When the double Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel delivered her hour-long essay on the way in which royal women are viewed, she most probably was not expecting the media furore that she sparked. Her comments about Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, ignited a wave of fury and even prompted condemnation from the Prime Minister David Cameron, as she described Kate as having “no personality of her own” and being “entirely defined by what she wore,” The Telegraph reports.

It’s unclear whether or not David Cameron had been a party to the entire lecture before dismissing Mantel’s observations as “completely misguided and completely wrong” but Mantel can at least enjoy one positive outcome that the furore has had. Sales of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (the first of her trilogy of books about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII) reportedly doubled in the last 24 hours, since news of her comments broke. The book has risen from 15th to 7th in Amazon’s book charts and the sequel, Bring Up The Bodies has seen a rise of 69 per cent.

Hilary Mantel compared Kate Middleton to other female royals, including Princess Diana and described her as having a “perfect plastic smile.” In defence of Mantel’s essay, Professor Mary Beard urged people not to take the comments out of context and insisted that the negative reaction to Mantel’s lecture was “completely misguided and completely wrong.” 

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton: Hilary Mantel described her as 'painfully thin'