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Brit Royalty - Author Tells it Like it Is and....


tropaka

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...the monarchists and politicians freak out. I say they took this woman's analysis totally out of context (I'm place this in snark because the role of women in the British monarchy, until the next generation anyway, IS to look pretty and breed)...

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/ ... antel.html

LONDON—One of Britain’s most celebrated authors has launched a withering attack on the Duchess of Cambridge, the pregnant wife of Prince William, branding her a “shop-window mannequin†with a plastic smile whose only role in life is to breed.

Prime Minister David Cameron described award-winning writer Hilary Mantel as “misguided†after she likened the former Kate Middleton to a “machine made†doll, devoid of personality.

Her comments about the 31-year-old wife of William, second-in-line to the British throne, divided public opinion, with newspapers condemning Mantel as “venomousâ€, “cruel†and “staggeringly rude.â€

Supporters said her words had been taken out of context from a long analysis of society’s centuries-old obsession with the appearance and fertility of royal wives that ended with a plea to “back off and not be brutes†to them.

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“I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung,†Mantel said in a lecture at the British Museum in London earlier this month in which she spoke about her changing view of the princess.

“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.â€

Speaking during a visit to India, Cameron said Mantel was wrong and that people should do more to encourage a young royal who is a “fantastic ambassador for Britain.â€

“She writes great books, but I think what she’s said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong,†Cameron told Sky News.

Mantel, who last year became the first Briton to twice win the Man Booker prize for fiction, referred to the princess’s severe morning sickness during the early stage of her pregnancy and said her role was to provide an heir.

“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,†Mantel said in the lecture organized by the London Review of Books on Feb. 4. The literary magazine reprinted the lecture on its website this week.

A smiling Duchess of Cambridge showed no sign of being affected by the row when she visited an addiction charity in London. Wearing a grey wrap dress, she crossed her hands over her small baby bump as she chatted to charity workers.

Well-wishers who waited in the late winter sunshine for a glimpse of her expressed sympathy.

“It’s totally uncalled for,†said Morag Hamilton, 36, from London. “It’s a shame — that’s what her life is going to become now.â€

Mantel, 60, is best known for her historical novel Wolf Hall, about the rise of blacksmith’s son Thomas Cromwell to the pinnacle of power in King Henry VIII’s court. Her follow-up Bring Up the Bodies recounted Anne Boleyn’s fall from grace after failing to give Henry a male heir.

In her lecture, Mantel said the Duchess of Cambridge was “selected for her role ... because she was irreproachable,†contrasting her with the “emotional incontinence†of William’s late mother, Princess Diana.

“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,†Mantel said. The author’s agent and a royal spokeswoman declined to comment.

Reaction on Twitter suggested Mantel had split public opinion. Royal commentator Robert Jobson said the “venomous attack†was “unfair and publicity-seeking.†Others agreed with Mantel, saying she had elegantly articulated what many people had long thought about the royals.

The lecture looked at the public fascination with the “regal body,†examining the lives of royal women and the importance of providing an heir. Mantel compared their fate to caged pandas in captivity.

“Our current royal family doesn’t have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment,†Mantel said. “But aren’t they interesting? Aren’t they nice to look at?â€

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Not going to lie, I cackled at this:

“Our current royal family doesn’t have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment,†Mantel said. “But aren’t they interesting? Aren’t they nice to look at?â€

To some extent, I believe she has a point. She's not criticizing Kate so much as the machine that encourages the royals to pick someone who will offend the least and then groom them to be blandly agreeable, to the extent that she's basically expected to be the "duchess dolittle".

I will go ahead and shamefully admit I find them fascinating, though I'm American and therefore get to observe from afar without having to actually support monarchy.

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I don't think she's criticizing Kate personally. She's criticizing who the royal family is expecting her to become and the role she is expected to fill. While some may deny it, her only role in life now is to look pretty and provide an heir. Royals are now merely figureheads. They are expected to do charity events, social events, and breed. It wouldn't be proper for someone of her status to hold a job.

