Kate Middleton has come in for the leatheriest of shoe pie servings from double Booker Prize-winning writer Hilary Mantel, who claimed that the Duchess of Cambridge and current cultivator of the next royal baby was a “shop window mannequin”. Harsh words.

Mantel was delivering a London Review of Books lecture on Royal Bodies at the British Museum, according to The Independent. She said that on first impressions , Middleton was “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.” Carrying on her remorseless verbal assault, Mantel commented “She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture.” We presume that at this point, a (definitely not) watching-on Morrissey stood to his feet and started whooping and hollering in agreement before sauntering out the room with a bunch of daffodils in his hand.

Mantel wasn’t done there though: “Presumably Kate was designed to breed in some manners. She looks like a nicely brought up young lady, with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ part of her vocabulary” she said, before turning her ire on Kate’s first official royal portrait and commenting of the Paul Emsley-painted creation “her eyes are dead.” Middleton basically was a poor third place to Anne Boleyn and Princess Diana, judging by the rest of the speech, which was about as withering as they come.

Kate Middleton leaves King Edward VII Hospital, 2012

Kate Middleton a "mannquein" according to Hilary Mantel