You may have heard that author Hilary Mantel has come out with guns blazing for Kate Middleton. But the more people come out to defend the Duchess of Cambridge, the more we realize this has shades of Princess Diana all over it. The double Man Booker prize winner stood up in a lecture at the British Museum last week on royal bodies and compared Prince William's bride to a hunk of plastic.
Dubbed a "venomous attack" by one British newspaper, the description of Middleton as "a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung" was at best hyper critical. At worst? Mantel's decision to rip apart the pregnant princess in public as a means to support her theory that it's time to bid the monarchy goodbye was dehumanizing. As dehumanizing as the attacks on the duchess' mother-in-law all those years ago.
Kate Middleton, as she was, 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.
Remember, this is a real person she's talking about. A woman who was born of human parents, who grew up eating food and breathing air. Kate Middleton is a woman who puts her pants on the same way the rest of us do.
And unlike a craftsmen-built doll, she has real feelings, feelings that were no doubt hurt by being dubbed a doll, by being accused of serving no purpose on this planet other than to give birth.
Mantel can argue that she was only criticizing the monarchy -- as many of her supporters have said -- but the fact is, she named names. She stepped away from an attack on a group and took on a person.
Kate Middleton is not a symbol of a group. She's a person, and like her mother-in-law before her, her foray into the public spotlight cannot erase the 20-some odd years she existed on the planet beforehand.
During Princess Diana's life, the monarchy and Britons both spent much of their time trying to turn her into something she wasn't. They tried to mold her as if she was a doll rather than a human being, and the result was a tumultuous time for the late Princess of Wales who battled depression and an eating disorder as she tried to meet the impossible demands being put on her by both sides.
Mantel may have meant to make a point about the wrong of what has been done to the likes of Princess Diana with her criticisms of the monarchy. Instead she did pretty much what she is mad at the monarch for doing ...
What do you make of the criticisms of Kate Middleton? Haven't we learned from what Princess Diana went through?
Image via Tom Soper Photography/Flickr