British novelist Mantel defends Kate comments

Updated: Mar 08, 2013, 18:32 PM IST

London: British novelist Hilary Mantel, who raked up a storm recently by describing Kate Middleton as a "shop-window mannequin" with a "plastic smile", has defended her comments saying she has "nothing to apologise for".

The 60-year-old double Booker prize winning author yesterday insisted that her comments had been distorted by the media and taken completely out of context as she was supportive of the 31-year-old Duchess of Cambridge, pregnant wife of second-in-line to the British throne Prince William.

While Prime Minister David Cameron described Mantel as "misguided", the British newspapers condemned her comments last month as "venomous", "cruel" and "staggeringly rude".

Mantel, who last year became the first Briton to twice win the coveted Man Booker prize for fiction, said she used those words to describe the perception of Kate created in media.

"I have absolutely nothing to apologise for," she told BBC Radio 3`s Night Waves programme.

"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`," she added.

Mantel, whose latest novels are set in the royal court in Tudor times, said she believed she had been "set up" as a hate figure.

In a lecture given at the British Museum and reprinted in the London Review of Books literary journal last month, Mantel said Catherine appeared to have been "shop-window mannequin" with a "plastic smile", and having no personality.

"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," 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, who won the Costa Book of the Year Award for Bring Up The Bodies, added: "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."