Another thing about the marriage story that annoyed me was that the intense focus on the Prince marrying a "commoner". This was the first time in history that the heir to the throne married a commoner. But her parents run a business worth over a million dollars. I wonder what the Queen's reaction would have been if she had brought home the daughter of a janitor.

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I agree, it's not really a critique of Kate at all. It's more a scathing attack on the institution of monarchy itself, and how post-Diana there was very much a role that had to be filled. Camilla didn't fill it (divorcee, older, not very attractive, more into jodhpurs than Armani, adulteress, despised by the public), Harry is only third in line and already had many scandals under his belt (too much Diana in him?) so it was absolutely imperative that William, who looks so like Diana and seems beyond reproach (a) select a bride and get her pregnant, preferably with a son, and (b) the bride must have the looks, grace, manner and style of Diana with none of the bulimia, meltdowns, tantrums, demands, personality flaws or controversy.

That's not her fault, but Kate absolutely understands her job and performs it to perfection. There's no doubt about it.

I like Kate. I think she is as genuine as one can be in her position, with all eyes on her and the spectre of Diana hanging over her head. A lot of people think the crown will skip Charles (who was pretty much as bad as Diana in terms of crazy, but far more compliant and more importantly, Charles is a man) and go to William and if there's any chance of that happening William and Kate both can't step a toe out of line. I think Kate and William are genuinely in love with each other and are genuinely happy as a couple, but hyper aware of what is expected of them. I don't see their kids having the upbringing poor William and Harry did, with William pushing tissues under the bathroom door to their sobbing, frantic mother after yet another row with their father.

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They did the same thing when Prince Charles married Diana - a "commoner"! Again, I think they did the same when the Queen Mother married in - she was technically a "commoner" too.

They NEED "commoners" - even Queen Victoria realized this - they were getting inbred and diseases etc.

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They did the same thing when Prince Charles married Diana - a "commoner"! Again, I think they did the same when the Queen Mother married in - she was technically a "commoner" too.

They NEED "commoners" - even Queen Victoria realized this - they were getting inbred and diseases etc.

Ahh. I guess I should have looked at more than one source. An article I read (can't remember where) said that Kate was the first commoner to marry into British royalty in recent history.

Still, it has to be the "right kind" of commoner for it to be considered.

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They did the same thing when Prince Charles married Diana - a "commoner"! Again, I think they did the same when the Queen Mother married in - she was technically a "commoner" too.

They NEED "commoners" - even Queen Victoria realized this - they were getting inbred and diseases etc.

I thought the Spencers were aristocratic and that it was one of the reasons Diana was chosen? And the Queen Mother was certainly a noble. I though the "commoner" thing with Kate is that she had no aristocratic or noble standing/was new money but not upper class.

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Ahh. I guess I should have looked at more than one source. An article I read (can't remember where) said that Kate was the first commoner to marry into British royalty in recent history.

Still, it has to be the "right kind" of commoner for it to be considered.

Exactly. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother wasn't your everyday commoner. She was Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore. There are several Dukes in her direct ancestry (Bedford, Portland, Devonshire, not to mention earls and marquesses). She was a very uncommon commoner. :lol:

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There's a difference between Royalty and "upper class". Even if you're a member of the aristocracy, you're not anywhere near Royalty. Then again, they are looking for commoners because the Royalty is incredibly inbred. The Queen and Phillip are cousins.

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Oh ok, I did not know that non-royals were all considered "commoners" even if they were aristocrats. I thought "commoners" were people without any noble blood at all.

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Since I just saw "The Kings Speech" today and then had to go on a googling/ wikpedia labyrinth of recent royal history -- The Queen Mother, was an aristocrat - but not from a Royal family - which was a big deal at the time, but not seen as that important because her husband, King George VI was not expected to be king. Same with Diana - aristocrat but not a Royal Family. Kate is a "commoner" as in not being Lady this or that.

Since Kate was the oldest royal bride and had openly lived with William for years I think she came with a far better idea of what she was getting herself into than a shy 19 year old Diana.

