Sunday, 24 February 2013

Hilary Mantel on Kate Middleton

On the 4th February, at the British Museum, author Hilary Mantel made a speech called 'Undressing Ann Boleyn'. In her speech which was about the way royal women have been portrayed over the centuries Mantel said that in contrast to Diana, Princess of Wales, Kate appears "machine-made". She has been accused of describing the Duchess of Cambridge as "a shop window mannequin with no personality of her own". However she is actually defending the Duchess; the list of accusations is actually a list of the "threadbare attributions" she says were presented in the press about Kate Middleton.

Mantel said we treat the Royal Family like pandas, staring at them as if they are in a cage. Her fear is that we become like "spectators at Bedlam. Cheerful curiosity can easily become cruelty. It can easily become fatal". This is in reference to Princess Diana, who, she says, "we" drove to destruction. Her conclusion is that we have now a chance to be different. She concludes: "I'm not asking for censorship. I'm not asking for pious humbug and smarmy reverence. I'm asking us to back off and not be brutes."

Cameron and Miliband have been quick to jump to the defence of Kate, with Cameron saying "She writes great books, but I think what she's said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided" and Miliband telling the BBC "These are pretty offensive remarks, I don't agree with them.Kate Middleton is doing a brilliant job in a difficult role. She's a huge asset to the country. She deserves our support in the role that she's playing."

However many people agree with Mantel, that if we are not careful Kate could become a "jointed doll on which certain rags are hung". If you are interested on reading up more about the ongoing debate on Hilary Mantel's speech, then this article is fantastic on the subject