Hilary Mantel makes a good point

(545 Posts)
juneau Tue 19-Feb-13 08:15:37

She shouldn't have said it, since it's bitchy and uncalled for (and I actually find HM rather odd, if I'm honest), but after a good couple of years in the media spotlight I struggle to think of one thing the Duchess of Cambridge thinks or believes in. She never gives an opinion, she barely speaks, she just looks pretty and smiles.

MrsMarcus Tue 19-Feb-13 15:34:21

I haven't read the whole script of what HM said but heard some of it on Radio 4 this morning and my take from what I heard was certainly not that HM was criticising Kate personally in any way but the institution and women's expected role in it. In my opinion what HM said was spot on.

Media unexpectedly (=deliberately) picking quotes completely out of context and DC should certanly do his research (=get his people to do it for him) before commenting! Shouldn't believe everything you read in the papers (and certainly not in the DM...).

jammietart Tue 19-Feb-13 15:45:30

It's a great piece. Mantel says at one point (in ref to the Queen) 'it’s nothing personal, it’s monarchy I’m staring at' and I think that sums it up well.

polyhymnia Tue 19-Feb-13 15:47:18

Absolutely MrsMarcus. Just looked on DM site to see how it all started - stupid, because I knew it would make my blood boil.

Predictably, lots of morons are criticising Mantel without any knowledge of the full text, and, in true DM style, her weight, without apparently any kiowledge of the serious health problems she has been through - which didn't deter her from achieving something so valuable.

BreatheandFlyAway Tue 19-Feb-13 15:55:34

I agree that Hm should be able to comment on the role of royal women without it being turned into a "bitchy" woman-on-woman issue - are women not allowed to comment on anything involving another female without this tired old chestnut being wheeled out?

On balance I think the royals are quite a cohesive and money spinning entity for the UK but the emergence of KM has made me feel pretty cynical and thrown into relief the ridiculousness of the institution. However, as long as the royals continue to bring in trade and tourists, fine, keep them but I wish people would stop the bowing and scraping. It make me cringe when older career women curtsy to KM angry

pofacedplot Tue 19-Feb-13 16:03:35

there have been some absolutely disgusting insults on twitter, all from people who haven't read the essay, quite obviously. Shameful.

PuffPants Tue 19-Feb-13 16:06:39

Yes, I agreed with her completely. I find KM to be a throw-back, I wonder what her friends make of her? She is literally the sum total of the contents of her wardrobe. What on earth does she spend her days doing? Looking through her wedding album and buying John Lewis tights?

I so wish she had a bit of gumption about her and would get stuck in. She should be "working" every day, never mind a couple of hours every couple of months. It's a joke. She's a lazy, spoiled girl in my opinion. Her parents have cosseted her, now William does it. Some people have a bloody easy ride in this life don't they?

I think HM got it right - a plastic princess indeed.

pofacedplot Tue 19-Feb-13 16:15:45

I don't think that was quite what HM was saying PuffPants

PuffPants Tue 19-Feb-13 16:18:22

No, it's what I'm saying.

Xenia Tue 19-Feb-13 16:26:10

She wrote it so well.

We certainly would much prefer a royal who spoke, had a really well paid interesting career - surgeon or something, not a non working clothes horse. Her mother with her own business is a much better example to the nation.
Let Catherine speak freely. Let her be controversial and difficult and interesting and clever and learn oratory.

perceptionreality Tue 19-Feb-13 16:27:45

I can't stand the royal family and imo they should be got rid of. However, it was an unfair criticism of her - the royals aren't supposed to have public opinions. Remember how surprised everyone was when Charles criticised GM food?

pofacedplot Tue 19-Feb-13 16:27:45

ok smile

Tailtwister Tue 19-Feb-13 16:29:00

We'll never know what KM is really like. She will spend the rest of her life trying as hard as she can NOT to have an opinion or at least not show it.

I don't feel sorry for her, she knew what she was getting into. I also don't think she'll give two shits what HM has said. She's smart enough to take the good and tolerate the bad. Right now she's probably just looking forward to her baby and not giving two hoots about much else.

perceptionreality Tue 19-Feb-13 16:29:17

'Let Catherine speak freely. Let her be controversial and difficult and interesting and clever and learn oratory.'

If she did this, I imagine the criticisms of her would be even more vicious tbh...

EldritchCleavage Tue 19-Feb-13 16:46:13

Thank you FloatyBeatie I think Mantel makes some very good points which are not a personal attack.

And to be accused of attacking the DofC on the grounds of appearance by the DailyMail is irony indeed.

