The mother of Kate, Princess of Wales, was accused by creditors of “betrayal” after the business she set up in 1987 collapsed.
At one point, Party Pieces was so successful it allowed Mrs Middleton to send her three children, Kate, Pippa and James to the £42,930-a-year Marlborough College, and purchase a millionaire’s manor house in Berkshire.
But a source close to Mrs Middleton has laid bare her disappointment at how the business crumbled.
Speaking to the Daily Mail’s Richard Eden, a friend said Carole is “understandably upset and deeply disappointed in this situation”.
Carole Middleton ‘upset’ by fall of Party Pieces and ‘desperately sad’ to see it sold off
They continued: “Over the past five months she really has done her best to find a buyer, who not only would take the business forward, but would also honour any outstanding debts.
“Carole believes in accountability and accepts she had been a little naïve to step back and trust someone else to run the business she had spent decades nurturing and it’s been desperately sad to see the company sold off in this way.”
An administrator’s report said that the debt owed to creditors included a payment of £218,749 to RBS bank to cover a Coronavirus Business Interruption loan, £1.4m in unsecured loans and £456,008 to other creditors.
Administrators noted that it was “highly unlikely” any cash would actually be received by the creditors.
Carole and Michael Middleton began Party Pieces in 1987
The friend continued: “The truth is Carole had stepped back from the business over three years ago, trusting the day-to-day running to a new management team.
“Sadly the business took a turn for the worse and by the time she realised, it was just too late.”
But, Mr Eden reported that Mrs Middleton had given assurances that all debts owed by Party Pieces would be repaid in full.
Since the company’s collapse earlier this year, Party Pieces was sold to the Teddy Tastic Bear Company Limited for around £180,000, the report said.
Plans to keep the company’s 12 existing employees, while remaining at its Ashampstead, Berkshire base, were ongoing.
But the report added: “Based on current estimates, it is uncertain whether there will be funds available to enable a distribution to preferential creditors.
“It is unlikely there will be funds available to enable a distribution to unsecured creditors.”
Party Pieces was severely hit during the coronavirus pandemic, the report said, with revenue dropping from £4.5million to £3.2million between 2021 and 2022.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK