Hilary Mantel's views on the Duchess of Cambridge caused a stir, but the truth is she wasn't slagging Kate off at all

Writer Hilary Mantel gave a lecture this week where she spoke about Kate Middleton – and her views have caused a furore.

How dare she speak an ill word against our Kate, scream many papers.

Well, actually, I don’t think Hilary was criticising Kate at all. I think she was simply commenting on the way we treat our princess.

Which is quite simply, like a caged animal.

Hilary has written best-selling historical fiction, like Wolf Hall, which is about the Tudors (and won the Man Booker Prize). This lady knows her stuff when it comes to the Royals.

When Hilary made comments like, I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags were hung’, and, she was a shop window mannequin’, well, isn’t that actually true?

We idolise the Duchess. We scrutinise everything she wears. We want to know when, where and how we can get that Zara dress (and slate Kate‘s new fringe at the same time, if we feel like it).

Because we can.

We get to say what we want about poor old Kate – and she can never retort. Because it’s her job not to. And she just has to keep on smiling.

When Hilary says: This young woman’s life until now was nothing, her only point and purpose to give birth’ – she isn’t literally saying that Kate is pointless. Come on, guys!

It’s obvious, when you read the full transcript from the lecture, that Hilary is commenting on what life is like for a princess – and for all of our princesses through the ages.

They’re worshipped – but they’re also expected to pop out a magic royal baby, when we, the public, want it to happen. And they’re meant to look glam, radiant and ever-happy while they’re at it, too.

When Hilary says that Kate appears to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile’, she’s not calling Kate shallow, or acting jealously because Kate is so gorgeous.

No, she’s commenting on that quality that Kate possesses – the ability to look pretty much perfect all of the time, even when we know she’s actually been ill of late. Ill enough to go into hospital.

Hilary Mantel‘s lecture was a discussion about what it’s LIKE to be a princess – and she was making us aware of the way we view Kate.

She’s our perfect princess, caged up for all to see. We’re happy we’ve got her, we love to show her off, and we’re overjoyed she’s pregnant – but our love for Kate is suffocating.

Good on Hilary Mantel, I say.

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