Kate and Pippa Middleton’s brother, James, has been on the edge of the royal spotlight for years, but now his recently-discovered public Instagram page is sparking a deeper interest in the British entrepreneur. Plus, his new, deeply honest op-ed about mental health sheds new light on his mostly-private life.
Based on James’ posts, we can gather he’s an outdoorsman with an envious number of dogs, but there’s plenty more to learn. Here’s everything you need to know about the Duchess of Cambridge’s second sibling.
He’s the youngest Middleton sibling.
James, 31, is the third of the Middleton brood. He grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire with older sisters Kate, now 37, and Pippa, 35. He attended Marlborough College, a private boarding school that his siblings (and Princess Eugenie) also attended, Insider reports. He went on to attend Edinburgh University, but dropped out after a year.
When Kate started dating Prince William, James was cautious of the gossip regarding his sister, and the teasing that might ensue. “I used to be first up in the morning to make sure I could get to the papers and rip out any stories about my sister, so nobody would see them and there would be no conversations about them,” he told The Daily Mail in 2016.
His Instagram is full of gems.
Though Kate and Pippa don’t have public Instagram profiles, as fans pointed out, James’ has been public for months. But it got a boost yesterday after Spencer Matthews, Pippa’s brother-in-law, shared a goofy pic with James—and tagged him—from Spencer’s wedding to Vogue Williams last year.
Most noticeably, there are plenty of dog pics, which we’re certainly not complaining about.
There are also plenty of photos of James enjoying the outdoors.
And Pippa makes a cameo!
Although there are no photos of Kate, Prince William, or their children, James does make a reference to one of the royal kids in a post. On May 2, 2015, the day Princess Charlotte was born, he celebrated his new niece with an apt glass of pink champagne.
He has a customizable marshmallow business.
Middleton is the mastermind (or the “Wonka-in-Chief”) behind Boomf, a start-up company that prints your Instagrams and personal photos onto marshmallows. The company launched in December 2013 and also offers customizable chocolates and greeting cards (including ones that explode with confetti).
“When you see yourself on a marshmallow, or your loved one or your pet, you have a little moment with that little marshmallow. There aren’t many products in the world like that,” he told The Cut in 2014.
Before Boomf, James was behind the Cake Kit Company, a DIY cake set. It launched in 2007 but shuttered in 2015, Insider reports. In September 2018, Daily Mail reported that James was working as a tour guide for Pippa’s father-in-law David Matthews’ Scottish estate-turned-hotel, Glen Affric.
Sorry, ladies. He’s not single.
If you’re looking to become one of Kate and Pippa’s in-laws, your chances are slim at the moment. James is reportedly dating French financial analyst Alizee Thevenet, whom he brought to a family getaway in St. Barths, People reports.
He was previously dating actress and TV personality Donna Air, but the duo broke up in December 2017, she confirmed to The Mail on Sunday.
He wants to be the cool uncle.
Prince Harry isn’t the only fun uncle to Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. “I want to be the best uncle possible, like any uncle wants to be. I want to be the cool uncle, the fun uncle,” Matthews told Good Morning America in 2014, per The Washington Post.
He added to GMA, “We’re a really close family. And actually, we see each other and speak on the phone all the time, the odd Sunday lunch, or pop in for coffee or something like that.”
In addition to the royal kids, he also has Pippa’s new baby, Arthur, as a nephew.
He didn’t always have a beard.
In case you’re curious, here’s what he looks like pre-facial hair. He also joked that his mom, Carole Middleton, isn’t a fan of the heavy scruff. “My mother looks at it and says, “When are you going to get rid of it?” but then that’s because she wants me to be her little boy,” he told The Daily Mail.
He’s opening up about his mental health.
In a new op-ed for The Daily Mail, James makes a rare public statement to discuss having depression and ADD. He also talks about having dyslexia, and how it was difficult for him to keep up in school as a child.
“You may wonder why I have chosen to speak now about the clinical depression that first hit me at the end of 2016,” Middleton writes. “Firstly, I feel — although I’d never say I am cured of it — that now I understand it and, with professional help, have worked out strategies for coping. Today, I feel a new sense of purpose and zest for life.”
James explains that in 2017, “I barely functioned, stopped talking to my friends, went through the motions of living and working but achieved nothing at all.” He was also close to closing his company and his family was “desperately worried” about him. However, he was eventually able to get medical help, take time off, and recoup. “I learned about depression and enjoyed going to therapy,” he wrote.
James was inspired to speak up about his mental health, partly because of the charity Heads Together (patroned by his sister Kate, brother-in-law Prince William, and Prince Harry) which fights the stigma of mental health issues and encourages people to talk about their mental well-being.
James also shares advice for people who might be going through what he endured: “If I could leave you with just one thought, it would be this: ‘It’s OK not to be OK.’”
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