Hilary Mantel on the monarchy: ‘I think it’s the endgame… it will be their last big era’


Hilary Mantel is a two-time Booker-Prize-winning author and historian. She’s written the popular Wolf Hall series, and she comments from time to time about the current state of the royal family. What I like about Mantel’s comments is that she really does know a lot about royal history, and her observations on modern royalty are usually couched in that historical perspective. Mantel got in “trouble” in 2013 when she spoke about the Duchess of Cambridge, who was pregnant with George at the time. Mantel said that Kate 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.” And that’s not all! Mantel also said Kate “appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished.”

Last year, Mantel also made some succinct comments about the Duchess of Sussex, shortly after Meghan and Harry had Sussexited the hell out of Toxic White Folk Isle. Mantel was entirely positive about them and their exit, underlining the point that the goal of the British media was to break up the marriage, so she was pleased to see that the marriage was intact. Mantel has a new interview with the Telegraph, and she was asked about the state of the monarchy, the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, and whether the monarchy will actually survive.

Monarchy as show business: “I understand [the Queen] thinks of this as a sacred task… It’s a conflict because most of the world sees the Royal Family as a branch of show business.”

The death of Prince Philip: “What recent events bring home is how far the monarchy’s arrangements with the media have turned it into a self-punishing institution. No other family would be expected to parade a very elderly, newly widowed lady before the TV cameras, and yet it’s taken for granted that’s what will happen—just as it’s taken for granted that a new Royal mother will appear beaming on the hospital steps within a day of giving birth. There’s no legitimate public interest behind it.”

How the Queen should have abdicated: “I wish the Queen had felt able to abdicate, because Charles has had to wait such a long time. I understand that she thinks of this as a sacred task, from which you simply cannot abdicate, whereas the rest of us think of it as a job, from which you should be able to retire. I wonder if she’s the only person who really believes in the monarchy now, and I’m sure she believes with all her heart. She believes that she cannot cease to be a monarch – she made those promises to God. It’s such a cliché to say, but what a lonely position to be in”

The monarchy’s future: “I think it’s the endgame. I don’t know how much longer the institution will go on. I’m not sure if it will outlast William. So I think it will be their last big era.”

[From The Telegraph & The Daily Beast]

This is already being spun as “Hilary Mantel attacks the Queen!” She’s not attacking the Queen. She’s attacking the institution and the British public for demanding and expecting a 94-year-old widow to perform her grief publicly for the nation. And she’s right. As for what she says about the future of the monarchy… lord, the sh-t is really going to hit the fan when the Queen passes. For a short while, it will just be about the business of maintaining the monarchy, the coronation of King Charles and all of that. But sh-t will get VERY real very fast after that.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, social media.

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155 Responses to “Hilary Mantel on the monarchy: ‘I think it’s the endgame… it will be their last big era’”

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  1. K says:

    Re: Kate… where’s the lie?

    • Myra says:

      She didn’t lie once. Always been spot on in her assessment of royalty – both her and John Oliver. She’s probably right about their demise, too.

    • Shawna says:

      You’d hope Kate et al. would recognize that they are always GOING to have a public persona, regardless of what they personally believe they are like. The public image can be detachable from your personal identity, so long as you’ve *got* a personal identity. In the case of Kate, she is a picture-perfect womb, and that’s what Mantel pointed out. Strictly speaking, if the monarchy is supposed to be legitimate, that really is all her job is supposed to be. Being annoyed that someone pointed out your public purpose is delusional. I honestly never expected Kate to do anything except make the heir and spare and look nice a couple times a year. Expecting and needing her to do charity work kind of reveals that no one believes the monarchy as such should remain… it must be “extra” to be relevant now.

      • Anance says:

        So true. When the monarchy breathed the life of the nation, its subjects did not expect constant charity work. A queen usually passed alms on set feast days. More important was attending court and participating in the annual progress. Everything – titles, patronages, estates – came from the Crown.

