In her speech Mantel, who is famous for writing about the Tudor period, compared the Duchess of Cambridge to other famous Royal women from throughout history. Mantel talked about how the media perceived the Princess as “a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore” before her pregnancy and now she is seen purely as a “plastic princess, designed to breed”.
There has been outrage from all the people you’d expect (Daily Mail, David Cameron sticking his oar in) but it seems that anyone who is offended by the lecture hasn’t had the time, interest or patience to read the incredibly well written 5794 word piece that Mantel penned.
In her lecture Mantel highlights the way that Kate is portrayed in the media not as a real person but as an image of an ideal; she is well bred but not an aristocrat, she is pretty but accessible and she is not a troublemaker who courts the limelight. Mantel’s speech compared the Princess to Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn and her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, but did not criticise Kate herself: she criticised the caricature that the media has turned Kate into.
I personally did not find anything that Mantel said offensive; I like the Royal family but I am not enamoured with Kate. She seems nice, she is doing a lot of good work for charities but the reason that I am not as taken with her as some people are is probably the exact reason why she is such an ideal choice as Prince William’s bride: she’s safe. I can completely understand why she is perfect for him and the rest of his family: she will not cause any problems like Diana or Fergie and I do think that the Royal couple seems genuinely happy.
Mantel was critiquing the media and what it has turned Kate into; she was not being horrible about the Princess. It’s sad that when an intelligent woman makes a justified observation about another woman she must be jealous. Well I am jealous of Mandel to be honest; I’d much rather be a double Booker prize-winning novelist than a princess!