During a lecture for the London Review of Books, the Booker Prize-winning novelist launched a scathing criticism of Prince William's wife, branding her a "jointed doll on which certain rags are hung" with "no personality of her own" and insisting she appears to have been "designed by committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile".
The comments hit headlines in the U.K. on Tuesday (19Feb13) and prompted a furious response from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who branded Mantel's remarks "misguided".
He says, "What I've seen of Princess Kate at public events, at the Olympics and elsewhere is this is someone who's bright, who's engaging, who's a fantastic ambassador for Britain. We should be proud of that, rather than make these rather misguided remarks... (Mantel) writes great books... (but) what she's said... is completely misguided."
A number of celebrities have also waded into the debate, with Tv newsman Piers Morgan calling Mantel's review of the Duchess "painfully vile" in a post on his Twitter.com page, while Duran Duran star Simon Le Bon urges fans to read a transcript of the entire lecture, writing, "Hilary Mantel's Royal Bodies lecture... It's no assassination of Kate; rather a cold look at our attitude to Royalty."
The lecture notes were released on the day of the pregnant royal's first official public engagement of 2013, visiting a rehab centre in London.