Kate Middleton, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Hilary Mantel isn't sorry in the least for the controversial comments she made about Kate Middleton. And she has a pretty darn good reason to feel that way.

The award-winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, who drew criticism after labeling the Duchess of Cambridge "machine made" and "gloss-varnished" with a perfect "plastic smile," isn't backing off her remarks, saying she was taken way out of context and has "absolutely nothing to apologize for."

In an interview with BBC Radio 3's Night Waves program, Mantel discussed that the point she was trying to make at a Feb. 4 speech she gave at a London Review of Books Lecture was all about the perception the tabloid press created of Kate—not, she noted, an actually accurate description of Middleton.

"My speech ended with a plea to the press and to the media in general," the novelist clarified. "I said 'back off and don't be brutes; don't do to this young woman what you did to [Princess] Diana.'"

Mantel, whose award-winning historical novels have included a look at the royal court of Henry VIII, added that her views had the support of the royal family as well. 

"My whole theme was the way we maltreat royal persons, making them one superhuman and yet less than human," she said.

Mantel, the only woman to twice win the Man Booker Prize, suggested that she was targeted deliberately by a media that completely twisted her words to suit its own nefarious purposes.

"I don't believe for one moment that there was any lack of clarity; after all, I have been practicing my trade for a number of years now," argued the writer. "It was a matter of taking the words completely out of context—twisting the context—and setting me up as a hate figure."

Mantel, who called Middleton "an intelligent young woman" and hoped the latter reads her essay titled "Undressing Anne Boleyn," concluded by saying she has "absolutely no regrets."

"What I said was crystal clear," she told the radio show.

No doubt it's been beneficial for her bank account too, as sales of her previous books soared following the lecture.

Without knowing the full context of Mantel's speech, a couple of weeks after she gave it British Prime Minister David Cameron jumped into the fray and defended Kate. The PM called her comments "completely misguided" and described the duchess as "someone who's bright, who's engaging, who's a fantastic ambassador for Britain."

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.