        Today nothing or very little comes from the Crown. Instead, the monarchy requires financial support from its subjects. So they need to appear to be doing something before the population gets into a different frame of mind.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      Hilary has always been right in her assessments. Father and son are mainly unappealing to the public right now. Prince Philip’s death did not bring the out pouring of grief the BM and the RF expected despite the many tributes and spins. I was slightly surprised at the fact that people even complained to the BBC at the amount of coverage. Their days are numbered and they know it.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Not one single lie

    • Madelaine says:

      Her depiction of Catherine is vitriolic, frighteningly insightful and lucid. And I almost had a panic attack reading her say the monarchy won’t outlast William. The sentence resonates very deeply in me since I recall hearing a psychic friend of mine saying out of the blue, in the early 2000s, “William will be England’s very last monarch.” We were used to that friend randomly interrupting conversations to share her uncontrollable stream of intuitive flashes with us on whatever subject. Back then, William had a head full of hair and the monarchy was invincible. I could even condescend to marry him if no one else topped his offer. So I remember silently resenting her for the bad omen.

      • Sid says:

        Madelaine, many years ago there was some article or another where a person did a palm analysis on William using a photo of him where he was waving at an event. A number of people in the comment section who were into palmistry brought up that the person hired for the article seemed to be avoiding talking about a certain line on his hand which indicated that a significant aspect of his adult life wouldn’t last as long as expected. I remember thinking that maybe he’d do something to get himself booted off the throne. One wonders…

      • Madelaine says:

        @Sid: Lord! Fascinating. If he’s aware of this but chooses to disregard it for his mental sanity, that would account for his constant insecurities and jealousy. William was born in the postmodern era and raised by a non conformist mother: his subconscious mind must know that his subsidized parasitical lifestyle is doomed. I can easily imagine a progressive lobby demanding Parliament examine the constitutional relevance and abolition of the monarchy or else, a strong coalition of the Commonwealth countries unilaterally seceding out of their postcolonial subservience.

        If the palm reading is right, William might not live to be his grandma’s age and still be a king. The Brits have been bold enough to Brexit. Now wait until they brutally decide to Rexit…

  2. Snazzy says:

    I love the Wolf Hall series – an absolute oeuvre. It’ll really be interesting to see if the monarchy lasts beyond Charles – as a citizen of the commonwealth, I hope it does not.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Unless Chuck names a new heir it won’t – William hates his role/the institution and he will burn it to the ground. The question is will the gov and courtiers stop him – they surely can see the writing on the wall with William, it will be interesting to see how the deal with him the closer he gets to the throne.

      • Lizzie says:

        They will probably start pushing George, the fffk.

      • Allyn says:

        Being the heir is automatic. Being named Prince of Wales is not. William will inherit the throne whether or not he’s invested with the title Prince of Wales.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        @Allyn – I know that the line of succession is set in British law but it can be changed by an Act of Attainder (and subsequently approved by the rest of the Commonwealth). Its a long and very political process but can be done – see Duke of Windsor. All the gov and courtiers need to do is throw Cain to the wolves, allowing the press to print all the dirt they have on him and he is toast. If its ever released to the public that he is unfit to be King he won’t be and I think thats what the press of him and the RF. They have proof William is both unfit and should never be King.

      • Mac says:

        William is no more nor no less fit than anyone else in the anyone else in the bunch. Charles isn’t going to change the line of succession.

      • notasugarhere says:

        It can be changed, Digital Unicorn, even skipping more than one heir. Many were advocating for skipping Duke of York and his two daughters, and going with the Duke of Gloucester.

  3. Brit says:

    I think they know that too, which is why they’re obsessed with getting Harry back because they need the younger generation on their side. They should’ve thought about that before allowing jealousy, racism and people who don’t want to face bad press, get in the way. I don’t think the Cambridge’s or their children will be enough.

