Hilary Mantel Hits Out Over Kate Controversy
Hilary Mantel has said the public outcry and media reaction to her comments about the Duchess of Cambridge last year are a sign that Britain is becoming a "narrow and intolerant" nation.
The author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies was widely criticised for describing Kate as a "machine-made" princess with no personality - comments which she said had been taken out of context.
"What the fuss last year made me think was how narrow and how intolerant as a nation we have become because even if I had said about Kate the things I was alleged to have said, that was my perfect right.
"There was no occasion to jump on me and revile me.
"I would say it all over again and I stand by what I said."
Mantel was speaking to Sky News ahead of the opening night of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies at The Aldwych theatre in London's West End.
Her books - which made her the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice - have been adapted for stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Together the novels are made up of almost 1,000 pages.
"I don't see the need to be protective of every line, every scene, as long as the spirit is right and it is," she says.
"You could hurl many insults at me but precious is not one of them."
Director Jeremy Herrin's productions of Mike Poulton's dramatisations have been critically acclaimed.
The novels about Thomas Cromwell's life in the Tudor court have sold almost two million copies in the UK and over one million in the US.
"I think the court of Henry, Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon and Thomas Cromwell in the mix of that is one of our national stories and one we'll always be connected to and we'll always want to see reinterpreted," says Herrin.
"Hilary has had the amazing insight to find Cromwell as a central character and to uncover him and explore what was going on for such an amazing man who, until she came along, no one really had a strong idea about."
Mantel's third instalment of the Cromwell series is highly anticipated but is yet to be written.
The two plays, which will run back-to-back at least once a week, have been in repertoire since December.
The West End cast includes Ben Miles as Cromwell, Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII, Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn, Paul Jesson as Cardinal Wolsey and Lucy Briers as Catherine of Aragon.
Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies open at The Aldwych Theatre tonight and are scheduled to run until September 6.