What a handy topic for time wasting trivia today :-)

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There's a difference between Royalty and "upper class". Even if you're a member of the aristocracy, you're not anywhere near Royalty. Then again, they are looking for commoners because the Royalty is incredibly inbred. The Queen and Phillip are cousins.

In other words, anyone who isn't Royalty is considered a commoner, from dukes on down. Unless the duke in question is also a member of the Royal Family, of course. ;) Or in Prince Edward's case--he's also the Earl of Wessex. :)

What a handy topic for time wasting trivia today :-)

:lol:

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Kates dad is from a manufacturing family I think? They have been upper middle class for a couple of hundred years. There were rumours started by the press that her dad had inherited money. But I highly doubt that. Unless there was a lot of property & everybody has been responsible with the money it doesn't last long. The family have done well because they were based in the middle east for awhile (tax free!) & have a successful business.

Diana was only common because she wasn't a princess at birth. But she was the daughter of an Earl & descended from European royalty.

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I don't find anything in the excerpt that's personally insulting to Kate. In fact, it seems to be very sympathetic to her as a person and the terribly stylish shoes she must fill. Just because she must fill the role of pretty, noncontroversial, breeder doesn't mean that that's all she's capable of in the slightest. And in any case, it's certainly a role that that she entered into with eyes wide open, seeing how the press treated Diana. Much ado about nothing.

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There's a difference between Royalty and "upper class". Even if you're a member of the aristocracy, you're not anywhere near Royalty. Then again, they are looking for commoners because the Royalty is incredibly inbred. The Queen and Phillip are cousins.

I was under the impression that British "upper class" and nobility were largely overlapping, if not synonymous (peers, gentry, landed estates) and therefore being upper class would exclude one from being a "commoner". Kate is upper middle class, though extraordinarily wealthy, and is thus a "commoner" marrying into the royal family whereas Diana and the Queen Mother were both of aristocratic stock.

(one of my professors abroad was obsessed with the class system... I am not a crazy anglophile)

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I don't think Kate is characterless and I don't think William or his family see her as a mindless breeding machine - if that was the case they would have had a honeymoon baby.

I think they have just learnt their lesson after Diana and Fergie and Charles and Camilla and are managing her media image incredibly carefully. She's had her own official press advisors since she became engaged and I'm sure William's advised her unofficial before that.

The public insists on at least knowing what dresses she's wearing and how the pregnancy is progressing, so the palace releases that information. It's not that that's all she is, it's that that's the bare minimum they can release and keep the press happy.

I think that the royals and monarchists in general are aware that William and Kate are their last chance after the scandals if Charles and his generation and they are going to closely manage and control their media image. I don't blame them at all. I see it as Kate and her advisers choosing not to release more personal information, not as the royals seeing her as a mannequin with a womb or as her being boring and one dimensional.

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I was under the impression that British "upper class" and nobility were largely overlapping, if not synonymous (peers, gentry, landed estates) and therefore being upper class would exclude one from being a "commoner". Kate is upper middle class, though extraordinarily wealthy, and is thus a "commoner" marrying into the royal family whereas Diana and the Queen Mother were both of aristocratic stock.

(one of my professors abroad was obsessed with the class system... I am not a crazy anglophile)

Traditionally British princes and princesses have married foreign royalty, not British peers. That changed in the mid twentieth century, but only to daughters of peers like Elizabeth Bowles Lyon and Diana Spencer. An upper middle class girl without a titled father like Kate would have been unthinkable even in the eighties. Remember, Diana's virginity was certified by the royal physician, while Kate and William lived together discretely but openly before they were even engaged. That's a lot of change within a generation.

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Traditionally British princes and princesses have married foreign royalty, not British peers. That changed in the mid twentieth century, but only to daughters of peers like Elizabeth Bowles Lyon and Diana Spencer. An upper middle class girl without a titled father like Kate would have been unthinkable even in the eighties. Remember, Diana's virginity was certified by the royal physician, while Kate and William lived together discretely but openly before they were even engaged. That's a lot of change within a generation.

