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  #721  
Old 02-19-2013, 06:10 AM
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This is yet another example of media spin by taking an interesting perspective on how royals are treated and turning it against the royals. Perhaps the journalists aren't bright enough to understand what is being said. I've read HM's books and they are outstanding.

As for Westwood - lets all stop buying clothes and see what happens to the economy or maybe we follow Catherine's example and just never buy Westwood.

As was previously written, this is all an example of the media getting back at William, Catherine and Harry for recent comments and attitude they have made about the press.
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  #722  
Old 02-19-2013, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
T
Here is the link to the full piece should anyone want to read it without the editorial input of the various royal reporters: Hilary Mantel ∑ Royal Bodies ∑ LRB 21 February 2013

But what a hyprocrite she is: first she writes about Catherine in a very cruel manner herself, then she finishes her essay with these words:

Cheerful curiosity can easily become cruelty. It can easily become fatal. We donít cut off the heads of royal ladies these days, but we do sacrifice them, and we did memorably drive one to destruction a scant generation ago. History makes fools of us, makes puppets of us, often enough. But it doesnít have to repeat itself. In the current case, much lies within our control. Iím not asking for censorship. Iím not asking for pious humbug and smarmy reverence. Iím asking us to back off and not be brutes. Get your pink frilly frocks out, zhuzh up your platinum locks. We are all Barbara Cartland now. The pen is in our hands. A happy ending is ours to write.

(End of quote).

So back off and not be a brute, Ms. Mantel. No need to publish sentences like this: "Itís rather that I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung. In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore" Or: "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..."

One need not become a Barbara Cartland kind of writer to do justice to Royal women. What about simply accepting that other people have other lives, goals, aims, that not every woman needs to flaunt her higher education and personal tastes to the world only because the world wants her to do it. So we don't know what Catherine reads. So what? With her background, I'm convinced she reads and thinks about it and has people to talk about her reading experiences. She just does not want to share that information with the likes of Hilary Mantel or Richard Kay...
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  #723  
Old 02-19-2013, 07:50 AM
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Hilary Mantel - Prince Charles expresses opinions and reveals aspects of his personality to the world and is then derided as an interfering oddball who's a few sandwiches short of a picnic. I don't blame Kate for not wanting to go down that route.
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  #724  
Old 02-19-2013, 08:19 AM
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  #725  
Old 02-19-2013, 08:36 AM
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The Prime Minister has now been drawn into the controversy over Mantel's comments, calling them "completely wrong" according to the BBC News channel.

To put this in context, the PM is currently on an official visit to India. The fact that he felt it necessary to publicly comment on this is totally bonkers.
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  #726  
Old 02-19-2013, 09:02 AM
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I am willing to bet 9 in 10 people who commented on the Hilary Mantel's comment did not read the full actual speech

And I feel quite sorry for the author because I feel that piece was pretty well written. This is like the official portrait "scandal" all over again.
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  #727  
Old 02-19-2013, 09:21 AM
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Hilary Mantel is certainly intelligent enough to know exactly how her comments would be taken when she made them. She knows we live in a soundbite world where people don't read essays, they just consume a few lines summarising them, if that. She should've taken greater care when addressing one of the world's most talked about individuals.
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  #728  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:27 AM
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I'm just feel bad that these comments was kinda distracting from HRH official engagement and Hope House.
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  #729  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:34 AM
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HM was actually supporting the royals and being critical of the press. The press/media have selected elements from the speech and presented it as critical of Catherine. At the core of her argument is that the media judge Catherine on her looks and clothes, and that is all they present of her. and let's be honest, we have said that in this forum. Today's reports are not about Action on Addiction but how she looks and her grey dress.

What is truly ironic is that the anti-Catherine troll fest that has been criticising her for weeks have come out in major support of Catherine. and how have they done it? By making gross personal comments about HMs appearance.
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  #730  
Old 02-19-2013, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kataryn View Post
But what a hyprocrite she is: first she writes about Catherine in a very cruel manner herself, then she finishes her essay with these words:

Cheerful curiosity can easily become cruelty. It can easily become fatal. We donít cut off the heads of royal ladies these days, but we do sacrifice them, and we did memorably drive one to destruction a scant generation ago. History makes fools of us, makes puppets of us, often enough. But it doesnít have to repeat itself. In the current case, much lies within our control. Iím not asking for censorship. Iím not asking for pious humbug and smarmy reverence. Iím asking us to back off and not be brutes. Get your pink frilly frocks out, zhuzh up your platinum locks. We are all Barbara Cartland now. The pen is in our hands. A happy ending is ours to write.