    • Cecilia says:

      The current problems facing the house of Windsor won’t be solved by just getting harry back. I know many don’t want to admit this but they need meghan.

      • JT says:

        The absolutely need Meghan as well. Keen Guevara ain’t cutting it. She brought so much glamour and fresh ideas to the institution, which is why they are all copying her now. H&M together were a huge asset, but they royals are so bad at strategy and long term thinking.

      • Brit says:

        Oh absolutely they need Meghan but they tortured and abused her to the point of no return. They can’t take that back but they’ll try through Harry and they know she’ll support him and follow him back if he wanted to return. Harry is the one they’re focusing on right now because he’s the actual blood Royal.

      • Cecilia says:

        @brit. I really cannot see harry ever returning to the royal fold even if there is a reconciliation. But if thats what they want, an sincere apology to meghan is the only way that might give them a chance of him coming back. That, and telling the tabloids to lay it off. And the windsors have shown to be completely unwilling to do that.

      • bamaborn says:

        I think what people are saying with the why they are “so desperate to have Harry back” is that maybe the inevitable would be pushed back awhile for them. Totally agree, they know once Betty is gone they will be in a precarious situation.

      • Moonie says:

        Cecilia, you’re right: but it’s NEVER going to happen. H&M are GONE. The only thing that will bring them back is if Harry needs to take the throne. Ohhhh, the joy of watching Meghan become Queen of England!!! hahahahaa :) ))

      • Rnot says:

        The only thing that might have a chance of resetting relations with the public and within the family is if William died while George was underage. That might be enough to buy public sympathy and compel Harry and Meghan to return to royal duties. Charles is elderly and the next eligible regent for George after Harry would be Andrew. That would force parliament to start mucking with the rules which is the absolute last thing the family wants.

      • Mina_Esq says:

        I love them, but I dont think H & M could have saved the monarchy. The institution has simply run its course. Canadians love H &M but there was outrage even in Canada when it was suggested that Canadian taxpayers may have to pay for their protection. I remember Justin had to come on TV and assure everyone that taxpayers won’t be picking up the tab. And that’s Canadians. Im sure young people in Britain have even stronger views re: continuing to fund this dog and pony show.

      • CoffeeNYC says:

        No. No. They don’t need Meghan nor Harry!!! They are perfectly fine where they are! That monarchy has been corrupted for centuries into the modern days protecting pedo, accepting jewelries from killers and god knows what!! These conversations of how the UK needs Harry and Meghan are irritating me big time. It isn’t Harry and Meghan job to save this corrupted place by being front pages and covering for these people! I am glad they are outside and growing together as a team. I think over time we should stop giving them attention and just let the media to rotten alone with their stupidities.

      • Sigmund says:

        They definitely need Meghan, but would never admit it. I think racism is entrenched into the Royal family, even if the younger generations don’t see it or want to admit it. They’d rather let the monarchy burn than admit they need a black woman.

  4. JT says:

    They just don’t have the star power and charisma to maintain it, not to mention the work ethic. They just aren’t interesting enough in this day and age, especially when all they have are the Maga7. It’s 2021 and the people expect more than waving with all of the money that they get, or they should. Having the projects like the Prince’s Trust supplemented with bread and butter events is smart, but W&K are too lazy for the B&Bs and cannot execute the large projects. Sofiesta and Edward are nonentities, so how will they remain relevant?

    • Woke says:

      That’s what I’ve been saying. William needs a project the size of the prince’s trust or Invictus games making a real change in people’s lives to cement the apparent popularity they think he has

      • Courtney B says:

        He probably thinks Earthshot is it but he has no concept of actually putting in work as opposed to just announcing it. The Duke of Edinburgh, prince Charles and Harry all are, or were, deeply involved with their respective foundations. And the work showed in obvious results.

