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British novelist Hilary Mantel has slammed the Duchess of Cambridge, calling the future Queen of England a "shop-window mannequin" with no personality, whose only purpose is to breed.

Mantel criticised Prince William's wife for appearing "gloss-varnished," labeling her a "machine-made" princess, who was "designed by committee" with a "plastic smile," contrasting the Duchess to Prince William's mother, Diana, "whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture."

She went on to suggest that the "painfully thin" Catherine was selected for her role of princess because she posed no risk of showing any character.

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Mantel's remarks were made two weeks ago during a lecture at the British Museum, organised by London Review of Books (LRB), a month after her latest novel, Bring Up the Bodies, won the Costa prize.

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Catherine "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," Mantel said during a lecture at the British Museum, organised by London Review of Books (LRB), two weeks ago.

"She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana," added Mantel whose latest novels are set in the Tudor court, before suggesting that the Duchess was a "jointed doll on which certain rags are hung."

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She added: "In those days (Kate) 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 woman's life until now was nothing, her only point and purpose being to give birth."

Mantel also took aim at the Duchess' first official portrait by Paul Emsley, unveiled in January, labelling her eyes as "dead" and wearing "the strained smile of a woman who really wants to tell the painter to bugger off."

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