A British novelist has attacked Kate Middleton as a "machine made" and "plastic" princess whose only purpose is to breed, sparking controversy in the UK.
Hilary Mantel, 60, a double Booker Prize winner, added that Kate is basically a princess “designed by committee” and a personality-free “shop window mannequin."
Mantel said Kate Middleton has gone from being a “jointed doll on which certain rags are hung” to a woman whose “only point and purpose” was to give birth.
Comparing Kate, 31, unfavorably to both Anne Boleyn and Princess Diana, the author made her remarks during a British Museum lecture - and felt backlash.
A spokesman for Mantel sought to quiet the controversy, insisting that “this is about how the institution of royalty has to project and how it comes across.”
The spokesman said Mantel is “remarkably sympathetic” to royal women as "victims." Try telling that to the Duchess or her tens of millions of admirers.
One prominent charity chief who works with the Duchess was quick to defend Middleton right after Mantel’s extraordinary and out-of-left-field attack.
Nick Barton, chief executive of Action on Addiction, said the author was entirely wrong to label the Duchess as a clothes horse whose only purpose was to give birth.
Speaking ahead of a visit by the Duchess to Hope House, an addiction recovery center for women in Clapham, South London, Barton told the Mirror (UK):
“I can only speak of what I know, and having met the Duchess of Cambridge several times I find her to be engaging, natural and genuinely interested in the subject.
“You can tell a lot about someone from the questions they ask and she asks really good questions, the questions of someone who wants to learn."
“Having her as Patron of draws attention to the cause ... she is doing an enormous amount to reduce the stigma and increase understanding of addiction.”
"She is also an intelligent woman."
The Duchess, who is four months pregnant, will be carrying out her first official engagement of the year today when she visits Hope House, a 22-bed residential treatment.
What do you think of Mantel's attack on Kate Middleton? Totally uncalled for? Or a broader point about the royal family that is actually worth debating?