      • JT says:

        Even with just the Invictus Games, Harry is set in regards to his legacy. I just don’t see it with Eartshot. The press around it is practically non existent and I just don’t see any passion in William for it to be successful. For earth day all he did was sign a letter. Really? And he already gave himself an out by saying “he hopes to be apart of it for years to come”. You only hope to? If it’s successful, I’ll eat my hat, but I’m not counting on it. He just has no discernible dedication to it.

      • Deputy Dot says:

        William is already too late. Charles started the Princes Trust in 1976 when he was 28. Harry co-founded Sentebale in 2006 and the first Invictus Games were held in 2014.

        That’s a hell of a lot of catching up to do if he and CEO Kate are going to have any impact, but they’re far too lazy to put in the effort and would rather claim credit for what others have done.

      • TabithaD says:

        Even Diana is still remembered for some of her high profile causes (e.g. the work she did in relation to AIDS, landlines etc.), and she was younger than William is now when she died.
        If he was interested in anything or felt passionate about some issue, he’d have done something about it by now. With his platform, he could do so much. But no – he’s just done a tiny bit of stuff about racism in football (so he can hang out with footballers, I guess), that Heads Together thing which didn’t amount to much (and Harry was the one who actually showed up to things), and Earthshot, which seems to be a prize for stuff other people are doing. It’s not much of a legacy.

      • swirlmamad says:

        This is exactly the problem. The saying “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has applied to no one more than William. As others said, both Charles and Harry accomplished so much in their 20s. Will is pushing 40 and can’t be bothered to get off his lazy royal a*s to do anything that will make much of a difference. There’s no way he’s suddenly getting inspired to start working now.

      • Harper says:

        It is too late for William. Everything about him is performative, except for his anger, which is the one true thing they report on him. The original publicity for Earthshot from KP was all about making the winners famous and giving out awards at a series of ceremonies all over the globe attended by celebrities blah, blah, blah. It had zero gravitas and was all about self-promotion. Even so, William had a clause in the release saying he hoped to remain involved. He doesn’t have the self-discipline to commit, which is what Harry & Charles did with Invictus and the Prince’s Trust.

        I love how Mantel nails the family by calling them “self-punishing.” It’s a perfect description for the pickle William now finds himself in–stuck in a role he’s not good at, in bed with the tabloids to protect his image, and without the friendship and help of his brother. None of this was inevitable; all of it was brought about by Will’s unbridled jealousy toward Harry & Meghan, which hurt them so deeply but in the end, also really screwed over Will’s own interests. Will never wanted to work hard and now he’s got a fuller plate than he would have if he had left Meghan and Harry alone to do their thing. So self-punishing, thy name is William.

    • MyJobIsToPrincess says:

      Will is just going to wait for his father to pass over this Prince’s trust and his work on organic food and stuff coming from the familie’s lands. If not, he’d be doing his own work + the ones that he will inherit! That’s toooooooo much!

      • TabithaD says:

        I think William’s already said he has no interest in taking over the Prince’s Trust. I’m sure there was something in the press a while back about that.
        He really is an idle so-and-so.

      • equality says:

        One of Charles’ former aides and Princess Margaret’s son are supposed to take over the Princes Foundation. William is already trying to take credit for Charles work in organic food and in improving the power sources for royal properties. In his documentary he went on about it.

    • Dilettante says:


  5. Esme says:

    “Apres moi le deluge” applied to Luis XV and it will apply to QEII. We don’t need a Booker prize or two to see that the end of an era approaches.

    • AnneSurely says:

      I do really think that the country will turn the page when the Queen dies. Charles does not have any of the goodwill that his mother has bc he was so clearly unwilling to sacrifice anything in his life. Whether it’s a PR smokescreen or not, the Queen is synonymous with duty, for over 70 years. Charles is a whiny playboy who needed to marry a homely boozehound in order to feel like a big man despite being the future king. And that is his public legacy.

