William, Kate and her siblings will treat her like a queen! Turning 60 can be daunting for some women. But if Carole Middleton has struggled with the prospect of entering her seventh decade, at least she has been able to celebrate the occasion in style at one of her favourite places on the planet.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s mum spent her milestone birthday on January 31 on the Caribbean island of Mustique with her family. Looking much younger than her years, she was spotted at Gatwick Airport with her husband Michael as they headed for check-in. A flight attendant for many years before starting her party planning business, Carole is no doubt still a dab hand at packing sensibly. Escaping the chilly British winter and heading to Mustique in January has become a tradition for Carole, Michael (65) and their children Kate (33), Pippa (31) and James (27) in recent years and this year was no exception.
The Middletons were joined by Kate’s husband Prince William and their 18-month-old son Prince George. William (32) didn’t make the trip last year because he was busy studying agricultural management at Cambridge University. It was also originally thought that he wouldn’t be going this year either because he is meant to be studying for exams to become an air ambulance pilot. But he obviously didn’t want to miss out on the warm weather or his mother-in-law’s big day, and took some time off.
When George accompanied his mum, grandparents and aunt and uncle to Mustique last January, it was his first-ever overseas trip. Now, after his long-haul journey to New Zealand and Australia last April and several flights to Scotland to stay at the royal residence Balmoral Castle, the toddler is well on his way to becoming a seasoned traveller.
Other passengers on the scheduled British Airways flight from London to the Caribbean reported that George was “impeccably behaved” during the nine-hour plane ride, keeping himself amused with cuddly toys, including a stuffed giraffe. George, his parents, Pippa and James were seen changing planes on the island of St Lucia, boarding a small private plane for the final leg to exclusive Mustique. Accompanied by a team of bodyguards from Scotland Yard, they headed for luxurious Villa Rocina, a plantation-style estate that costs a whopping $26,000 a week to hire.
For that, they get a 9m pool, four members of staff – a chef, a butler, a housekeeper and a gardener – an air-conditioned gym, dining gazebo and four bedrooms, each with an en suite and dressing room. The house, built in 1971, is just a few metres from the beach, which is reached via a private garden. Rocina is one of around 100 villas on the private island, which is run by the Mustique Company, owned by people who have homes there. Sir Mick Jagger owns a mansion on the island, which he often lets out to celebrity pals like Sir Paul McCartney. The island’s most famous resident was the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, who was given land there as a wedding present and had a stunning holiday home, Les Jolies Eaux, built for her.
Insiders say the Middletons and their royal relatives keep going back to Mustique because they not only love the weather and spectacular scenery, but also the privacy. The duchess and baby George are expected to spend up to two weeks at the holiday home, but William may stay for a much shorter period as he has to return to the UK to complete his exams. Paparazzi are banned from the island and apart from two years ago when Kate – then four months pregnant with George – was snapped walking along a beach in a bikini by a photographer who breached the ban, they have been left in peace.
Now six months pregnant with her second child and over her debilitating morning sickness, Kate has been able to chill out with her doting family around to share child-minding duties. Sources say while the annual holidays in Mustique are all about relaxing, Kate and her siblings Pippa and James were likely to have put quite a lot of planning into a special party for their mum.
Words: by Judy Kean