Author's view of duchess sparks backlash
INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed Budleigh Salterton author Hilary Mantel's speech on the British monarchy during which she makes reference to the Duchess of Cambridge being a "plastic" princess has caused a storm.
The 60-year-old author, who has won the Man Booker prize for the first two books of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, made the speech, entitled Royal Bodies, at a London Review of Books event at the British Museum on February 4.
During the extensive speech Hilary gave about the royal family and society's relationship with them, she said Kate had gone from being a "jointed doll on which certain rags are hung" to a woman whose "only point and purpose" was to give birth.
The author said Kate "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".
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Prime Minister David Cameron waded into the row to support the pregnant Duchess.
He said that Hilary is "a great writer" but described her comments on Kate as "a hurtful thing to say".
He described the comments about the Duchess of Cambridge as "completely misguided and completely wrong".
However, supporters have defended the award-winning author, urging people to listen to the full speech so her controversial comments are put into context.
It is understood that the writer, who is the president of the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, has refused to comment on the backlash to her opinions.
Earlier this month, the Echo reported on the announcement that Hilary is this year's winner of the Costa Book of the Year, for her novel Bring Up the Bodies.
The book has already clinched a top accolade, winning the 2012 Man Booker Prize.