      • notasugarhere says:

        I get it, you don’t like Camilla. That stated, Charles’s legacy will be The Prince’s Trust, Drumfries House, and the decades of positive work he did with the Duchy of Cornwall. As much as you may hate it, Diana is barely an afterthought for the majority of people.

    • Tessa says:

      Diana is no afterthought. IMO. It’s amazing how the social media go on and on about people “channeling” Diana, and it’s “bad” when Meghan “imitates” Diana and the Cambridge stans go on and on about how Kate is the “next Diana.” I think a lot of people think of Diana when they think of the royals.

      • notasugarhere says:

        But ultimately, she’s an afterthought. She is the late wife of a future king, the late mother of a potential future king. History, not the present or the future.

  6. MsIam says:

    I see no lies in what she said. Of course, this wouldn’t be well received in the land of the Windsor fairytale. But it looks like the walls are crumbling a tiny bit.

  7. Cecilia says:

    I think hilary mantel was very spot on. Honestly, i think if the queen was able to abdicate, she should have when the monarchy was at it most popular around 2012. People might not have liked charles but they would have gotten used to him and it would have been a way smoother transition then its going to be now when the queen passes.

    And i don’t think she’s criticizing the british public per se. she’s right when she said that nobody in modern day society expect a new mother to pose in front of the hospital with her newborn. The tabloids do expect that. I think it was more of a criticism on the tangled web the windsors have put themselves in with the tabloids. And how they made an absolute show of themselves while doing so

    • Christine says:

      I agree with you completely. They have done this to themselves, and they don’t even see it. It’s baffling, but this is why God didn’t pick me to be a monarch, or a royal in any form, or so they would have us believe.

  8. Millennial says:

    I can’t see how in 2021, the public will want to see a King’s coronation – to be fair, I’m not British, but it does feel fundamentally icky to have a King, particularly in a country that is a democracy, in the first place.

    • josephine says:

      Sadly, it seems like there is lots to be gained by appealing to racists, sexists, and nationalists – we saw it in the US, and it’s rampant (and working) in England as well. I think that’s why this group is chasing that audience. They are leaning in on the idea that Kate is the perfect (silent, meaningless, harmless) doormat, that William is the traditionalist. I think there is an audience for a coronation, for those who are hoping beyond hope to keep white, male privilege going for their advantage.

    • Cessily says:

      There government is know as “her Majesty’s the Queens government “ they have the “House of Lords” which is an entire section of government that is Aristocratic, they are not elected they are “born into it” or appointed. To abolish the Monarchy is to take power away from a lot of “aristocratic privilege” There is a reason they vilify anything or anyone who might upset that accident of birth.

      • Tina says:

        The House of Lords absolutely needs reform, but most members of it are not aristocratic. There are 789 Lords (which is one of the things that desperately needs to be reformed) and 92 of them are hereditary peers. Most are political appointees.

      • Cessily says:

        That is still a lot of ”non elected “ power, and to dismantle it will make brexit look like funday Sunday.

      • Tina says:

        It’s not as powerful a body as you might think. The real power is in the House of Commons and with the PM as leader of the governing party. The Lords can delay bills from the Commons but can’t stop them from passing into law (for the most part). The HoL can be reformed, Tony Blair did it. It’s just that this government has no interest in HoL reform.

      • notasugarhere says:

        The inheritance laws need to be reformed as well, which is why there are lawsuits in the European Court of Human Rights about them.

  9. Lauren says:

    She’s not wrong about any of it. Especially if you are looking at it from a historical point of view. It’s just those that have a lot to gain from the institution that refuse to see it or accept it.

  10. Sequinedheart says:

    She’s on the money. In the last few years, the public have been wondering why they keep paying for this giant expensive welfare family.
    Philip passing was definitely a shift.
    I am curious to see how quick it all changes in the near future.
    Harry has been smart about it….

