The Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, made a visit to an organization she supports, Hope House, part of Action on Addiction, showing off her swelling belly, just after two-time Booker Prize winner Hilary Mandel gave a lecture that was published attacking Kate’s personality. Kate seemed cheerful and full of intelligent questions for the charity she supports, and otherwise unruffled by comments that newspapers have called “venomous,” “cruel,” and “staggeringly rude.”
Mantel gave a lecture at the British museum in London earlier this month cross-sectioning Kate’s personality. “I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung,” she said. “She 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.” These words were reprinted on the London Review of Books’ website this week.
Many critics have found Mantel’s words especially scathing, as when she said, Kate was “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.” And she compared Kate unfavorably to the much more interesting, much more human Princess Diana.
Continuing the strange set of analogies about how Kate was “made,” she also said Kate “appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished.”
Her overall assessment of the Duchess seems to keypoint her artificiality, but many have in response emphasized Kate’s intelligence.
When she spent over an hour speaking to the people at Hope House, they noticed how intelligent and acute her questions were on how they ran their operations.
“You can tell a lot about someone from the questions they ask,” said a worker at Hope House, “and she asks really good questions, the questions of someone who wants to learn. She is an intelligent woman.
“Having her as Patron of the charity draws attention to the cause of addiction as a whole, which is not always an easy subject.
“She is doing an enormous amount to reduce the stigma of addiction and increase understanding of it.”
Kate also talked a little about her pregnancy. Lisa, a mother of three said, “I asked her if she was nervous about having a child, and she said it would be unnatural if she wasn’t. ‘It’s just human, isn’t it?'”
Whether or not she is actually human seems to be a question Mantel was disputing. And though many characterized her lecture as brutal, some have said it is an accurate characterization of royalty.