Duchess of Cambridge row: Hilary Mantel criticised for calling Kate "plastic princess" says it was taken out of context

'I have no regrets': Prize-winning author criticised for branding the Duchess of Cambridge a 'plastic princess' insists her words were taken out of context
Hilary Mantel likened Duchess to a 'shop-window mannequin' in speechDavid Cameron among those to rush to Kate Middleton's defenceAcclaimed author has insisted she has 'nothing to apologise for'Mantel said context of speech was twisted to set her up as a hate figure

By
Kerry Mcdermott

PUBLISHED:

01:57 GMT, 8 March 2013

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UPDATED:

08:56 GMT, 8 March 2013

The award-winning novelist who likened the Duchess of Cambridge to a 'shop-window mannequin' whose sole purpose is to breed has defended her comments, insisting she has 'absolutely nothing to apologise for'.

Double Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel made headlines last month when she appeared to criticise Kate as having no personality, describing her as '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 that she had 'absolutely no regrets' about her controversial speech.

Hilary Mantel was criticised for her comments about the Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess was likened to a 'shop-window mannequin' by the acclaimed author

'No regrets': Acclaimed author Hilary Mantel, left, who likened the Duchess of Cambridge to a 'shop-window mannequin', has said her comments were taken out of context

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.

Context: Mantel said in an interview she meant 'nothing but good' to the Duchess of Cambridge

Context: Mantel said in an interview she meant 'nothing but good' to the Duchess of Cambridge

'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: '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.'

David
Cameron was among those to rush to Kate's defence in the wake of the
author's speech. The prime minister was reported to have
said during a trip to India that, while Hilary Mantel is 'a great
writer', her comments about the Duchess of Cambridge were 'hurtful'.