  11. Sofia says:

    Well she’s not wrong. It’s going to be veeerrrrrry interesting to see what happens when HM dies. A lot of people do like and respect her but that like and respect doesn’t really transfer to the rest of the royals.

  12. Midge says:

    William is such a dud. #abolishthemonarchy

    • Brittany says:

      They’re all duds, propped up by conservative politicians and the leftover spoils of colonialism.

      It’s only white supremacism that would make anyone ever think otherwise.

    • MyJobIsToPrincess says:

      william is just that guy who was born with royal blood but without real talent or passion for anything. He can still make it big – Look at the kardashians – but he doesnt work hard enough for more more success.

    • Tessa says:

      He was never given any direction. He like CHarles was coddled and praised because he is also “direct heir.” In his twenties he lived the good life, going to nightclubs and on expensive vacation and took rather odd courses in Art History and Geography. He should have studied Politics, Law or History, considering… He should have been doing royal work and prepping for taking on the Prince’s Trust when he was in his twenties.

  13. EM says:

    Hilary Mantel told the truth. Both Charles and William are unpopular; I think when the Queen passes and as people who loved the Queen die off, the chances of the Royals being phased out are high. I don’t think the younger generations in the U.K. want to pay for that rubbish.

  14. Jezz says:

    I’d never heard of her, so thanks for introducing her to me! She’s such a beautiful wordsmith! Can’t wait to read her books! And everything she’s said about the monarchy is the 100% most accurate and insightful thing I’ve ever read!

    • Gail Hirst says:

      Ditto, 100%

    • Becks1 says:

      The Wolf Hall books are really good but as a warning there are lots of characters (she has a list in the front of the book to help, lol) and the style of writing is a bit different. The trilogy is basically the story of Thomas Cromwell and its told from his perspective. It’s not stream of consciousness but like I said its a bit different. There’s a rhythm to it and once you get into it the books flow.

      Wolf Hall is about Henry VIII’s attempts to get out of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, Bring up the Bodies is about his marriage to Anne Boleyn and how that ends, and Mirror and the Light covers his marriage to Jane Seymour and after.

      • Lise says:

        I love her Wolf Hall trilogy. She has a poetic turn of phrase that I adore. Although it is not as technically brilliant as Wolf Hall, her French Revolution novel, A Place of Greater Safety is great too. I especially love her depiction of Camille Desmoulins; he’s witty, romantic, hedonistic, and savage – exactly as you would imagine.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        I haven’t read the books but LOVED the serial – Mark Rylance IS Thomas Cromwell. Didn’t the serial cover the first 2 books? Would love them to do another based on this new book.

      • iconoclast59 says:

        After a deep dive into the lives of women such as Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Camille Desmoulins, it stands to reason that Hilary Mantel would find Katie Keen wanting!

      • Christine says:

        I like to think of her as the Diana Gabaldon of English history. VERY wordy, but I love the words.

    • Concern Fae says:

      Her books are so good! They made Wolf Hall into a very good BBC TV series as well, with Damian Lewis as Henry VIII, Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn, and Mark Rylance as Cromwell. It was on Amazon Prime, don’t know if it still is.

    • Meghan says:

      @Jezz- I am about halfway through Wolf Hall and at first it was a challenge. Especially because there will be 3 or 4 men and “he” will say something and you are like “which he is it?!”

      I can’t stop reading it though! I got in on Kindle via my library but I know I won’t finish it in time so I checked out the hard copy as well.

      • Becks1 says:

        Tip – if you can’t immediately identify “he,” then it’s probably cromwell. If the sentence is something like “henry said that he would put the book down” then its obviously henry, but if its just “he went back to his house that night. he was tired.” Then it’s Cromwell.

      • So_LacVert says:

        It was the same for me! The book is so good but the “he” pronoun drove me nuts. That being said, I did get into the flow by the end of the book and I barely noticed it in books 2 and 3. She is a brilliant writer. Quirky but brilliant.

