Where did Kate Middleton work before joining the Royal Family?

The Princess worked some surprisingly normal jobs before she became a royal

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Future)

Before joining the Royal Family in 2011, Kate Middleton worked in a series of surprisingly normal jobs.

With all her grace, it is sometimes easy to forget that Kate Middleton has only been a member of the Royal Family since 2011. She has taken to her new role as the Princess of Wales with apparent ease, delighting royal fans at royal engagements across the globe. But not all her previous occupations have been quite so glamorous. 

Before joining The Firm when Kate married Prince William in 2011, the future Queen worked in a variety of surprisingly normal jobs.

One of the first jobs Kate is known to have had was an incredibly hands-on and reportedly low-paid role. For four months before she headed off to university in Scotland, where she met her now-husband Prince William, she worked as a deckhand at the Ocean Village Marina in Southampton. 

Cal Tomlinson, one of the skippers that Kate worked with during her stint, spoke to royal author Katie Nicholl for her biography Kate: The Future Queen, which is available to buy on Amazon now

Talking about her time on deck, Tomlinson said, "It was back-breaking work. Kate mucked in and was very professional. She fitted right in, although she did stand out for being so pretty. She spoke well, she was very attractive, and she an air about her. She was competent and confident but very unassuming. 

"She was polite and respectful to whoever was in charge of her and neat as a pin. She was never wore any make-up; she was naturally beautiful."

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

When she got to university, like many students, Kate did some waitressing work, balancing the hours with her hectic studying schedule. She opened up about her time as a waitress during a 2019 broadcast of the Christmas TV special A Berry Royal Christmas, speaking with the show's host Mary Berry.

As Mary prepared a non-alcoholic cocktail, Kate spoke up, saying, "[This] Reminds me of my university days when I did a bit of waitressing."

When Mary asked if she was good at the job, Kate laughed and honestly replied, "No, I was terrible!"

After leaving university, in 2006, Kate, who was now officially dating Prince William, landed a job with the popular high street fashion brand Jigsaw. At 24,  she became their accessory buyer but left the brand just one year later to work for her family business Party Pieces. 

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Party Pieces, a party decoration supplier, is owned by Kate's mother Carole Middleton. The business may have started as a small scale operation, with Carole working from the Middletons' kitchen table, but the company is now significantly larger, with The Mirror reporting that it employs some 40 people.

All three of the Middleton children have worked for the business at some point, with Kate joining in 2007 to, according to reports, work as a website designer and photographer for the business.

Kate left Party Pieces in January 2011 following her engagement and upcoming wedding to Prince William. At the time, a royal aide confirmed her departure from the company, saying she was planning to 'concentrate full-time on preparing to become a member of the royal family'.

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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for Goodto.com. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.