'Dead Eyes'

Hilary Mantel: I Have No Regrets About Kate Middleton Lecture

The novelist says she was set up as a 'hate figure' because of her comments about Kate Middleton.

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Wolf Hall writer Hilary Mantel has defended a lecture she gave in which she described Kate Middleton as a 'Plastic princess", a"jointed doll" and a "painfully thin shop-window mannequin" with 'dead eyes" whose only purpose was to breed.

She told a late-night BBC radio program: "I have absolutely nothing to apologise for".

The author said: "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.

"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 novels about the Tudor Court have wine every literary prize going, said she believed she herself had been "set up" as a hate figure.

"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," she said.

"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."

Mantel said: "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."

The British Prime Minister David Cameron leapt on the bandwagon, saying at the time that Mantel was "completely wrong" about her comments.

Mantel's lecture, organised by London Review of Books, was titled Undressing Anne Boleyn and was on the topic of royal women.