Devon novelist Hilary Mantel refuses to apologise for saying Kate Middleton has no personality
Award-winning novelist Hilary Mantel has defended describing the Duchess of Cambridge as a "shop-window mannequin" whose only purpose is to breed, saying: "I have absolutely nothing to apologise for."
The double Booker Prize winner made headlines last month when she criticised Kate as having no personality and appearing to have been "gloss-varnished" with a perfect plastic smile during a lecture at the British Museum.
But in an interview on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves programme last night, she said that her words had been taken out of context and had no regrets about her comments.
She told host Anne McElvoy: "My lecture and the subsequent essay was actually supportive of the Royal Family and when I used those words about the Duchess of Cambridge, I was describing the perception of her which has been set up in the tabloid press.
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"My speech ended with a plea to the press and to the media in general. I said 'back off and don't be brutes. Don't do to this young woman what you did to Diana.'
"My whole theme was the way we maltreat royal persons, making them one superhuman, and yet less than human."
Mantel, whose latest novels are set in the Tudor court, said she believed she had been set up.
She told the radio programme: "I don't believe for one moment that there was any lack of clarity, after all, I have been practising my trade for a number of years now.
"It was a matter of taking the words completely out of context – twisting the context – and setting me up as a hate figure.
"I have absolutely no regrets – what I said was crystal clear."
During her lecture, organised by London Review of Books a month after her latest novel Bring Up The Bodies won the Costa prize, Mantel also suggested that "painfully thin" Kate was selected for her role of princess because she posed no risk of showing any character.
But she said last night night: "I do think that the Duchess of Cambridge is an intelligent young woman, who if she cares to read my essay will see that I meant nothing but good to her."