(End of quote).

So back off and not be a brute, Ms. Mantel. No need to publish sentences like this: "Itís rather that I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung. In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore" Or: "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..."

One need not become a Barbara Cartland kind of writer to do justice to Royal women. What about simply accepting that other people have other lives, goals, aims, that not every woman needs to flaunt her higher education and personal tastes to the world only because the world wants her to do it. So we don't know what Catherine reads. So what? With her background, I'm convinced she reads and thinks about it and has people to talk about her reading experiences. She just does not want to share that information with the likes of Hilary Mantel or Richard Kay...

You should go back and read the piece again. The "cruel" remarks were not about Kate herself- they were about the public persona created for her by the media and of how she's portrayed within that sphere. They were not about Kate personally- she was dismantling media archetypes and pointing out that for most of her marriage, Kate was spoken of only in terms of what she wore- no real attempts were made by the media to cover any other aspect of her story, plus she's private so there wasn't much else to cover. Now that she's pregnant, she's being spoken of only in terms of her pregnancy and a whole new madonna-like media myth will emerge, which will still totally ignore Kate's intellect and personality. To succeed in her role, she has to hold herself back and be as neutral as possible and it must occasionally be frustrating. I think this piece nailed that.

And Hillary Mantel did not insinuate that Kate doesn't read or even what she ought to read- she opened with a thought experiment about which book she'd give a famous person to read, and chose Kate and a book on the role of royal women and how they've been perceived at different historical points. It's a good answer.

I honestly think that Kate is educated enough to read that piece herself should she wish to do it and understand that it was not insulting to her. It's if anything, quite sympathetic.
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  #731  
Old 02-19-2013, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
You should go back and read the piece again. The "cruel" remarks were not about Kate herself- they were about the public persona created for her by the media and of how she's portrayed within that sphere.

snip

And Hillary Mantel did not insinuate that Kate doesn't read or even what she ought to read- she opened with a thought experiment about which book she'd give a famous person to read, and chose Kate and a book on the role of royal women and how they've been perceived at different historical points. It's a good answer.

I honestly think that Kate is educated enough to read that piece herself should she wish to do it and understand that it was not insulting to her. It's if anything, quite sympathetic.
Actually, she was talking about her own perception of Catherine, Charles & the queen. I mean, Charles has nice suits, but surely there is more to him than being just a person that is invited and then sent away because curiosity has been served and people long for a whiff of "real life" which he hasn't to offer?

Or does Catherine really need a book about Marie Antoinette and fashion? Fot the reason Hilary Mantel wants to give it to her?

But I see that you interpret this essay different than I do and that's your right.
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  #732  
Old 02-19-2013, 01:50 PM
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Actually, she was talking about her own perception of Catherine, Charles & the queen. I mean, Charles has nice suits, but surely there is more to him than being just a person that is invited and then sent away because curiosity has been served and people long for a whiff of "real life" which he hasn't to offer?

Or does Catherine really need a book about Marie Antoinette and fashion? Fot the reason Hilary Mantel wants to give it to her?

But I see that you interpret this essay different than I do and that's your right.
As of course, you are welcome to your own interpretation as well, but in my opinion, this was a fairly brilliant work of media criticism and of criticism towards the public's relationship to the royal family. That's why she brought up her own perceptions- they were as a member of the public subject to the same sort of rude curiosity and awe as everyone else. She was criticizing the watchers, not the watched- and tracing how ready the public is to explore matters that for anyone else would be private and sacrosanct, notably what happens in royal bodies, particularly with regard to pregnancy.

