‘Out of order’: PM wades into Hilary Mantel-Kate Middleton row

The prime minister has waded into a row over Hilary Mantel's criticism of Kate Middleton, by telling the Man Booker winner she was "out of order".

Speaking during a trip to India, David Cameron said Mantel was a great writer but that her insults towards the Duchess of Cambridge were "a hurtful thing to say".

He added: "I think what she's said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong".

Ed Miliband also commented on the row, saying: "These are pretty offensive remarks, I don't agree with them. Kate Middleton is doing a brilliant job."

Mantel, who is the first woman to receive the Man Booker Prize twice, described the Duchess as a "shop window mannequin" with a "perfect plastic smile".

The author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies said: "It's 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 … her only point and purpose being to give birth."

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She said of her first official portrait, unveiled last month, that "her eyes are dead and she wears the strained smile of a woman who really wants to tell the painter to b***** off".