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Hilary Mantel: I stand by 'plastic' Kate comments

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Award-winning author Hilary Mantel has spoken out about her famously divisive critique on Kate Middleton, saying she stands by the comments she made about the Duchess.

In her 2013 essay Royal Bodies, Mantel discussed the royal family's place in society and more specifically, the pervading scrutiny and treatment of its women.

In it, she described the Duchess of Cambridge as a "shop window mannequin" with a "plastic smile" and "without the risk of the emergence of character."

While some praised the Booker Prize-winning author's lecture as an eloquent feminist insight into the media's portrayal of female royals, others honed in on some of the work's juiciest soundbites and branded her comments a personal attack on the Duchess.

The Prime Minister even spoke out against the essay, defending Middleton as "bright and engaging" and labelling Mantel's remarks as "misguided".

Speaking to Sky News, Mantel, 61, said such criticism is indicative of an increasingly "intolerant" Britain.

"What the fuss last year made me think was how narrow and how intolerant as a nation we have become because even if I had said about Kate the things I was alleged to have said, that was my perfect right," she said.

"There was no occasion to jump on me and revile me," the Wolf Hall author added. "I would say it all over again and I stand by what I said."

At the time The Daily Mail described her comments as "an astonishing and venomous attack" and the Guardian said it was a "damning" take, while The Independent published a supportive review of the piece.

The Daily Beast also called the work "a tender and sympathetic piece of writing, filled with compassion for royal women trapped in their gilded cages."

Mantel has previously declared that the essay was "actually supportive of the Royal Family".

"When I used those words about the Duchess of Cambridge, I was describing the perception of her which has been set up in the tabloid press," she added.

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