LONDON, April 28, 2011— -- As far as the Middletons go, Kate is not considered the potential bee in the queen's bonnet, the Sun royal editor Duncan Larcombe says.
"This is the big fear that the palace have," he said. "Kate's perfect. But, ultimately, unfortunately for them, her entire family now from this day onwards will be exposed to high levels of scrutiny."
Let's start with the siblings, James and Pippa Middleton. Kate asked sister Pippa, 27, to be her chief bridesmaid, a role Brits traditionally give to a much younger girl. Pippa almost stole the spotlight. "Pippa has a reputation as being the really fun one, slightly louder and more outgoing than Kate," Tatler magazine editor Catherine Ostler said. "Possibly slightly naughtier.
"To a certain section of British men, she's become the most eligible girl in England."
But rumor has it that Pippa's off the market. She reportedly started dating Alex Loudon, an old friend of William's, before Christmas.
Pippa put her English degree from Edinburgh University to use in the summer of 2010 when she launched the Party Times, an online party magazine. The site is a must-see destination with everything you need to know about planning parties, and includes theme ideas, tips and games. Pippa knows a lot about the party planning business, considering her parents founded Party Pieces, an online party supply company, in 1987.
Meanwhile, brother James, 23, has remained more or less in the shadows. The youngest child of the Middleton family, James was only 15 when Kate started dating William.
James went to Edinburgh University, where he was studying English, but decided to drop out to start his upmarket bakery business, Cake Kit Company. His company, a subsidiary of his parents' business, has become somewhat successful.
"There is no doubt about it, James would like to be the next Richard Branson [of the Virgin Group companies]," a friend of the young entrepreneur told the Telegraph. "He is surfing on the crest of a wave at the moment. All his friends think he will make serious money."
He could be forgiven if he is feeling a little nervous. He will give the only reading at the royal wedding in front of a congregation of 1,900 and a global television audience of millions.
James will read from Romans 12: 1-2, 9-18, which proclaims: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds." It also says: "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord."
Now, the wider Middleton family, like any family, has its black sheep. Hands down is Gary Goldsmith: Kate's tattooed uncle, her mother's brother. He's a millionaire businessman who was allegedly caught in a tabloid sting in Ibiza, Spain. The News of the World claimed to have "exposed his drugs and vice shame."
"I think Wills and Kate will certainly be hoping that Uncle Gary behaves himself on the wedding day," Larcombe said. "And there'll be a few members of the Middleton clan keeping a very close eye on him."
Goldsmith made the guest list, as did (perhaps, surprisingly) his ex-wife, Luan Goldsmith, and their 10-year-old daughter, Tallulah.
But it's not just Uncle Gary who has made a buck or two. Kate's parents run a lucrative Internet mail order company.
"They're self-made millionaires and we should all be celebrating that," royal historian Robert Lacey said.
"They're just a natural, normal family like the rest of the people that come in here, down to earth, lovely family, very polite, very nice," John Haley, the landlord at the local pub, the Old Boot, said.
Kate Middleton's parents are successful but the family was less prosperous a generation ago.
Her mother's father was called Ron and he was a truck driver. His parents were Edith, a domestic servant, and Charlie, who delivered coal.
Kate's maternal grandmother was called Dorothy, and she came from a family who, for generations, were coal miners in the pits of northern England.
"I'd love to think that I'm as good looking as Kate but I'm sadly not," said Peter Beedle, Kate's second cousin, once removed.
Beedle's family has run an award winning fish and chip shop for 100 hundred years.
Middleton Relatives Dealt Different Hands
Living nearby is Anna Partington, a small town hairdresser. And she's Kate's third cousin.
"Eeeh, I'm related to her," she said. "Lady Anna."
Partington and Kate's great grandmothers were sisters.
"Yeah, we look alike," Partington said. "We're all pretty, the girls in our family."
But fate, and money, dealt them different hands.
"Well, she went to university and college," the hairdresser said. "And I didn't. I left school and worked."
Kate's self-made parents sent her to private school and St. Andrews University, where she met William and is now on course to be a princess.
On dad Michael Middleton's side were affluent lawyers from the north of England. There are plenty of Middletons on the guest list, including Michael's siblings and cousins.
Kate's dad was a flight controller for British Airways, where he met Kate's mum Carole, a flight attendant.
William's buddies reportedly used to mock Kate by saying "Doors to Manual" when she entered a room.
"I do think people have been terrifically, really unappealingly and horribly snobby about it," Marina Hyde of the Guardian newspaper said.
The class system is well ingrained in the British psyche, however much people would like to think it's not. Time, however, has changed this to some extent.
"A generation ago, someone like her would never have had a chance to marry a prince," Hyde said. "She would have been called a commoner and he'd have had to go looking for some nice princess of Denmark."
Now Middleton is set to be queen one day. A thought, one imagines, that her grandmother Dorothy would never have thought possible.
"It's a great moment, a real breakthrough," historian Lacey said. "Kate comes from an ordinary, common family. Not Lady Kate Middleton."