For those who don't want to wade through it all, I think the last paragraph of HM's article is important:

We are happy to allow monarchy to be an entertainment, in the same way that we license strip joints and lap-dancing clubs. Adulation can swing to persecution, within hours, within the same press report: this is what happened to Prince Harry recently. You can understand that anybody treated this way can be destabilised, and that Harry doesn’t know which he is, a person or a prince. Diana was spared, at least, the prospect of growing old under the flashbulbs, a crime for which the media would have made her suffer. It may be that the whole phenomenon of monarchy is irrational, but that doesn’t mean that when we look at it we should behave like spectators at Bedlam. Cheerful curiosity can easily become cruelty. It can easily become fatal. We don’t cut off the heads of royal ladies these days, but we do sacrifice them, and we did memorably drive one to destruction a scant generation ago. History makes fools of us, makes puppets of us, often enough. But it doesn’t have to repeat itself. In the current case, much lies within our control. I’m not asking for censorship. I’m not asking for pious humbug and smarmy reverence. I’m asking us to back off and not be brutes. Get your pink frilly frocks out, zhuzh up your platinum locks. We are all Barbara Cartland now. The pen is in our hands. A happy ending is ours to write

Nancy66 Tue 19-Feb-13 16:52:36

I wasn't exactly expecting KM to be like Madonna or anything but I'm still disappointed at how bland she is. I'm also very surprised at how little work she does and is allowed by the Palace to get away with doing. And how many holidays she takes.

fathergoose Tue 19-Feb-13 16:52:43

Even if she did tell us her views on something, why should we listen? What are her qualifications in anything? She's in the public eye because of who she married: that does not mean that we should care about her views on anything. Am not wanting to be bitchy here, but I'm much interested in the views of people who have actually achieved something (such as Mantel, for example). If she hadn't married the man she did, she'd just be another rich housewife.

Copthallresident Tue 19-Feb-13 16:57:27

Hilary Mantel gives a thoughtful lecture on monarchy and the Daily Hate catches on several days later and turns it into another of it's chances to indulge in provoking hatred and misogyny, nothing to gawp at here, move along.......

I don't really have much of a view on Kate apart from her nice wedding dress, bit sad if that is your most substantial achievement. Perhaps in time, whilst involved in her charity activities she will get provoked into making a real difference somehow.

fathergoose Tue 19-Feb-13 17:03:29

Oh and the essay is fascinating.

EldritchCleavage Tue 19-Feb-13 17:03:37

The only thing worse than silent Royals would be opinionated Royals, I think. It's a constitutional monarchy: they aren't there to run things, but to be figureheads. Symbolic, not activist. Which is why the Queen is a good monarch and Prince Charles shows every sign of going to be a poor one.

And actually, so far as expressing opinions and revealing of herself goes, there is nothing in it for the DofC. She'll be even more damned for expressing views than she is for keeping stum.

exoticfruits Tue 19-Feb-13 17:19:52

Since we don't know her we have no idea of her true personality-but if she is wise she will keep it hidden. I can't see that she needs it for the job-and at least 50% wouldn't like it-whatever it turned out to be!

exoticfruits Tue 19-Feb-13 17:20:38

The great thing about the Queen is that no one really knows her.

Cassarick Tue 19-Feb-13 17:22:48

PuffPants - would you also criticise my friend Jule........her husband is also a Flight Lieutenant (earning good money). She is also a few months pregnant and does not work. Are you advocating that SHE starts 'working' or doing charity.......and if so, why?

StoicButStressed Tue 19-Feb-13 17:32:59

In 97 posts no-one has mentioned the stuff KM DOES do? I'm no great fan of Royalty but I am surprised that no-one has mentioned (however little they may think it might be vs. 'working') any of her charities - is Patron of 4 if memory serves? Suggest google KM/Action on Addiction (inc Hope House, rehab facility for women), and KM/Children's Hospice.

If she is going to be laid into one or other (& agree with someone upthread who said the 'KM damned if she does/damned if she doesn't' thing), let's at least whack a bit of balance in discussion? Even if you feel that 'balance' %wise isn't 'enough', should still be included in a what 'Kate does or does not do' debate shouldn't it?

perceptionreality Tue 19-Feb-13 17:37:51

'The great thing about the Queen is that no one really knows her.'

Exactly, we'd all be so crestfallen if we found out the miserable looking creature we are supposed to worship is actually, er.....a miserable creature.

Cassarick Tue 19-Feb-13 17:49:14

No need to be nasty perceptionreality.

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