  15. Becks1 says:

    She wasn’t wrong in 2013 and she’s not wrong now. When you look at pictures of the Queen at the funeral – do we need to see that? Do we need to witness this woman at the funeral for her husband of 70+ years? I didn’t watch the actual funeral because honestly it felt a little voyeuristic to me. Anyway I understand that people want to see the Queen and that is part of her role, and that people wanted to pay respects to Philip, but I think there’s a line somewhere. Did we need to see Kate on the steps within a day (or hours) of giving birth each time? I don’t think so. I mean It’s not like that’s some longstanding royal tradition, the Queen obviously didn’t do that, I don’t think Anne did it with Peter or Zara who were the first grandchildren, etc.

    Now as for the monarchy not outlasting William – time will tell. But as I’ve said on here before, I think we will see major changes over the funding etc related to the monarchy.

    Finally I’m reading the Mirror and the Light now and it’s of course excellent. I did laugh when Camilla chose it as the first book for her book club on instagram. I couldn’t decide whether she was being shady towards Kate or understood that what Mantel was saying was less a dig at Kate as it was a dig at the Firm overall and the press, or she just liked the book and didnt give a fig what Mantel had said in 2013 (the most likely scenario.)

    • Courtney B says:

      Anne did, sort of with Peter and with Zara. She was the first royal not to give birth at home. But it really became a thing with Diana. The queen had shots in bed holding at least Andrew or Edward but all her children were born at home.

    • Nic919 says:

      Mantel was 100% right about her description of Kate and continues to be proven right every day. I also recall when David Cameron the PM at the time , stepped in to criticize Mantel for her comments, which weren’t a specific attack on Kate as much as the vacuous role of a spouse in the family.

      • notasugarhere says:

        If you read the speech Mantel wrote in 2013, you’re right. You see she wasn’t attacking Kate; she was being sympathetic towards royals. It was about Royal Bodies and the public’s weird desire to see these animals in the zoo. Tabloids took quotes from it and framed it as an attack on Kate, but the overall speech wasn’t anti-Kate.

        It is only seen as anti-Kate when you reach the real life conclusion – Kate really is a cardboard cutout.

      • Myra says:

        Not just as a vacuous role but what they had done to her. They had stripped her of any personality and replaced it with this bland plastic version. All the royal ecosystem was basically just ‘look how beautiful she is’, ‘Kate dazzles in new coat dress’, ‘how to get Kate’s glossy hair’. No real substance – nothing was ever said about the charities itself. Then, Meghan came in and it became glaring how much of a farce royalty is. The Meghan smear campaign swiftly started before any Kate/Meghan comparison took hold in public sphere. Because in a fair comparison, it’s not Meghan who actually suffers.

      • notasugarhere says:

        ‘They’? Kate chooses to be the way she is, which is vapid, vain, lazy, abusive, unprofessional, and racist. All in the search for position, title, and PR. ‘They’ didn’t do anything to her.

    • Eurydice says:

      I think she’s right about almost everything. The only thing I might disagree with is about the Queen attending Prince Phillip’s funeral. We don’t need to see a 94-year old lady grieving for her husband, but she might have needed it. I think the pomp and super-structured ceremony might be soothing to someone who has spent her whole life in super-structured ceremony.

      When my father died, we had a military funeral – the military came in and planned the whole thing, they brought the color guard, the gun salute, the pall bearers, representatives from nearby military bases – we didn’t have to think about the plans, they worked us through the whole timeline. It was a relief to have a structure to fall back on.

      • Becks1 says:

        Oh I absolutely think the Queen should have attended the funeral and I think it was probably comforting for her in many ways, but I’m not sure we, the public, needed to see it, you know? I can understand why it was aired live and why people watched it, but for me personally, it felt a little too….I dont know, intimate? To watch. Maybe because it was so scaled down, if it was a larger event I don’t think it would have had that same feel.

