middleton name is mud – no one will want to do business with people who can’t and won’t pay their debts.

  19. ChattyCath says:

    A quote from a Dickens character : Are there workhouses? No debtor’s prison for the Middletons. They will continue to drip stories to the media forever. That is the RF’s fear.

  20. QuiteContrary says:

    Anyone care to join me for a future weekend of glamping in Pippa’s Playground?

    LOL — as if. I can’t think of a worse getaway.

  21. ales says:

    Nothing wrong with being british working class, most are decent people. The Middletons have deluded and conned so many people. These vile people are nothing but grifters and liars who have scammed their way into the BRF. They are not hard working self made multi millionaires, their success appears to be from how many people who have believed their stories. The children for example, none have had real jobs or careers, none are successful. One known as the local mattress, yacht girl, F..buddy for a royal, is an accomplished stalker and mean girl, lazy and extremely self centered, who is constantly whitewashed into a combination of Mother Theresa and a virginal, benelovent, saint, another married wealth and the son doesnt seem to do much. Carole is “sad”, she got caught out. If they cared about anyone other than themselves, they would be working very hard to help the businesses they have damaged, but no, its all about grifter Carole… Sickening…. I guess grifters blame everyone else and take no responsibility for their actions.

  22. Carolind says:

    Becks1 I live near where the Matthews have land in Scotland and there is no title. Goodness knows how that keeps getting touted about.

  23. AC says:

    William, Charles , Camilla they all deserve what they get . They’re all a Rotten lot and having a daughter-in-law as the future queen of England be related to a Family of con-artists/scammers/grifters is just icing in the cake. Don’t ya all love Karma.

  24. jferber says:

    Yes, AC, Carole knew what the royal scam was before she even planned on her daughter being part of it. Carole’s grift was a microcosm of the royal grift. Shameless people all around.

  25. Lily says:

    I suspect Carole is a narcissist because she is more concerned with how bankruptcy looks for her than she is about the people she takes down with her.