Tuesday 19 February 2013

Hilary Mantel on Kate Middleton

Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character. She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture. Diana was capable of transforming herself from galumphing schoolgirl to ice queen, from wraith to Amazon. Kate seems capable of going from perfect bride to perfect mother, with no messy deviation.
The rest of Mantel's heresy is here

I bet the London Review of Books have never known such a page load spike.

Of course, Mantel has committed THE cardinal sin as far as official Britain is concerned. Whereas major royals were once fair game for the press, between the death of Diana and the Golden Jubilee five years later, the dead hand of media self-censorship made itself felt. Against the grain of the age, the multiplication of irreverence against institutions and celebrity went into reverse. We saw the strange return of royal reverence. As Mantel is now finding out, this new reverence is policed by the professional flak machines of the press, politicians, and public intellectuals.


Anonymous said...


Yakoub said...

At the risk of being accused of promoting my own blog, may I suggest Royal nay-sayers pay a short visit to WindsorWorld:


Suggestions for additional rides and attractions welcome.

Phil said...

I don't think anyone coukld have asked for a more 'faux outrage by numbers' piece than Louise Mensch in today's Sun here.

Gary Elsby said...

Mantel looks like a Ewok from Star Wars.

'Kate was selected....'

They met at University and fell in love.
That's the truth.

He fell in a hedge when pissed when he passed his exams.
She got pissed also.

On her wedding day and out of sound detection, she can be clearly seen to say:"Are you happy Will".
"Yes" he replied.

All the girls in my family, who never followed the young Royals (same age) because of their secret upbringing, cried tears as they sat watching their wedding.

The point being 'their'.
You see, it was the publics wedding too of which they were invited and Harry's up next.

The sale of the Royals and the new sell of Kate is exponentially growing with both good news and bad.
You attack Kate and Will for all it's worth and their ever increasing band of young (and old) followers will rally to the cause.
Cromwell would have been fucked on day one.
His head would have been circumcised by joe by Kate's beer swilling,pot smoking, horsemeat eating cavaliers.

Lovely bump.
Hope it's a girl.
Love the new thinking of modern ascendency.

First time ever, a baby born to the heir-to the heir- of the throne.
Another rule change to upset the ultra lefties once more, no doubt.
A Princess or Prince.

Mantel sells books.
She learns the Royal way fast.

Gary Elsby said...

On another point Phil, I can see no reasoning behind the notion that the Left has somewhere within itself a majority that suggests anti Royal.

There is an element within that is comfortable with that view, but I have never witnessed it at all being of any higher voice.

My view is that the Left in Britain is either very much Royal, somehwhat Royal or resonably indifferent to it all.
No hard majority anti.

If a minority of the Left believe themselves to be more correct than the majority, then I would suggest reading a book on self delusion.

I did bump into a section of ultra Blairites at a secret meeting once who refused to watch the film, The Queen.

A must watch film for all Labour members and Lefties alike.
Too anti Blair they said (without watching it).
No. It is remarkeable film with more insight and meat on the bones for social(ist) watchers.
Blair got it right but in the long course of Royal history he can be said to have got it wrong.

NB. Note that Blair and Brown have no titles bestowed upon them.

Chris said...

I am a militant republican, however the word 'seems' (Kate seems this or Kate seems that) does appear to litter the argument all too often.

She does appear to be the ideal mate for anyone if you ask me! Selection is a fundamental part of the whole mating ritual, how could it be anything other?

Phil said...

Chris - if you read Mantel's piece, "seems" is precisely what it's all about. She says nothing about Kate the person - she knows nothing about her, any more than I do. The piece is all about appearance and media presentation, and how those things are for the royal family these days.

It's a nasty, ignorant, misogynistic attack - the attack on Mantel, that is.

Alex Dawson said...

The royal family is the ultimate plan B for the rich and powerful to retain control of the country - and therefore their wealth - in case the shit hits the fan.

That's why all the brute-force forces of the state - coppers, army - swear not to the Prime Minister or the citizens (sorry "subjects") of this country - but to the crown.

In case we do actually get a government which challenges the monopoly of the wealthy to reorganise things properly, the button will be pushed and the the royal family will revert to take complete control again.

If you suggest this to many, they think it's a good idea too, given how badly politicians have been faring on the public trust stakes in recent years.

It's been revealed that both Charles and Liz Saxe-Coburg-Gotha have both vetoed bills they don't like in recent years - using the ultimate power they have that we have been told (lied to) that they would never use.

The existence of hereditary rule by royal family is a complete affront to democracy and makes us ultimately no different to the North Korean state we scoff at.

Any self-respecting democratic socialist must also be a republican. To defend the crown and the system of privilege by birth is an anathema to all we stand for.

If it's tourism you bleat about, let the royals stay in Buckingham Palace and fund themselves from the door charges, The soap opera can carry on if it must. But they cannot be allowed to have power by birth.

Anonymous said...

It was a very imaginative piece by Mantel but I think a perfect world argument. In a perfect world the media would...what exactly? Represent Monarchy and gender as realistic? What is realistic? No PR? Completely natural? No front stage self at all??? If only Goffman or Stuart Hall could write on this. It was constructed in such an abstract way as to be 'spinnable' by either camp really. But I'm unsure as to what commodified 'perfect world' Hilary envisages. Looked like a typical piece of intellectualizing which makes Guardian readers ooze! (Old left wing cynic)