Tear down the bunting, blow out the candles and spike the confetti canon. The party is over for Party Pieces, the festive supply company that was founded by the Princess of Wales’s mum at the Middleton kitchen table in 1987, and where Kate briefly worked after university.
Carole and Michael Middleton have reportedly sold Party Pieces Holdings to entrepreneur James Sinclair of The Partyman Group after they were unable to “prevent it from collapsing into administration.” Translation: The business went bust, and they sold it for parts, basically.
The business, which Carole started after she couldn’t find what she was looking for when organizing Kate’s 5th birthday party, reportedly struggled during the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. According to ‘Sky News,’ which broke the story, it lost over money in the last financial year it filed its accounts.
While the collapse of the future Queen’s family’s business would likely be in the headlines anyway, this story is rapidly evolving into a scandal. That’s because, per the ‘Daily Mail,’ many of the business’ creditors are “in disbelief” at the amount of debt that Party Pieces managed to rack up, a sum amounting to over $4 million that it looks “increasingly unlikely” they’ll be able to recoup.
“What hurt me the most was that I trusted her as the mother-in-law of the future king — and she just betrayed me,” said a spokesman for a supplier of helium for balloons.
The biggest creditor, however, may be the British government: There’s a loan for support during COVID, for example, and a bill for the U.K. equivalent of HST that’s around $1 million.
Speaking to the ‘Daily Mail,’ a “close friend” said that Carole was “upset and deeply disappointed in the situation.” According to this friend, Carole had actually stepped back from day-to-day management of the business over the past few years, and she only became aware of how bad things were when it was too late. “Carole believes in accountability and accepts she had been a little naïve to step back and trust someone else to run the business she had spent decades nurturing and it’s been desperately sad to see the company sold off in this way.”
This, however, is not the story being told by at least one supplier, who told the ‘Daily Mail’ that he’d had “personal reassurances” from Carole herself that Party Pieces