Booker Prize winner and author of the incredible Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel has unleashed on the Duchess of Cambridge in spectacular style.

Clearly a woman not afraid of a backlash…

Mantel called the former Kate Middleton a “shop window mannequin”, a “machine-made” princess “designed by committee” and said she was “without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character.”

It’s part attack on the Duchess, part attack on the Royal Machine. But the unflattering comparision with her late mother-in-law Diana could be interpreted as nothing less than personal.

“She appears precision-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture.”

Mantel goes too far but she does have a point.

It’s no co-incidence that any time the Duchess is captured in anything other than knee-length, demure smile, sensible shoe crispness the Palace unleashes its fury.

She may not be the “breeding panda” Mantel describes her as, but you do get the sense a crisis meeting would be called if she were overheard to snort with laughter or express an urgent need for the loo.

No one is that perfect, so unless Kate is the once exception to that rule, the polished, pristine exterior must be just that, an exterior.

No matter how powerful the machine around her, however, Diana proved it won’t succeed without a willing subject.

Perhaps Kate and the machine are in it together.

Follow Tory on Twitter: @_Tors

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    • St. Michael says:

      01:25pm | 19/02/13

      “No matter how powerful the machine around her, however, Diana proved it won’t succeed without a willing subject.”

      Let’s not forget said willing subject basically went to war against the Royal Family once she decided she didn’t want to play by its rules, using her former status as leverage to get herself into the role of the “Queen of Hearts”.

      You might be a bit young, Tors, but you seem to forget exactly how equivocally Diana was viewed by the British public before she perished at the hands of the Faustian bargain she’d struck with the tabloids.  She didn’t just invade her own privacy by spilling her guts to Andrew Morton, she invaded that of her husband as well.  To say nothing of her cringeworthy appearances with land mine victims and AIDS patients.  It was said she was taking a leaf out of the Benetton advertising book: putting herself against backgrounds of ugliness to make herself look better than she was.

      The point being: everyone, including Ltd News, manages its PR.  The Royal Family is, in today’s world, even more under the magnifying glass than they were when half the world was subject to the English throne’s whims.  I see no sin in managing public presence or public appearances, given virtually every other public institution, business, or government does so.  The Royal Family got bitten pretty hard by Diana’s antics (and that of Fergie - by which I don’t mean the odd American singer whose principal self-described talent seems to be her arse.)  I’d wager they don’t want to be so bitten again.  Consequently I’m sure Kate’s already had to jump through god-knows how many hoops to get to the point of married to a monarch.  It might be time to back off and let her grow into the role.

    • Mayday says:

      02:10pm | 19/02/13

      Double standards?

      “She didn’t just invade her own privacy by spilling her guts to Andrew Morton, she invaded that of her husband as well.”  Why I wonder?

      Because he’d been shagging another woman for years while he pretended to be the doting fiancé and then husband.

      “The Royal Family got bitten pretty hard by Diana’s antics” nudge, nudge, wink, wink, Charlie’s got his mistress so all’s good even if he did say he wanted to be a tampon! 
      He also likes to talk to the shrubbery.

      Then there is Prince Andrew who has also brought the family into disrepute selling his royal presence to all sorts of sordid people while acting as a British ambassador.

      Kate knows how to play the game, William has learned the hard way and between the two of them I hope they restore some sanity into the Royals Inc.

    • AdamC says:

      03:36pm | 19/02/13

      An interesting perspective, St Michael.

      I suspect this author, on some level, is really concerned that Diana is being ‘replaced’ in the public consciousness.

    • St. Michael says:

      03:50pm | 19/02/13

      “Because he’d been shagging another woman for years while he pretended to be the doting fiancé and then husband.”

      Was this ever a crime in England? No.
      Was it a matter for the public beyond Diana and Charles? No; no more than any marriage between two peons of the realm would be a matter for the public, particularly since the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce.  Diana threw the details out there in public because she wanted to rehabilitate her own image in the wake of divorce proceedings.

      After all, let’s also remember Charles was not the only faithless one in the marriage, and as he pretended to be a doting husband, she likewise pretended to be the doting wife.

      Unless of course Diana was commenting that the entire concept of marriage was a sham, which she never did.  These two people wound up together for the stupidest of reasons, but what Diana did after the divorce would have been recognised as vindictive and a deliberate course of mischief by any Family Court in Australia.

    • Mayday says:

      04:35pm | 19/02/13

      St Michael
      Diana had been humiliated firstly on a personal level by going into the marriage rightly thinking there wouldn’t be a third party involved and secondly in a very public way so why shouldn’t she publicly expose the “arrangement?”

      Diana never said she was a saint either so why was it OK for Charles to have his long time mistress in his bed very early on in the marriage and Diana not to have relationships later?

      In one breath you mention “no fault divorce” and then “what Diana did after the divorce would have been recognised as vindictive and a deliberate course of mischief by any Family Court in Australia.”

