How James Middleton And Vogue Williams Ended Up On The Same Holiday: Meet The Sub-Royals

Inside the Middleton/Matthews group holiday to St Barts

Alizee Thevenet, Spencer Matthews, Vogue Williams, James Middleton

by Emily Maddick |
Updated on

When photographs of Kate Middleton’s younger brother, James, emerged last week, jogging in the Caribbean with his new girlfriend, Alizee Thevenet, and extended family Spencer Matthews and Vogue Williams, they identified a brand-new celebrity tribe – the ‘sub-royals’.

Pippa Middleton, 35, is the key player in this set, and the person who has united the two worlds of royals and reality TV by her marriage to James Matthews, 43. Formerly a professional racing driver, James is now a hedge fund manager whose wealth is estimated to be £2bn (nearly three times more than the Queen is worth). He’s the elder brother of former Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews, 30, who, along with his model wife Vogue Williams, 33, joined the Middletons on holiday at the Matthews’ uber-exclusive Eden Rock resort in St Barts.

Unlike the royals’ favourite Caribbean retreat, Mustique, where paparazzi are banned, St Barts provides the perfect photo op for the sub-royal set to get snapped jogging and kissing (thus helping to publicise the family business). The beauty of being in this clan is you can enjoy all the wealth and trappings of being associated with the royals – but without the responsibilities of the tours, ribbon cuttings or the small matter of leading the country one day.

Indeed, last week, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were pictured attending church with the Queen, the rest of Kate’s family were pictured with the Matthews relaxing on the beach in St Barts, including, of course, the ever-present matriarch of the sub-royals – the Kris Jenner of the clan – Carole Middleton, 63. Last month, Carole gave a rare interview in which she revealed she ‘hoped to have a lovely daughter-in-law’, so no doubt all pressure was on marshmallow company owner and sub-royal James, 31, to pop the question to his French girlfriend Alizee, 29.

James Middleton Alizee Thevenet

‘There is one main rule when it comes to the sub-royals: absolute discretion,’ a source told Grazia. ‘You never discuss the royal family in public and rarely in private. Carole’s interview with a broadsheet will have been approved by William and Kate. The only thing she said about William was that she had two “lovely” sons-in-law. ‘While Pippa and Carole are in regular contact with the Cambridges – Kate has been brilliant at advising Pippa on motherhood and Pippa pops over to the palace to visit with Arthur – they rarely discuss them with other sub-royals. Their contact with the Cambridges tends to be limited to family gatherings.’

The source added, ‘The Palace don’t mind the sub-royals being photographed – within reason, of course – as long as there are no royals in the pictures. If William and Kate had been in St Barts there might not have been so many public displays of affection between James and his girlfriend.’

Vogue Williams Spencer Matthews Baby

Pippa and Spencer get on well, which is key to the sub-royals’ dynamic. ‘Spencer is a changed man since getting married and becoming a father,’ a friend told Grazia. ‘He’s always been close to James, but not so much Pippa, who used to rib him about his wild reality-TV ways. Now they tease him about how Vogue has managed to tame him. He has been sober for over six months now, which is great, because Pippa, like her sister, rarely drinks. They are all obsessed with working out and fitness and it’s really brought them together.’

Pippa and Vogue have also bonded over being new mums. Last week, Spencer and Vogue debuted their new reality TV Show on E4, Spencer, Vogue And Baby Too. ‘It is extraordinary to think that royalty and reality TV are now so connected,’ added the source, ‘but that’s the time we’re living in, especially as an American TV star is now a member of the royal family. Spencer has been close to Harry for years and they all used to go out. But his new association with the royal family, now Pippa is his sister-in-law, no doubt helped him land his own spin-off.’ What are the chances of Harry, Meghan And Baby Too?

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