Carole Middleton arrives at William and Kate's wedding in 2011
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Kate Middleton has inherited a number of qualities from her mum, ex British Airways flight attendant Carole Middleton, 66. Carole joined BA as cabin crew when she was just 21 and met her husband Michael, Kate’s father, at work. Some of the key skills she learned during her career have been passed on to the Duchess of Cambridge, according to author Marcia Moody.
In Moody’s 2013 book, Kate: A Biography, the author explained Carole’s BA training proved very useful for her time in the spotlight when Kate married Prince William, now 38, in 2011.
“Many commented on how composed the Middletons were at the royal wedding and, however much that came naturally, it seems likely that at least some of Carole’s early BA training set her in good stead for many areas of her life that were to follow,” wrote Moody.
“At the time, her training was almost like an antiquated and condensed finishing school, but now it simply comes across as old-fashioned good manners and poise.
“The same qualities can also be seen in Kate herself, in the way she carries herself.
“Always with a smile on her face, well-put-together, sociable and with impeccable manners.”
Being a cabin crew meant learning a plethora of new skills for Kate’s mother.
“Safety training for Carole and her colleagues involved time in swimming pools learning how to inflate life rafts, put life jackets on passengers and work the emergency chutes,” detailed Moody.
“They also learned first aid, which included how to deliver a baby, CPR, knowing how to administer the drugs carried on the aircraft for different passengers, being able to treat wounds, put an arm in a sling and treat a broken leg.
“The pass mark for safety and first aid was ninety-eight per cent, and if trainees didn’t pass first time around they could try again, but if they failed a second time they were out of the company.”
Once fully trained, wrote the author: “She was fully equipped to deliver a baby, mix a martini and save a life – all with a smile on her face and no ladders in her tights.”
It may have been a career imbued with glamour but it was a taxing job nonetheless.
“She might spend up to twenty-one days away from home, and had to be prepared for day or night flights, working long hours and sleeping at odd times,” penned Moody.
However, Carole’s experience of BA cabin crew life back in the 70s was very different to the world modern-day flight attendants inhabit.
“In 1976, air travel was a different world,” Moody wrote.
“Some male holidaymakers, who were just getting used to the etiquette, would walk up the steps on to the plane bare-chested or even still wearing their swimming trunks at the end of their holiday, although most pilots would insist they turn around and get changed before they were permitted to board.”
“It was also in the days when smoking was commonplace on aircraft, and one former crew member recalls that the cabin crew would all be smoking in the little galley kitchen when they weren’t tending to the customers, and they would emerge with their serving trays in a fug of smoke.”
Romances between staff frequently occurred, with cabin crew marrying cabin crew and even, as Carole did, pilots.
Kate’s mum was not a flight attendant for long, however.
She married Michael, now 71, in 1980 and become pregnant the following spring.
Carole chose to take a redundancy package from BA and move to Berkshire – little knowing she was raising the future wife of the heir to the throne.
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