Jubilee It's party time courtesy of Carole again! Middletons reveal items to help celebrate (but could they have been a bit less tacky)
As leading purveyors of party paraphernalia, you could hardly expect the Middletons to ignore the commercial potential of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
But now they're part of The Firm, some might question whether their efforts could have been a teensy bit less tacky.
While Her Majesty isn't one to stand on ceremony all the time – remember that breakfast Tupperware – one can only wonder what she will make of some of the gaudy street party items concocted in her honour.
What's on offer on the Party Pieces website
Among them are state carriage-shaped cardboard teapot vases, coat of arms cups with the words 'Long Live G & T' and canape flags featuring crown-wearing corgies.
The Jubilee Celebrations range is well plugged on the Duchess of Cambridge's parents' Party Pieces website. Curiously, however, it makes no direct mention of the Queen – with whom Michael and Carole Middleton have dined privately at Windsor and accompanied to Royal Ascot.
The website reads: 'It's a year for celebrations, and right at the top of the list is the Diamond Jubilee which will centre around a long weekend on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th of June!
There's so much planned to celebrate this landmark occasion and we've put together a range of British street party supplies and decorations to help you plan a spectacular party.'
Boss: Carole Middleton, mother of Kate Middleton, arriving at a charity function
Since their daughter, Kate, married
Prince William last April, the Middletons have had a tightrope to walk.
This involves balancing the needs of their business with the desire not
to embarrass Kate by being accused of cashing in on her royal standing.
However news that the couple had brought out a 'Britannia' range ahead of the royal wedding – featuring, among other things, royal trivia scratch cards – triggered accusations they were blatantly milking Kate's profile.
The latest selection of goods is likely to add fuel to the fire.
The most expensive item in the Jubilee range is a 'British Street Party Ultimate Party Kit' for 43.03, featuring plates, cups, bunting and balloons.
The plates bear the picture of a silver unicorn, which is on the royal coat of arms, and the date 1952, the year the Queen acceded to the throne.
The cups feature a version of the same coat of arms but this time incorporating dogs, knights and a squirrel with some acorns – perhaps a veiled reference to the Middleton family's own coat of arms which also features the nut – with the words 'Long Live G & T'.
Other plates feature a Queen-style figure wearing a crown and the words 'Hope and Glory Tea and Scones'.
Party Pieces was set up Mrs Middleton around her kitchen table when Kate was just five. This year it is celebrating its own jubilee – silver – marking 25 years in business.
A spokesman for the firm was unavailable for comment yesterday while the duchess's spokesmen have always made clear that they do not speak for the Middletons.
But the Mail understands that Mrs Middleton has dismissed criticism over their business dealings, saying: 'At the end of the day we are running a business, not a charity.
'Of course we don't want to do anything that will embarrass Catherine but I really feel as if we are caught between a rock and a hard place.'
Another royal source adds: 'The Middletons are very pragmatic people but Carole has made the point to the prince's staff that they also have an obligation to their employees.
'So while they want to ensure their business interests do not embarrass their daughter any more than possible, their staff – which number around 30 – must come first.'