Hilary Mantel defends calling Kate Middleton a "shop-window mannequin"

The author maintains that her comments were taken out of context

By Prachi Gupta

Published March 8, 2013 1:55PM (EST)

Two-time Man Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel has defended comments she made in which she called the Duchess of Cambridge a "a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung" and  "a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own." Though the comments were framed within a larger lecture around the media's portrayal of Royal figures, the quotes sparked outrage across England, causing even Prime Minister David Cameron to call Mantel  "completely misguided."

But the Henry VIII-era historical fiction writer recently told BBC Radio 3's Night Waves program that "I have absolutely nothing to apologize for," explaining that her lecture was about the media's simplistic perception of Middleton and other Royals -- not their actual personalities. "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," she said. "My whole theme was the way we maltreat royal persons, making them one superhuman, and yet less than human."

Instead, 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."

"It was a matter of taking the words completely out of context -- twisting the context -- and setting me up as a hate figure," she said. "I have absolutely no regrets. What I said was crystal clear."

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

David Cameron England Hilary Mantel Kate Middleton Royal Family