That is what really struck me. To go from that insistence on the young virgin princess just 30 years ago, to openly living together and still being seen as the ideal wholesome royal couple is really amazing. And if I recall it seems like a great deal of the problems that Diana and Charles had were due to her being a very sheltered, very young girl marrying a much older, much more worldly man - who it appears only married her due to extreme pressure to marry someone appropriate. And even in the early 80's it would have been hard to find a virgin well into her twenties I would imagine, so it had to be some demure teen.

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^ Diana was very low key about the family she was from before she got married. Apparently an American family she was nannying for in London had no idea she was a Hon, I think they found out by seeing a letter addressed to her.

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I don't think Kate is characterless and I don't think William or his family see her as a mindless breeding machine - if that was the case they would have had a honeymoon baby.

I think they have just learnt their lesson after Diana and Fergie and Charles and Camilla and are managing her media image incredibly carefully. She's had her own official press advisors since she became engaged and I'm sure William's advised her unofficial before that.

The public insists on at least knowing what dresses she's wearing and how the pregnancy is progressing, so the palace releases that information. It's not that that's all she is, it's that that's the bare minimum they can release and keep the press happy.

I think that the royals and monarchists in general are aware that William and Kate are their last chance after the scandals if Charles and his generation and they are going to closely manage and control their media image. I don't blame them at all. I see it as Kate and her advisers choosing not to release more personal information, not as the royals seeing her as a mannequin with a womb or as her being boring and one dimensional.

If they saw her as a mindless breeding machine & good for PR, the wedding would have happened 5 years ago.

Diana's problem was that she was so naive, she thought Charles wouldn't keep his mistress after they got married.

Slightly off topic, my parents met Charles & Camilla in Spain a couple of years ago (just before the wedding!) & thought they were really charming, Charles especially. They both thought that if more people knew what they were like they would be much more enthusiastic about not having another republic referendum after the Queen dies.

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If they saw her as a mindless breeding machine & good for PR, the wedding would have happened 5 years ago.

Diana's problem was that she was so naive, she thought Charles wouldn't keep his mistress after they got married.

Slightly off topic, my parents met Charles & Camilla in Spain a couple of years ago (just before the wedding!) & thought they were really charming, Charles especially. They both thought that if more people knew what they were like they would be much more enthusiastic about not having another republic referendum after the Queen dies.

Just because someone is charming doesn't give them any more right to unearned priviledge than anyone else. I can be charming if I want but no-one is offering me a life of luxury in return. FWIW, a minor royal visited my children's school a couple of years ago and I was disgusted by the fact that he insisted on driving into the school playground, trailed by his minder's car (there is a perfectly good car park in the school grounds) and then left in the middle of the choir's performance of a song written for him (I am not a fan of the royal family, as you can probably gather).

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Just because someone is charming doesn't give them any more right to unearned priviledge than anyone else. I can be charming if I want but no-one is offering me a life of luxury in return. FWIW, a minor royal visited my children's school a couple of years ago and I was disgusted by the fact that he insisted on driving into the school playground, trailed by his minder's car (there is a perfectly good car park in the school grounds) and then left in the middle of the choir's performance of a song written for him (I am not a fan of the royal family, as you can probably gather).

Whatever one may feel about the royal family's role in government, they would lead a life of privilege no matter what their official status. They own huge swathes of land and other assets independent of the assets that pass with the crown.

I am interested in the royal family as an example of historical continuity, and would be sad to see them go on that basis. They bring a lot of wealth and visitors to Britain as an example of living history, and Britain's constitutional monarchy has proved to be a remarkably stable form of government. Considering they have voluntarily chosen to pay taxes and would have mind boggling wealth either way, I think they are probably doing more good than harm.

But I am saying that as an Australian, and our contribution to the upkeep of royalty is limited to upkeep of a Governor General, security when a royal visits, and bizarre wedding and christening gifts for them as the occasion arises.

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haha I gathered that :P I guess its different when some of your taxes actually go to supporting them. We get the benefits like having a GG & High Court (& awesome working holiday visas for under 30s).

That is really rude! Are they 'of' a place name starting with K?

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