Camilla outlines her hopes for new project The Reading Room
Camilla’s new Instagram book club called The Duchess of Cornwall Reading Room has recommended Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light. This is the a final book in a historical fiction trilogy about Henry VIII’s adviser Thomas Cromwell, following on from Man Booker Prize winners Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Despite the series being very popular, this is quite a controversial choice for a member of the Royal Family, due to comments Ms Mantel has made about the Duchess of Cambridge.
She branded Kate “painfully thin”, “machine-made”, and accused her of having “no personality”.
She even described her as “a shop-window mannequin” whose only purpose in life is to give birth.
Ms Mantal said: “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.
“She appears precision-made, machine-made: so different from Diana, whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture.”
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Camilla recommended a book by an author who called Kate a “shop window mannequin”
Hilary Mantel’s latest book ‘The Mirror and the Light’
She added: “In those days [Kate] was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore.
“These days, she is a mother-to-be, and draped in another set of threadbare attributions.
“Once she gets over being sick, the press will find that she is radiant.
“They will find that this young woman’s life until now was nothing, her only point and purpose being to give birth.”
Author Hilary Mantel
These comments were made during a lecture at the British Museum in 2013, just before the birth of Prince George.
The award-winning novelist later defended her comments on BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves, insisting that she has “absolutely nothing to apologise for”.
She claimed she was supportive of the Royal Family and the words she had used were describing the perception of Kate that had been set up in the press.
She said: “My speech ended with a plea to the press and to the media in general.
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“I said, ‘Back off and don’t be brutes; don’t do to this young woman what you did to Diana’.
“My whole theme was the way we maltreat royal persons, making them one superhuman, and yet less than human.”
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
Ms Gripper commented that it was “an interesting choice” for Camilla to pick a Hilary Mantel book, given this history.
Hilary Mantel on Wolf Hall, Author Interview
She said: “Hilary Mantel, interesting choice because she famously made some comments about Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge back in 2013, so admittedly a long time ago.
“And then there was a bit of palava about how the comments are taken or interpreted or reported.”
She added Ms Mantel used “fairly punchy words” that could be interpreted in “various different ways”.
The host posited that her words could have been describing Kate, how Kate came to be in the Royal Family or simply how people are perceiving Kate.
That said, she was adamant that Kate has become “far more than her clothes”, something they have covered in great detail on the podcast.
Kate has launched her own individual charitable projects and is pursuing her own interest, on top of having a family and acting as a support for Prince William.
Ms Gripper said: “We have talked very little about her clothes more recently, partly because we haven’t been able to see quite as many of them and she hasn’t been able to get to the shops as much.
“But also because she has been doing her big projects and more speeches and really coming into her own.”
Mr Myers joked that, even as coverage moves away from the superficial, there will always be “time and space for a pussy bow mention”.
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