The Middletons in Focus

For better or worse the Middletons seem to hit the headlines on a regular basis.

Last Tuesday, Kate was described as a plastic princess designed to breed by none other than Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, the darling of the literati.

The so-called clique of monarchist sycophants mauled Hilary Mantel for daring to utter the unforgivable without giving her the chance to explain her side of the argument. Her friends, however, believe that what she said was taken out of context – yet she was left to roast. The double-faced Establishment proved once again that latent hypocrisy and expediency go hand in hand.

The week before, Kate was caught by photographers – but this time with her top on – wearing a bikini while holidaying in the Caribbean, with her pregnant bump in full view. The lesson of ‘once bitten, twice shy’ was obviously discarded or perhaps her luck has simply run out.

Her sister Pippa has become newsworthy since Kate’s wedding, when her wiggling pert bottom almost stole the show. Then came the payment by Penguin of £400,000 for a moronic book she wrote which has commercially bombed; and currently for her social and love life that the press avidly follows.

Last Saturday, a shocking report in the Daily Mail shed light on the ghetto families who are paid 10p an hour making party gifts for Kate’s mum’s £30 million business empire.

It is much too horrific and painful to read the special investigation carried out by David Jones reporting from the murderous Mexican border city of Tijuana where, in a hillside ghetto, a five-year-old girl toils with her mother in a subtly exploitative industry. Mother and daughter are making piñatas – those colourful cardboard figures filled with sweets which cascade out when their cardboard casing is broken with a stick. They have become a popular source of amusement at middle-class birthday parties, weddings and other celebratory events in Britain.

Among the companies that sell them in sizeable quantities is Party Pieces, the Berkshire-based business run by the Duchess of Cambridge’s family, which offers more than forty types on its website, in all manner of designs, from lions and castles to Minnie Mouse.

The report goes on to say: ‘Since Carole and Michael Middleton have never been slow to cash in on their royal connection (last year they launched a range of regally-themed trinkets to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee), they now include giant piñatas in party packs called Little Prince and Little Princess: blue for a boy, pink for a girl.’ Can it be pure coincidence that their daughter is expecting her own little prince or princess?

Monica Villegas and her little girl work ten hours a day seven days a week and earn as little as 10p an hour. They say, ‘It is so unfair! So much work, so little money!’ They add: ‘I hope Princess Kate will do something for us.’

What disastrous PR for Britain and for the royal family as a whole. To be involved wittingly or unwittingly in such misery is beyond anything we could have imagined in the past.

In an article I wrote last week, I suggested that the Duke of Cambridge should as much as possible distance himself from his in-laws for I truly believe that their influence could be an embarrassment for the young royal couple.

The monarchy survives and prospers because of the Queen’s immaculate example. I say this although I am not in the least enamoured with the legion of royal hangers-on, whose advice is often more erroneous than not.

To shield Kate’s family gives the wrong signals. If the Middletons’ zeal for enriching themselves without due care or diligence is not contained, then it will certainly reflect badly on the future of the monarchy.

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