David Cameron has intervened in the row to defend Kate Middleton over Hilary Mantel’s recent remarks. The British prime minister broke off from his trade visit to India in order to support the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge over “hurtful” comments by the author, who described her as a “machine-made” princess.
Mantel, the double Booker Prize-winning author of the Tudor-period novels "Bring Up The Bodies" and "Wolf Hall," lashed out at Middleton while delivering a lecture on royal women at the British Museum during a London Review of Books event, comparing the duchess to Anne Boleyn and Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.
In her speech, Mantel described Kate as a personality-free “shop window mannequin” with a “plastic smile.” She said the duchess had gone from being a “jointed doll on which certain rags are hung” to a woman whose “only point and purpose” was breeding.
She added that Kate was “painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character.”
The remarks sparked fury among supporters of Middleton, and many took to various social-networking sites to condemn Mantel for her speech. Pro-royal newspapers also lashed out at Mantel, with the Daily Mail calling the speech a "venomous attack on Kate," while the Sun labeled it a "bizarre rant."
Cameron commented on the controversy in an interview with the BBC in Delhi. The prime minister said of Mantel, “She writes great books, but what she’s said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong.”
Cameron added, “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.”
It is unclear whether the prime minster had read the entire lecture before commenting. A spokesman for Mantel urged people to read or listen to her speech in full “because it puts everything into its full context.”
Middleton made her first public appearance of the year on Tuesday by visiting the Hope House addiction treatment center in south London.