Cameron chides author over Middleton speech
Kate Middleton: "designed by a committee and built by craftsmen"
British prime minister David Cameron has criticised author Hilary Mantel as “completely misguided and completely wrong” after the Booker prize-winner described the Duchess of Cambridge as a “plastic” princess.
In an interview with the BBC in Delhi, the prime minister lavished praise on the duchess and said Britain should be proud of her.
Cameron said of Mantel: “I think she writes great books, but I think what she’s said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong.
“What I’ve seen of Princess Kate at public events, at the Olympics and elsewhere is this is someone who’s bright, who’s engaging, who’s a fantastic ambassador for Britain. We should be proud of that, rather than make these rather misguided remarks.”
Mantel said in a speech that the duchess appeared to have been “designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished”.
The speech, titled “Royal Bodies”, was given at a London Review of Books event at the British Museum on February 4th. It can be read online in full at bit.ly/YUv6Hx.
Newspaper reports interpreted the remarks as a direct attack on the duchess. The Daily Mail called it a “venomous attack on Kate”, and the Sun said it was a “bizarre rant”.
Mantel did not comment on the backlash, but a spokesman for the author urged people to read or listen to the speech “because it puts everything in its full context”.
Media on the monarchy
A good chunk of the speech focused on how the media reported on the monarchy and their every movement. Mantel reflected that when the duchess’s pregnancy became known, the duchess had been filmed running a few paces with a hockey stick.
“BBC News devoted a discussion to whether a pregnant woman could safely put on a turn of speed while wearing high heels,” Mantel said.
“It is sad to think that intelligent people could devote themselves to this topic with earnest furrowings of the brow, but that’s what discourse about royals comes to: a compulsion to comment, a discourse empty of content, mouthed rather than spoken.”
Yesterday, the duchess made her first public appearance since December. She visited the Hope House addiction treatment centre in south London. – (Guardian service)