Next week, the Princess of Wales, Kate, aged 41, is scheduled to travel to Leeds and Lancaster for various engagements. One of these engagements will hold a special significance as it is closely tied to her father, Michael Middleton. On Tuesday, Kate will be visiting the AW Hainsworth textile mill in Leeds, where she will have the opportunity to gain insights into the industry and its historical connections to her paternal ancestors.
This family-owned mill has a rich history, dating back to its establishment in 1738. Of particular note, in 1958, Kate's great-great-grandfather played a pivotal role when he sold William Lupton & Co to AW Hainsworth. Furthermore, Kate's great-grandmother, Olive Lupton, married solicitor Noel Middleton in 1914, and he later assumed a directorial role at the textile mill. Their union produced three sons, namely Christopher, Anthony, and Peter, with Peter being the father of Michael Middleton.
Additionally, Kate's great-grandmother, Olive, served as a nurse during the First World War, providing care to severely injured soldiers who were transported back to Britain for medical treatment. In August 2020, the Princess made reference to her ancestors in a letter marking the 150th anniversary of the British Red Cross.
During her visit to AW Hainsworth, Kate is expected to take a tour of the mill and engage with several of the company's apprentices.
She will also have the opportunity to observe the company's new, cutting-edge on-site laboratory, which is dedicated to pioneering innovation and product development.
The textile mill has a diverse customer base, supplying fabrics to a wide range of clients, including fashion and homeware brands, as well as the Armed Forces. Additionally, it specializes in the production of woven felt for musical instruments such as pianos, designs fabrics for national and international transportation, and manufactures protective materials used by emergency services and military personnel worldwide.
Notably, AW Hainsworth holds a Royal Warrant and its fabrics were prominently featured during the coronation ceremonies of the late Queen Elizabeth in 1953 and King Charles earlier this year.
For her second engagement of the day, Kate will travel to Lancaster, where she is scheduled to visit Standfast & Barracks. This printworks, with its origins dating back to 1924, is now part of the Sanderson Design Group.
All about Michael Middleton
Michael Francis Middleton was born in Leeds on the 23rd of June, 1949, to parents Valerie and Captain Peter Middleton.
Valerie had a role as a VAD nurse and worked as a code-breaker during the Second World War. Captain Peter, on the other hand, served as an RAF fighter pilot. Notably, he had the opportunity to fly alongside the late Duke of Edinburgh during a two-month flying tour of South America in the year 1962.
Michael received his education at Clifton College, which is a private school located in Bristol. Subsequently, he pursued his studies at the University of Surrey.
His path crossed with his future wife, Carole Middleton (formerly Goldsmith), who was working as a flight attendant at the time, while he was employed as a flight dispatcher for British Airways.
In June 1980, the couple tied the knot in a wedding ceremony held in Dorney, Buckinghamshire. Two years later, they welcomed their first daughter, Kate, into the world, followed by the births of Pippa in 1983 and James in 1987.
From 1984 to 1986, the Middleton family resided in Amman, Jordan, during which time Michael held the position of manager for British Airways. Currently, Michael and Carole call Bucklebury Manor in Berkshire their home.
In the year 1987, Carole established Party Pieces, a business specializing in party supplies. Over the years, all three of their children have contributed to the company's operations at its headquarters in Berkshire. However, Party Pieces faced financial difficulties and was ultimately sold to entrepreneur James Sinclair in June after going into administration.
In 2011, Kate, their eldest daughter, married her university boyfriend, Prince William, who would later become the king. Here is a moment captured when Michael arrived at Westminster Abbey alongside his daughter Kate on her wedding day.
Carole and Michael have embraced the role of grandparents, welcoming Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—William and Kate's three children—into their family. They are also grandparents to the three little ones of Pippa and her husband, James Matthews, named Arthur, Grace, and Rose.
Additionally, their youngest son, James, is anticipating the arrival of his first child with his wife, Alizee Thevenet, later this year.