Hilary Mantel: Fuss over Kate comments shows Britain has become 'narrow and intolerant'

The two-time Booker Prize winner said she stands by her remarks

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The Independent Online

Hilary Mantel has criticised the public clamour following her comments regarding the Duchess of Cambridge, saying that it pointed to a Britain that is “narrow and intolerant”.

The two-time Booker Prize winner was widely criticised after she described Kate as “machine-made” and lacking in character, with “a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished”.

But Ms Mantel said her comments, which were made during a lecture entitled Royal Bodies at the British Museum last year, had been republished out of context.

And the author said she stands by her remarks.

Speaking to Sky News ahead of the official opening night of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at London’s Aldwych Theatre on Saturday, she said: “What the fuss last year made me think was how narrow and how intolerant as a nation we have become because even if I had said about Kate the things I was alleged to have said, that was my perfect right.

"There was no occasion to jump on me and revile me.

“I would say it all over again and I stand by what I said.”

Ms Mantel’s books, which are the first two instalments in a planned trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, have been adapted for the stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Previews have been running in the West End since 1 May after the sell-out show moved from Stratford.

And Ms Mantel said watching the stage version of her work is inspiring her to complete the third book, which is reported to be called The Mirror and the Light.

A TV version of the books by the BBC has also been planned with Homeland star Damian Lewis playing Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Cromwell - the man who rose from humble beginnings as a blacksmith's son to dominate the king's court before his fall from grace.

Other cast members include Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn, Joanne Whalley as Katherine of Aragon and Sherlock star Mark Gatiss as the King's secretary.

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies run at the Aldwych Theatre until 6 September.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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