      You ignore Charles’s indiscretion and blame his young naive wife for getting upset about it!  Double standards.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      01:28pm | 19/02/13

      Kate is no different, with the exception of Harry & Betty, both of whom actually do work & is joined occasionally by William, when he & Kate can drag themselves away from their eternal holidays. Morning sickness notwithstanding, millions of women go through difficult pregnancies every bit as difficult as Kate is reported to have been doing but they keep working right up to the last minute. Why should Kate be any different?
      She is just the daughter of a rich, middle class English parents who happens to have married into one of the most dysfunctional of English families.
      We may complain about the gravy train our politicians have created for themselves but that fades into insignificance when compared with what the British royal family have organised for themselves & their parasitic hangers-on.
      The Queen is reportedly one of the richest women in the world, yet she, her children, her grand-children all loll about with their hands out expecting the British Tax Payers to give them hand-outs, support them in luxury and then when they make their “Private” visits to Britain’s former colonies they expect the Tax-payers there to foot the bill!
      Kate & William should extract the digit, come down to earth & go back to work. At least if they did that, then British Tax-Payers might get a fraction of value for what they pay out to these two & the rest.

    • Borderer says:

      02:04pm | 19/02/13

      Robert,
      You talk of the gravy train like they are welfare recipiants, the royals actually own a lot of property both land and tangable goods that they then let the nation use, they could always charge rent.
      Point in case, who owns crown land? Who gets the money for its lease?

    • Rob says:

      02:51pm | 19/02/13

      Hey Borderer. - The descendents of the Royal familty thieved and robbed their own people to get the property they own.

    • Borderer says:

      03:16pm | 19/02/13

      Rob,
      Probably correct, none the less they presently control a hell of a lot of land and property that they allow the government to use for their own benefit and that of the people.
      The above point illustrates this.

      The Queen is reportedly one of the richest women in the world, yet she, her children, her grand-children all loll about with their hands out expecting the British Tax Payers to give them hand-outs

      Her wealth is measured in the property she controls but she accepts a massively inferior revenue from the British taxpayer for it, frankly, they’re getting quite a deal.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      03:47pm | 19/02/13

      thanks, Lenin.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      04:58pm | 19/02/13

      Hey, Borderer,
      They are Welfare Recipients. The may own, thanks to thieving forebears, robbers the bloody lot of them, heaps of property & tangible goodies but that does not get away from the fact that they, no matter how inferior & useless many of them are, still get a massive hand-out from the British Taxpayers. They don’t actually own that land & the goodies because they are not allowed to sell it off. BUT they DO get the Rents from the Farmers & Industries sitting on that land so for you to say they could charge rent is wrong.
      Who owns Crown land? In Australia it is the Australian or State & Territory Governments. The term “Crown Land” is a carry-over from a now-archaic tradition: The the British Crown owns everything. Here the British crown owns nothing.
      The British royals are nothing more than very expensive Tourist Attractions. Other than that, with the possible exception of Betty W-M, they serve no useful purpose. Just what do the likes of Andrew, Edward, Anne, Beatrice, Eugenie (other than the comic value of their ridiculous hats) Willie, Katie contribute to the advancement & betterment of the British people? Yet there they all are accepting Welfare Payments to allow them to live in luxury. Dole bludgers extraordinaire.
      I wish none of them any harm, I just wish they would get over themselves & go out and do a real day’s work. Harry may be a play-boy but at least he is earning his living.

    • porloc says:

      01:32pm | 19/02/13

      When the Irish Guards were paraded after their return from Afghanistan for presentation of medals by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, there was a moving moment when the Duchess presented a medal to a young legless soldier seated on a chair alongside his comrades. She was so attentive to him and it obviously meant much to him and no doubt to his family. It reminded me of the photos of a young Lady Elizabeth Lyon (the late Queen Mother) with disabled soldiers after the Great War. Although it may infuriate the gossip press she seems an admirable young woman who takes gher duties seriously.

    • MsEmz says:

      01:52pm | 19/02/13

      Catherine can do nothing right for doing wrong.
      People spout on about how she should “get a job” - what excatly would you reccomend? Admin Office staff? Engineer? Fashion Buyer - (which is what she did for a while until press intrusion got to be too much for her and employer)
      They carry on about whay she wears and how she looks but if she were to be seen with her hair in a messy ponytail, no make up and ugg boots she’d be dragged through the press for her choices.
      As with St Michael - I do think she’s had to jump through many a hoop to get to where she is.
      She is no Diana (and I am so happy with that) and why should she be. To every woman out there are you a clone of your partners mother?
      Prince William and his family are happy with her. Let her be.

    • Rose says:

      02:01pm | 19/02/13

      Kate is a refreshing change after witnessing the media frenzy that followed Diana wherever she went. Diana was largely an absolutely willing participant in the paparazzi circus she found herself in, wanting to control public opinion and be bigger than the Royal family all by herself. She took every opportunity to stick it to the ‘Firm’ and, unfortunately, that game eventually cost her her life.
      It seems that after losing his mother William wants different terms of engagement. He wants his wife’s privacy respected, as it should be, and in turn they turn up all polished and happy whenever duty calls.
      I am a staunch Republican but I feel that if there is to be a Royal Family, the new rules are far better and more sustainable than the old!

