Kate Middleton: plastic princess? That’s the contention of author Hilary Mantel. Mantel recently caused a furor in Britain by blasting Kate, who seems to be a real-life Mary Poppins (“practically perfect in every way”), as a “personality-free shop window mannequin,” a machine-made princess “designed by a committee.”
My first thought on seeing this photo of Mantel was admittedly snarky — who was she to be criticizing the dear Duchess of Cambridge?
My second thought, as a fellow author, was Gee. She’s only saying this to get publicity for her book. It made me wonder if I should say something outrageous about Mad King Ludwig to sell more of my own books, but then I realized that Ludwig had already done pretty much every outrageous thing there was.
So, what about Mantel’s claims? Is Kate really a woman whose only purpose is to give birth, a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung? Further, Mantel claims that Kate is “painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character,” presumably brought into the family to breed in some manners. She goes on to state that Prince Philip (the current Queen’s husband) liked the addition of Princess Diana to the family because she could breed in some height — ha! I suppose she did do that.
You know that I love the royal family dearly, but, although I’d never put it so crassly, I have wondered on occasion how the royals feel about their roles. Let’s admit it: Kate’s biggest purpose in life, at this point, clearly is to give birth. Even in our enlightened age, I doubt that it would be looked upon fondly if she decided to give up having kids in favor of a career.
And Kate does appear awfully perfect — almost too good to be true. While I loved William’s late mother, Princess Diana, she definitely had her flaws. She was a decade younger than Kate, true, but she was all-too-human with her moods and headstrong demands, which were public knowledge even while the royal marriage was still being billed as a fairy tale by the press. If Kate has her faults, they’re certainly kept well hidden.
I’ve wondered, too, what it must be like to be loved for so little apparent reason. Especially as a writer, who struggles with using this verb over that one, it’s really odd to see the googly-eyed press given to the following comments given by the Duchess this week during a visit to a center for women overcoming addictions:
To a woman cooking at the center: “Do you like the menus and do you enjoy the cooking side?”
To another woman at the center: “Well done you for getting sober.”
And this, which elicited laughs from the chefs: “Can people get away with being fussy or not – if they don’t like mushrooms?”
Following these comments, the head of the charity gushed, “They fell in love with her.”
Hmmm … what must it be like to have so many fall in love with one for doing and saying so little? It surely must alter one’s personality.
Here’s Kate arriving at the center, complete with her baby bump — a phrase I despise.
So what do you think? Kate Middleton: plastic princess? Too perfect? Hiding invisible flaws?