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Saturday 16 June 2012

Middleton Sour Grapes

[Update at end of post]

An outburst of mean-spiritedness on a scale that is monumental even by its own standards has broken out in the Daily Mail. The family of the Duchess of Cambridge run a successful business. They are moving to a larger house. These, for the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, would normally be hallmarks of the aspirational lifestyle which his paper cultivates so assiduously.

Michael and Carole Middleton smile and pretend they are really pleased to meet all those wonderful press people

But clearly Michael and Carole Middleton have become a little too aspirational for the Vagina Monologue, and so the word has gone out to cut them down to size, fire a warning shot across the bows, to let them know that while the Mail is keen to reward aspiration, it frowns on the thought that this may have moved into the realms of conspicuous consumption.

The reason for the attack is that word has reached Dacreland that the Middletons have decided to move house. This does happen from time to time, but on this occasion the family are swapping a mere £1.5 million property for one alleged to cost over £4.5 million. So what? It’s their money, isn’t it? Indeed, but for the Mail this means they are getting above themselves.

So f***ing what if I'm a millionaire too, c***?!?

For most people, of course, it’s a case of fair play to them. Michael Middleton spent many years as a flight dispatcher, and by all accounts put in plenty of hours doing it. During his career he met, among others, Carole, who was cabin crew for BA at a time when there was still some cachet in doing the job. Both jobs, particularly hers, are far less glamorous now than they were then.

The Middletons chose their moment to get out of the aviation industry and start their own business. In doing so, they swapped often unpredictable hours for very long ones, but at least they got to see their home and children rather more often. That business, Party Pieces, is now worth an estimated £30 million, and you can be pretty certain that the pair of them have earned it.

But the Mail is having none of it, instead whining about the Middletons’ new home: “Already, it is said that they plan to convert outbuildings at their new des res ... to billet protection officers when Kate and Prince William come to stay”. Er, hello? She’s their sodding daughter, what’s wrong with her coming to stay? And what’s wrong with her bringing her husband along?

That does not occur to hack Paul Scott, who instead witters on about Legoland and what someone wrote on a blog that has something to do with the Middletons’ firm. And pushing the idea that the couple have been trading on their Royal connections, which is rubbish. They’d made enough to send their children to Marlborough College well before Kate met Wills.

They worked hard to get that new house. Get over it, Mail people.

[UPDATE 17 June 1200 hours: the Telegraph has dutifully followed the Mail story by telling readers that the Middletons can't actually afford their new house, and that Prince William is chipping in some of his inheritance from his late mother to help. There is no evidence for this - the chance of anyone in or around the Royal Family handing over the information is not unadjacent to zero - so the piece merely notes that the paper "has learned". Yeah, right.

They do, however, get a word from "one of the Prince's friends", which does not, repeat not, mean someone who shared a sherbet with Wills in a St Andrews bar a few years back, or one of the regulars at Guy Pelly's thankfully now closed nightclub in Chelsea. Otherwise, the story depends on sniffily recounting the former occupations of Michael and Carole Middleton, and recycles content from the Mail.

At no point does the Telegraph piece mention that the Middletons are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of their family business, and that that business has been very successful and lucrative for them. Nor does it mention their hard work in making it a success. Like the Mail, the Tel is cheap and sneering in its attitude to a couple and their family who have applied themselves and made it in life.

So that's another bunch of hacks who need to get over themselves, then]

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