Hilary Mantel attack on 'plastic' Kate Middleton sparks anger

Feb 19, 2013

Author calls pregnant Duchess a 'doll' with 'no personality' - but have critics missed the point?

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Hilary Mantel

AWARD-WINNING author Hilary Mantel has switched her attention from Tudor royals to their latter day equivalents and passed scathing judgment on the Duchess of Cambridge.

The double Booker Prize-winning novelist appeared to round on Kate Middleton in an hour-long lecture for the London Review of Books called 'Royal Bodies' about the role of the monarchy.

In it she described the wife of Prince William as "a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung... with no personality of her own".

She added that her "only point and purpose" was to give birth and said that now she was pregnant Kate had been "draped in another set of threadbare attributions".

And that was not all. "Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character," said Mantel. "She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture."

She added that the Duchess "appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished."

Her comments have caused a storm in some sections of the media.

The Daily Mail describes Mantel's comments as "astonishing and venomous". The Daily Telegraph women's editor Emma Barnett calls the lecture an "incredibly unfair character assassination".

In another piece for the Telegraph, Barnett claims she is "sick of people like Mantel and Louise Mensch lambasting the Duchess". The editor of royal magazine Majesty also declares herself appalled.

However, The Times points out that much of the perceived criticism from Mantel was actually about the media representation of the Duchess.

The comments about the Duchess having "dead eyes" and a "strained smile" actually referred to her official portrait, which drew widespread scorn when it was unveiled last month.

A spokesman for Mantel claimed the lecture was "sympathetic" to Kate and that it was about "how the institution of royalty has to project and how it comes across".

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Kate is gorgeous

Seems like jealousy. KM gets a lot of attention and HM doesn't.

KM is an easy target; she isn't exceptionally pretty and she is a bit skinny but still people say she's a real beauty; just because she is Royal. She's a national heroine for nothing.

Seems pleasant enough, quite sweet, but that is all, so far. Maybe she will develop to justify the fawning, who knows.

P.S. It has been suggested that HM's comments have been taken out of context and they were not in any way an attack on KM but criticism of the way we see them (Royals) and what we expect.

I think Hilary Mantel is a fat, boring, old tart. At least she is in a position to make offensive remarks about me. Sadly, she chose to attack one of the few people in the world who are unable to respond to her. I'm sure she is proud of herself for being so breave and clever.

This Hilary woman is revolting - look at those yellow teeth
and the insincere 'smirk' on her face - give poor Kate a chance - none of us would change places with her no matter how much wealth she now has the use of - what a horrible life with no freedom and all these spiteful people just dying to rip her to bits - leave her alone, we all want the best possible life for Diana's lovely boys - if Will loves her, Kate deserves everyone's full support in this new difficult role.!!

I agree, I will gladly sell my house to pay for purity squads to incarcerate anyone found in a built-up area in possession of yellow teeth and a smirk. I am a big nazi, kate is gorgeous, my hovercraft is full of eels.

HM may be fat and boring, and old and a tart. She was asked to make a speech so she did. If you don't like what you think she said, actually read what she actually said, respond to what she said, rather than what you or the Daily Mail thinks she said, and express yourself. For all I know you are a fat boring old tart, and for all you know I am. That is irrelevant. Attack HM's words, not HM.

You may reply "but HM attacked KM"

Really? Are you sure? Have you read her speech? If you have then quote me the offending bits, please, I wish to be educated.