    • Neil says:

      03:04pm | 19/02/13

      Giver her a break. She’s only in her mid-late 20s. Hilary Mantel looks like she belongs on The Good Life or one of those old 70s sitcoms.

      Back then people did have more character. But back then you didn’t have the PC tyrants and the tabloid media (well not as much) stalking you and praying for a slip up.

      Kate and William can come and get maggoted with me if they want to give them some “character”.  VB or Tooheys New?

    • St. Michael says:

      03:20pm | 19/02/13

      Victoria Bitter.  “We are not amused,” and all that.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      03:40pm | 19/02/13

      I am surprised at the normally decent Tory that she should give qualified support to childless Mantel’s vicious, personal attack. For one thing, it is facetious to compare the medieval Tudor court to the modern Royal Family, a largely ceremonial, vestigial institution. For another thing, it smacks of schadenfreude. Furthermore, the next logical step is to compare the abilities and worth of modern tabloid web journalists to the tough, capable hacks of yesteryear. And that wouldn’t be fair, would it?

    • lostinperth says:

      03:24pm | 19/02/13

      Who cares what a self-promoting author with an axe to grind thinks?
      Kate seems do be doing alright in the fishbowl she entered into. She seems young, talented and caring and keen to avoid the spotlight that Diana so adored.

      Wonder how Mantel would cope with the same scrutiny, criticism and comments about her appearance. Speaking of pandas, Hilary looks a bit ursine herself

    • Toxic verbal diarrhea says:

      03:37pm | 19/02/13

      Plainly poor form and a PR stunt to sell more books.

      What’s worse the mean worded stunt or giving it more oxygen here or anywhere else in the MSM.

      One can only hope the damages awarded in a deformation suit against the opinionated author can be used to fund a worthy charity of the Princess’ choice.  Had the Princess said the same of the author the same rules apply.

      Shoot your mouth off and pay the fine.  It keeps civil society a bit civil and hopefully prevents our demise into pointless personal attacks like this.  Canberra could learn something here too.

    • Bitten says:

      03:37pm | 19/02/13

      I find the use of the Duchess of Cambridge as an all-purpose ‘news’ item to generate interest in all manner of mundanity by a variety of people - designers (Vivienne Westwood), authors (the charming Hilary Mantel, clearly out for some lovely lovely publicity), ‘journalists’ (Lucy Kippist/Tory Maguire et al whenever they might have to do a bit of original thinking ‘quick, can’t we run something about how ‘wrong’ that nasty smiling, benign-looking Kate Middleton is?’) to be distasteful at best and grossly unfair at worst.

      She can’t respond, she’d just be attacked further. In fact, she’s also attacked for failing to respond. Writing drivel about the Duchess of Cambridge seems to be the new go-to for people who can’t produce work of quality.

      What I find intriguing is the fact that all of the above ‘wimmin’ would doubtless consider themselves first-class feminists. Women should support each other more, ad nauseum. Yet they get off (and generate publicity for, themselves, their books, their pointless ‘opinion’ websites *cough*) by attacking a woman who is simply a public character, and a pretty farking benign one at that. Have a problem with the monarchy itself? Attack the institution by all means. Have a go at the Australian public who haven’t yet given a Government a mandate to call a referendum, and then voted in favour of a Republic.

      The new wife of the second in line is a pretty soft target. It’s all a bit transparent, ‘ladies’.

    • Sickemrex says:

      06:49pm | 19/02/13

      Yep, I thought it was just plain nasty. And I’m female, albeit not partial to those magazines.

    • Sick of nasty bitches says:

      03:40pm | 19/02/13

      What is it with women constantly slagging eachother off and the backstabbing and bitching?
      What did Kate Middleton do to Hilary Mantel? How exactly does Hilary Mantel expect someone who has married into a royal family to behave and dress??
      I’m a 35 year old woman and over the years I’ve become sick to death of catty bitchy 2 faced women to the point where I am now guarded with any women I meet either personally or professionally.
      I really can understand women who prefer the company of men.

    • LJ Dots says:

      04:35pm | 19/02/13

      I’ve just noticed stories about Princess Di or Princess Mary or Princess Kate (weight, dress sense, pregnancy, morning sickness, marriage, infidelity - whatever) somehow seem to get the most amazing impassioned responses that I find totally confounding.

      For most guys, it seems to be restricted to, ‘hey, isn’t that Pippa’s sister?’

    • LJ Dots says:

      04:36pm | 19/02/13

      I’ve just noticed stories about Princess Di or Princess Mary or Princess Kate (weight, dress sense, pregnancy, morning sickness, marriage, infidelity - whatever) somehow seem to get the most amazing impassioned responses that I find totally confounding.

      For most guys, it seems to be restricted to, ‘hey, isn’t that Pippa’s sister?’

 

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