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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Cashing in on royal-wedding parties?

By Autumn Brewington

Kate Middleton's parents, Michael and Carole. (AP)

The Daily Mail asks whether Kate Middleton's parents, owners of a party-supply company, are poised to make money off celebrations of their daughter's marriage to the second in line to the throne. Someone posted to the company's Facebook page, the paper reports, asking whether it planned to sell "traditional British themed products" for royal-wedding celebrations. A staffer replied that "we certainly will be doing some traditional street party bits and these will be available mid-late February -- will keep you posted!"

On the one hand, this is a non-story. The Middletons run a company called Party Pieces. It's no surprise that they would have goods for a block party. As the article noted: "Carole and Mike Middleton already sell patriotic Union Jack bunting, plastic crockery and table decorations suited to the thousands of Coronation-style parties that are expected to be held across the country on April 29." What's objectionable?

But the family's business success jangles a few nerves. It's not just that the few mentions of Kate on the company Web site -- since taken down -- drew criticism, as some questioned her willingness to be quoted or have her photo displayed when she had complained about photographers invading her privacy. Several Daily Mail articles that mention the Middletons' business have also referred to what it has bought them -- noting the value of the family's home, where they have vacationed or the annual cost of the schools Kate and her siblings attended. This story noted that "until now" the Middletons have "studiously avoided any suggestion that their products are designed for the royal wedding," adding that the family is "desperate to avoid being seen to cash in on Kate's royal connections, amid fears that the Queen would strongly disapprove."

Selling plates with Kate's face on them would be cashing in. But until something like that is on offer, this seems to be more about the success of Kate's "commoner" parents than the Middletons capitalizing on their daughter.

Meanwhile, those Britons planning street celebrations to mark the wedding should be careful -- some might find that roping off their blocks for a party will cost them.

Under traffic legislation adopted in 2004, the Telegraph reports, residents cannot block off or direct drivers away from streets with homemade signs; they have to engage a traffic-management company. The article says that some areas' leaders have pledged to cut the penalty but that legislators in other places say the law ties their hands.

By Autumn Brewington  | February 2, 2011; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Kate Middleton, Prince William, Royal family  | Tags:  Autumn Brewington  
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Next: Commemorative condoms?

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