Kate Middleton’s pre-royal CV! From ‘backbreaking work’ as a deckhand to waitressing and a short-lived stint in fashion – the royal had a surprisingly normal career before joining the Firm

  • Kate Middleton is now the Princess of Wales, but prior jobs were less lofty
  • Among her previous roles, she worked as a waitress, a deckhand, and in fashion
  • READ MORE:  Inside the £1.8 million Chelsea flat where Princess of Wales lived

While Kate Middleton has recently taken up a new role – as the Princess of Wales – not all her previous occupations have been quite so lofty.

Before joining the Firm in 2011, when she wed Prince William, the future Queen worked in a series of surprisingly normal jobs.

Ahead of going to university, teenage Kate took on some ‘back breaking work’, earning a pittance as a deckhand in Southampton.

And after leaving education, she famously worked in fashion, taking on a role as an accessory buyer for high street brand Jigsaw. Her final foray into the world of work ahead of joining the royals, was working for her family business, Party Pieces.

Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the jobs Kate Middleton took on before she became a royal…

‘Back-breaking work’ as a deckhand in Southampton  

The Princess of Wales’ first job was hands on, as a deckhand at the Ocean Village Marina in Southampton. Pictured in Cowes in 2019 after she married Prince William 

One of the first jobs the now-Princess of Wales is known to have worked at sounds like a surprisingly hands-on role for the royal.

Ahead of going to university in Scotland (where she famously met her husband-to-be Prince William), like many others her age, Kate took on low-paid work.

Over a four-month period, she worked as a deckhand at the Ocean Village Marina in Southampton.

One of the skippers Kate worked under at the time, Cal Tomlinson, spoke to author Katie Nicholl for her biography Kate: The Future Queen.

He 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.’

A ‘terrible’ waitress during her university days

Like many other students, Kate once took on a waitressing job, admitting in 2019 she was ‘terrible.’ Pictured in London in 2019 

These days, Kate has the means to be waited on hand and foot if she likes, but this was not always the case.

Like many other students, Kate took on some waitressing while she was at university.

It was during the 2019 broadcast of Christmas TV special A Berry Royal Christmas, that the princess opened up about her hospitality experience to show host Mary Berry.

During one segment, Mary prepared a non-alcoholic cocktail, which she then passed to Kate to take over to guests.

This prompted Kate to quip: ‘Reminds me of my university days when I did a bit of waitressing.’

When Mary asked if she was good at the job, Kate responded very honestly.

She laughed, and replied: ‘No, I was terrible!’

First foray into the world of fashion 

After leaving university, Kate – who was then the girlfriend of Prince William – landed a job with a major fashion chain.

At the age of 24, she took on a role as an accessory buyer for high street brand Jigsaw around the end of 2006.

Speaking to confirm the appointment, a Jigsaw spokesperson said at the time: ‘We can confirm that Kate joined our staff two or three weeks ago as an accessory buyer for Jigsaw and Jigsaw Junior. We can’t comment any further.’

According to reports, the future Queen had already helped out the brand at a fashion shoot, where she ran errands, fetching cups of tea and snacks.

When Kate was hired by Jigsaw, it was owned by fashion tycoons John and Belle Robinson – close family friends of the Middleton’s.

At the time, the appointment was described as a major coup for Jigsaw, having the woman who was expected to marry the future king among its staff.

Although she left the brand in 2007, to go and work for her family business Party Pieces, the Princess of Wales still appears to be a fan, and has been spotted wearing items of its clothing in recent years.

Working for the family business 

The Princess of Wales, pictured with her sister Pippa and her mother Carole Middleton in 2011, also helped out her parents with the family business, Party Pieces, when she was younger

After leaving her role at Jigsaw, Kate went on to work for her parents’ business, Party Pieces.

The party decoration supplier is owned by Kate’s mother Carole Middleton. It was founded in 1987 when Carole was looking for inspiration for her daughter Kate’s fifth birthday party.

She realised there was a gap in the market and set up the company that offers time-pressed parents an easy choice of imaginative parties for their children. 

While it may have started as a tiny operation working from the Middletons’ kitchen table, it is now a much larger business employing some 40 people and working internationally.

The brand’s best-selling Party Pieces Collection features products such as plates, napkins, cups, hats, balloons, treat stands and decorations.

All three of her children have worked for it at some point, with Kate joining in 2007, after leaving her job at Jigsaw.

Her role, according to reports, included working as a website designer and photographer for the business.

She left Party Pieces in January 2011, ahead of her April wedding to Prince William. 

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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