Hilary Mantel is wrong – Kate is NOT a plastic princess

February 19, 2013

Has the author Hilary Mantel actually met the Duchess of Cambridge? I suspect she hasn’t. Either way her comments* that Kate is ‘designed by a committee’ with a ‘plastic smile’ are really very insulting, not just to Kate but as a woman to another woman (so much for sisterhood).

‘In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore,’ she adds. ‘These days she is a mother-to-be, and draped in another set of threadbare attributions… her only point and purpose being to give birth.’

A saucer of milk for Ms Mantel.

Kate MiddletonAs I’ve said before, I’ve seen Kate in the living, breathing flesh. There is nothing plastic or fake about her. The warmth and genuine affection between her and her husband is obvious, her smile is genuine. She is an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary position – can you imagine how nerve-wracking it must be? – and I’d say she’s handling it pretty well.  She’s making speeches and appears confident and in control. And she is also deeply in love with her husband.

Of course she has to provide a son and heir for Prince William – but I’m guessing she thought about the whole package very carefully when she signed up. She doesn’t strike me as someone who is naive or not fully aware of all the responsibilities that come with being part of The Firm.

And the fact is, even if they were not royal, I suspect she’d want to give her husband a child, because that’s a completely natural emotion when you love someone and have a strong maternal instinct.

Give her a break.



*I have, by the way, read Hilary Mantel’s entire lecture on the London Review of Books. I always do my homework.

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  • Cassie | Womenswaytowealth February 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Hi, I’m with you. #giveKateabreak. It can’t be easy joining the royals and being rolled out for the public, and coping with your first pregnancy while the world watches your every move. I’ve never seen Kate “live” but she seems to bring a breath of fresh air and youthfulness to the royals, and really seems to care about people. I wasn’t a Diana fan until she died and realised how big a part of our lives she was. I say let’s appreciate Kate and not crucify her before she’s even got started.

  • sarahhillwheeler February 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    I agree. I think we should give her a break. I am not entirely sure of the point Mantel was trying to make (I have just waded through the text of her lecture). Was she trying to be insulting or was she making a point about how we and the media treat our Royals? I don’t know, but I do think her comments come across as crass and insensitive (however she intended them).

  • Super Amazing Mum February 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    what a lovely blog post – I agree as well, she is lovely and the fact they are trying to live under the parapet (and doing that quite well) is to be applauded.

    S.A.M xoxo

  • Crystal Jigsaw February 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I think she’s beautiful and is just what this country needs; someone to make us smile amidst the doom and gloom we hear about constantly on the news. They are trying to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances of their peerage, and I do think they should be given a break. They are the couple who will bring this country into the 21st century so far as royalty goes and that can only be a good thing.

    CJ x

  • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy February 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    How anybody can be so vile to anybody else let alone somebody who I presume they have never met, I do not know. Well said Liz!