This quote was particularly interesting to me: "No one understood what Henry saw in Jane, who was not pretty and not young. The imperial ambassador sneered that ‘no doubt she has a very fine enigme’: which is to say, secret part. We have arrived at the crux of the matter: a royal lady is a royal vagina. Along with the reverence and awe accorded to royal persons goes the conviction that the body of the monarch is public property. We are ready at any moment to rip away the veil of respect, and treat royal persons in an inhuman way, making them not more than us but less than us, not really human at all."


Do you see any parallels between that and the way Kate's pregnancy has been treated by the media, even long before we knew there was a pregnancy?
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  #733  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by EIIR View Post
The Prime Minister has now been drawn into the controversy over Mantel's comments, calling them "completely wrong" according to the BBC News channel.

To put this in context, the PM is currently on an official visit to India. The fact that he felt it necessary to publicly comment on this is totally bonkers.
Seriously!? David Cameron makes a comment on this crap topic??? Doesnt Cameron have more pressing things to do than this?

Britain is becoming paranoid as soon as the word "Kate" is mentioned somewhere. I personally dont get the hostile tone of those comments but it is an opinion after all, people should take a long deep breath and move on.
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  #734  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
As of course, you are welcome to your own interpretation as well, but in my opinion, this was a fairly brilliant work of media criticism and of the public's relationship to the royal family. That's why she brought up her own perceptions- they were as a member of the public subject to the same sort of rude curiosity and awe as everyone else. She was criticizing the watchers, not the watched- and tracing how ready the public is to explore matters that for anyone else would be private and sacrosanct, notably what happens in royal bodies, particularly with regard to pregnancy.

This quote was particularly interesting to me: "No one understood what Henry saw in Jane, who was not pretty and not young. The imperial ambassador sneered that Ďno doubt she has a very fine enigmeí: which is to say, secret part. We have arrived at the crux of the matter: a royal lady is a royal vagina. Along with the reverence and awe accorded to royal persons goes the conviction that the body of the monarch is public property. We are ready at any moment to rip away the veil of respect, and treat royal persons in an inhuman way, making them not more than us but less than us, not really human at all."


Do you see any parallels between that and the way Kate's pregnancy has been treated by the media, even long before we knew there was a pregnancy?
Yes, she is right to the point here. But do you really think she needed to write down her own perception of Catherine in such "inhuman" terms when she wanted to point out that while it is "human" to do so it is in fact "inhuman" to do so. Yes, we can change the way Royalty is percieved, but we need not to put on frilly clothes and become a Barbara Cartland-copy.
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  #735  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:27 PM
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Just heard Hilary on the telly and her words were her words not anything to do with 'public perception' of Catherine. She said Catherine, as she was, was practically designed.
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  #736  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:37 PM
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Yes, she is right to the point here. But do you really think she needed to write down her own perception of Catherine in such "inhuman" terms when she wanted to point out that while it is "human" to do so it is in fact "inhuman" to do so. Yes, we can change the way Royalty is percieved, but we need not to put on frilly clothes and become a Barbara Cartland-copy.

See, I actually thought that what she said was sympathetic. She was referring to how Kate's media persona was developing. I'll quote her fully here on the part that most people are viewing as an attack on Kate:

"Itís not that I think weíre heading for a revolution. Itís rather that I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung. In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore. These days she is a mother-to-be, and draped in another set of threadbare attributions. Once she gets over being sick, the press will find that she is radiant. They will find that this young womanís life until now was nothing, her only point and purpose being to give birth."


She's on Kate's side here, or at least totally neutral towards her. She's seeing how the press and public are portraying a young woman and her life, dreams and hopes- and how limiting it is. First she gets treated as a perfect model, a clothes horse- and her actions are generally brushed aside and her clothes and perfect smile dominate the press stories about her. Now- she's a mother to be, and every story about her will be about her joy, her radiance, and her utter fulfillment at becoming a mother- even though we'll have no idea whether that's true or not.

Her private life has actually managed to stay remarkably private- and in the absence of real detail, the press and public have filled in who they think Kate is as a stand in for who she probably really is in her private life.

