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Kate Middleton's Family: Five Things You Didn't Know!

Sure, the tabloids and blogosphere (um, guilty) can't seem to go a day without breathlessly reporting on the minutiae of Kate Middleton's life.
/ Source: E!online

Sure, the tabloids and blogosphere ( um, guilty ) can't seem to go a day without breathlessly reporting on the minutiae of Kate Middleton's life.

But what do we really know about Prince William's bride-to-be ? Sure, Buckingham Palace finally got around to releasing their first official biography of the future princess (or whatever title awaits her) last month, but there's nothing juicy to be had in an authorized briefing.

Which is where we come in. Here are five things you need to know about the future in-laws of the royal family...

1. Partying Is in Their Blood: Well, party organizing, anyway. While it's common knowledge by now that Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, founded the online supply company Party Pieces (current going rate for a Princess Party Ultimate Party Kit : $34.43), Kate's younger brother, 23-year-old James Middleton, is also in the business of celebrating.

In 2007, he founded The Cake Kit, a company which sells, as one might expect, cake kits (including the ingredients and decorations necessary to make novelty pastries in varying shapes), which he first packaged and delivered from the back of a souped-up burger van.

"I believe baking may be the most alluring kitchen activity for children," reads a statement from the entrepreneur on his company's website. "I have great childhood memories of my mother baking and I was always a willing participant, especially if it meant I could re-varnish the kitchen floor with treacle!" He notes that the concept behind the company was to "simplify home baking" and to "get more people back in the kitchen baking cakes without having the hassle of getting all the ingredients together at the seventh hour." Seventh hour? We take it that's Brit-speak for 11th hour--separated by a common language, indeed.

A few years back, he was even commissioned by Hello! magazine to bake them 21 cakes featuring their most iconic covers--one of which, incidentally, was of their Princess Diana memorial issue. Needless to say, the confection raised more than a few royal brows.

As it happens, Kate may be the only Middleton who hasn't gone the entrepreneur route (though we'd wager she isn't exactly losing sleep over her life choices). In addition to her parents and younger brother, her sister Pippa is also something of a businesswoman, having founded The Party Times, an online party magazine, last summer.

"With a seasonal feel, we will cover different aspects of children's parties and include fun recipes, up and coming party themes and fabulous entertainment ideas to make sure you never miss out on what's hot," reads her official site, which adds that "over time, we'll also be branching into grown-up celebrations." Pippa, who previously worked in marketing and PR for an events catering company, and who also currently works as an events manager, will no doubt pick up some inspiration this month.

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2. Now That Kate's Taken, Pippa's the Hottest Bachelorette in Londontown! At 27 years old, maid of honor Pippa Middleton ("Pip" to those who know her well..."Philippa" to those who don't) is quite the catch. Two years her sister's junior, the Edinburgh University graduate (degree in English, appropriately enough) was voted Tatler magazine's No. 1 Society Singleton of 2008. Indeed, she's often cited in the press as the Middleton sister the family though most likely to secure the best match (though good luck trying to best the future King of England).

Of course, her years-old singleton title may be out of date for two reasons now: photographic evidence suggests that Prince William's old school chum Alex Loudon has been spending an inordinate amount of time with the society sis, and the duo reportedly started dating before Christmas. Alex is even expected to be Pippa's date to the royal wedding festivities this month. Not a bad social circle to be part of, eh?

There is, of course, one down side: along with Kate, Pippa's effervescent personality has led to her being dubbed a "Wisteria sister"--someone who, as has been routinely repeated in the press, is "highly decorative, terribly fragrant, and has a ferocious ability to climb." Well, what do you expect from a nation that had no trouble labeling Middleton "Waity Katie" for eight years?

3. Her Brother Is Higher-Educationally Challenged: We're talking about the future brother-in-law to a future monarch here--as if we're gonna call him a college dropout! Even if that's exactly what he is.

While James started out on the same prestigious academic path as his two sisters, logging time at Marlborough College, he dropped out of his studies at Edinburgh University after just one year.

"Within a few weeks I knew it wasn't where I wanted to be," he told the Daily Telegraph back in 2008. "I said to myself, I would see a year out in case it got good. But I was always looking for business ideas." And therein lies the silver lining: it was only after he quit school that James was able to start up his company.

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4. They Start Health Crazes: Turns out, Carole is to the diet industry what her daughter is to fashion. Sure, it's usually be the bride-to-be who goes on the wedding diet, but wispy English rose extraordinaire Kate doesn't exactly have any extra pounds to lose. Her mother Carole, however, decided to publicly embark on something called The Dukan Diet. What ensued was a media frenzy to get the skinny, as it were, on the diet seemingly fit for royalty. Or at least, someone who would soon be related to royalty.

"I've been doing it four days and I lost four pounds," Carole told a reporter, adding that she was surviving on "cottage cheese and prawns." Um, tasty? Regardless, her disclosure was enough for Good Morning America and Today (and no doubt, the lifestyles section of your local newspaper) to devote segments to the diet craze, and for health gurus to line up to slam the high-protein regiment, which, more or less, is a stricter, more Frenchy take on Atkins. That the book is released stateside on April 19--just before the royal wedding--probably won't hurt sales.

5. They May Be "New Money," But Their Generosity Is Old Hat: Sure, much has been made by the ever class-conscious British press (to say nothing of their British peers) that before the family made their millions in the party supply biz, they were decidedly middle-class. (Michael was a British Airways officer, while Carole worked as a flight attendant.) But that's not stopping them from paying more than their fair share of the exorbitant (to put it mildly) wedding costs.

While it's traditionally the father of the bride who foots the bill for the ceremony, that's not the case with royals--the royal family, regardless of which gender is strolling down the aisle--has long born the sole financial responsibility for their relatives' weddings. However, seeing as how the security costs alone could bankrupt the Rockefellers, and so as not to overburden heir future in-laws, the Middletons will be personally shelling out six-figures toward the price of the wedding--which, for the record, is expected to tally up to a staggering $10 million.

"It is something they absolutely wanted to do, and William graciously accepted," a source told Vanity Fair earlier this year.

Is it a drop in the hat? Maybe. But this is one of those instances where it's the thought, more than anything, that counts. And it's that type of behavior that goes a long way toward explaining why William took to calling Michael "Dad" long before the wedding planning started taking place.

Call us crazy, but we think these two kids are going to make it.

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