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article imageOp-Ed: An idiotic attack on Kate Middleton by British novelist

By Alexander Baron     Feb 19, 2013 in World
London - The novelist Hilary Mantel has made an astonishing attack on the Duchess of Cambridge, branding her a plastic princess. Is she for real, or is this simply sour grapes?
Hilary Mantel's astonishing attack on Kate Middleton came in a speech at the British Museum; according to a report in the favourite newspaper of the Islington set, the Guardian, "Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character." While of Princess Diana, she said her "human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture".
Diana's tragic death in August 1997 as the result of a car crash in Paris shocked the nation and the world; anyone over the age of about 25 will recall the massive outpouring of grief that resulted, but her spiritual successor, the Duchess of Cambridge is - according to Mantel - a "shop-window mannequin" with no personality whose only purpose is to breed.
Royals and other people in the limelight have to put up with all manner of attacks on them including at times by terrorists, and Kate has been in that limelight long enough to have developed a skin thick enough to weather this sort of attack, but what lies behind it?
How about jealousy, or envy, or a bit of both?
By most criteria, Mantel is an extremely successful woman; she has won literary prizes since 1987, and even has her own entry in the New York Review Of Books archive.
She is also a CBE, a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which is an order of chivalry. There was certainly nothing chivalrous about that attack, and the chances of her being awarded higher honours are now wafer thin, but where does the envy come in?
Though Mantel may be talented and successful - for those of us who read novels - few would call her physically attractive; if there is anything plastic about her, the word surgery will appear after it, but the root cause of these spiteful jibes can be found in her own personal history. No, it is not the fact that she attended the London School of Economics, that well known bastion of "left wingism" whose "experts" were left speechless by the Queen in November 2008. It is the fact that, due to cruel fate, Kate is everything Miss Mantel is not and never could have been, which at the moment includes being pregnant.
As a young woman, Mantel suffered from an undiagnosed but painful illness, which led to her being classified as mentally ill, something that in those days was far more of a stigma than it is today. As a result of this, she was treated with anti-psychotic drugs, which as Thomas Szasz pointed out, almost invariably do more harm than good. Eventually, she diagnosed her true illness herself, endometriosis. Like many diseases, this can be mild or severe, in her case it was the latter, and the treatment left her both overweight and barren.
Is it any wonder then that she should feel so bitter towards a woman who is both half her age, stunningly attractive, a style icon, and destined shortly to be something she never could, a mother?
Like Diana before her, Kate is her own woman, she graduated with an MA in the history of art, so if her husband or his family are to be criticised, it is only for choosing arguably the most fitting bride for the man who is third in line to the throne and may one day be king, something that will no doubt meet with the approval of that confirmed bachelor and lifelong royalist David Webb as he looks down on the Royal Couple from that great stage in the sky.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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