I also think she nailed the Diana effect in that particular piece- what particular gift of Diana's made her so sympathetic and charismatic a figure, and how that gift was also a curse. I don't think she was making an unfavorable comparison between Kate and Diana there- if anything, I think she's probably happy for Kate that she doesn't have a similar personality and won't be thrust onto the same pedestal so that everyone can enjoy watching her fall and then helping her back up so she can do it again, which was what Diana's relationship with the media was like for a long time.

She brought up Diana's fondness for Barbra Cartland to mention that Diana probably didn't have much historical context for how the royal body is treated- she had to learn on her own, painfully and publicly, over and over again and she probably didn't know going in that her role wouldn't be happy wife and mother but instead this rather mythic figure that provoked mystifying strong emotions in others. She was raised on a diet of romantic fantasy and she found the fantasy very difficult to reconcile with her reality.

And the last paragraph was particularly well done: "It may be that the whole phenomenon of monarchy is irrational, but that doesnít mean that when we look at it we should behave like spectators at Bedlam. Cheerful curiosity can easily become cruelty. It can easily become fatal. We donít cut off the heads of royal ladies these days, but we do sacrifice them, and we did memorably drive one to destruction a scant generation ago. History makes fools of us, makes puppets of us, often enough. But it doesnít have to repeat itself. In the current case, much lies within our control. Iím not asking for censorship. Iím not asking for pious humbug and smarmy reverence. Iím asking us to back off and not be brutes. Get your pink frilly frocks out, zhuzh up your platinum locks. We are all Barbara Cartland now. The pen is in our hands. A happy ending is ours to write."


All she meant by this was that we, the public, have the power to make sure that Kate is treated better and with more respect than her late mother in law- that we should remember the role the public played in that particular drama and try very hard to not repeat history. We can try to make sure Kate's story has a happier ending than Diana's, and we can do that by not being brutal towards her or expecting that her body belongs to the public and we're all welcome to look in on it.
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  #737  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:38 PM
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Just heard Hilary on the telly and her words were her words not anything to do with 'public perception' of Catherine. She said Catherine, as she was, was practically designed.
Designed by who?
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  #738  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:39 PM
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As for the difference between Henry VIII and William Cambridge and his family: Henry was an only son of the first souverain of the Tudor dynasty. His sisters had married abroad into other dynasties (Margaret) or left only daughters (Mary). So he was in dire need of a male heir, thus reducing his wifes of course to "Royal wombs".

Today it wouldn't matter if Catherine become a mother or not. There are enough people in line of succession anyway, so there is no real need other than some mystic feeling that the direct line should be preserved to see her as anything but William's chosen wife.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:44 PM
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As for the difference between Henry VIII and William Cambridge and his family: Henry was an only son of the first souverain of the Tudor dynasty. His sisters had married abroad into other dynasties (Margaret) or left only daughters (Mary). So he was in dire need of a male heir, thus reducing his wifes of course to "Royal wombs".

Today it wouldn't matter if Catherine become a mother or not. There are enough people in line of succession anyway, so there is no real need other than some mystic feeling that the direct line should be preserved to see her as anything but William's chosen wife.
It wasn't meant to be a direct comparison between the two situations- merely an example of how comfortable outsiders and the public have always been with discussing and questioning something as intensely personal as the sex life and reproductive choices of the royals.

Kate was barely married before the tabloids had her on baby watch. Everything she ate, said, and all of her interactions with mothers and children were watched by the press with the "Is she or isn't she?" story attached. Now that she is pregnant, every detail anyone can get is being pored over by a public that wants to know everything.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:49 PM
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Seriously!? David Cameron makes a comment on this crap topic??? Doesnt Cameron have more pressing things to do than this?

Britain is becoming paranoid as soon as the word "Kate" is mentioned somewhere. I personally dont get the hostile tone of those comments but it is an opinion after all, people should take a long deep breath and move on.
And if David Cameron comments on it, it draws more attention to Hilary's very words and keeps the subject going on.

However, even I think Hilary's words a bit uncalled for, and I tend to think public figures fairer game than most. I'm still trying to figure out a purpose in her commentary. If she had a political opinion on Kate's work, her vacation schedule, etc, then I think fine, fire away. She's entitled to her opinion and to voice it, but still, what was the purpose in calling her a plastic mannequin or words to that effect?
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