      • Christine says:

        That is such a good point, Eurydice. My entire family felt better at my Grandpa’s funeral, when they were folding the flag and presenting it to my Grandma. He died in 1996, and was only active during WWII. My Mom and Uncle were born during his service, literally no one there remembered my Grandpa serving, except for my Grandma, but we all found it easier to breathe, while they were paying respects to a man we all loved, but none of us remembered serving. Structure has its purpose.

  16. TabithaD says:

    She’s not wrong. I do think the BRF are in trouble. I think they know it too, which is why we’re seeing such ludicrous stories being pushed by (presumably) KP, Clarence House, Chez Middleton, etc.
    Trouble is, they haven’t a clue what they’re doing and it all looks a bit desperate.
    I think William is the one who will really struggle to justify his existence as a Royal. He and his vacuous wife are dull and unglamorous, and he has so little to show for his nearly 40 years. Where is his Prince’s Trust, Invictus, Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, etc.? What are his “causes”, what is he interested in? (And don’t say that Earthshot thing, I don’t think anyone has a clue what it actually does). All this will become a lot more important once TQ is gone.

    • Chaine says:

      Idk, elephant conservation? That’s the only thing that comes to mind when I try to think of his supposed causes.

      • swirlmamad says:

        And the kicker is that when it comes to elephant conservation, what most readily comes to mind is Harry and Meghan on their African trip (the one where they first spent time alone and fell in love, with that photo of them tagging the elephant). Definitely not William, at least not for me.

      • TabithaD says:

        For some reason, I completely missed that William had anything to do with an elephant charity. I was aware of Camilla’s late brother’s work with elephants though.
        Just think of what he *could* do with his platform though, if he could be bothered.

      • notasugarhere says:

        He doesn’t have anything to do with elephant conservation, but sometimes shows up for Jecca’s fav charity in order to see Jecca. He ranted about ivory, stated he would destroy all the ivory in the Royal Collection. It had to be publicly explained to him that he doesn’t, and will never, personally own the Royal Collection. He also chose to go on a PR stunt visit to an elephant ‘sanctuary’, after being warned in the news that it was a front for elephant abuse.

  17. Margaret says:

    I’m ashamed to say I have never heard of Hilary Mantel before now, but she is my new favourite person! I totally agree with what she says in these quoted pieces, and I applaud her for saying it.

  18. Woke says:

    The only thing Charles can offer as a king is reducing the cost of the monarchy. His whole thing of slimed down monarchy won’t cut it if the cost are the same. For his international image he needs Harry and Meghan.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Such an important point. If they continue to cost 400-600 million a year, with costs hidden in security, local police, and Foreign Office budgets? No improvement. Now they’re trying to get 80 million to restore one side of Clarence House. One side?!

    • Snuffles says:

      That’s what I see happening. If Charles had any sense. Not just slimming down the number of people but the amount of money they take from taxpayers. Also, narrowing their scope. I think there is nothing they can do about loosing the bulk of the Commonwealth. In the end, I think they’ll stick around but it will only be for the UK, for the nostalgic die hard who can’t let go.

      • notasugarhere says:

        He tried it briefly at one point, floating the idea that if the govt would hand over ownership of Crown Estate and both Duchies, the Windsors wouldn’t cost them anything with the Sovereign Grant. Thankfully, not all politicians are idiots, so they shot down that handover of billions in taxpayer properties into private Windsor hands.

  19. Emily_C says:

    She’s right, and it’s good. Monarchy’s a terrible thing. They have way less power nowadays, thankfully, but there’s no reason for them.

  20. TheOriginalMia says:

    Where’s the lie? Kate is a mannequin. The Royals are beholden to the tabloids. The Queen should abdicate, but she won’t. Charles will probably be the last British monarch. William will most definitely be the last. He’s too lazy and stupid to see what’s coming. If he were smarter, he’d be doing more to justify his cushy lifestyle but he isn’t.

  21. Courtney B says:

    She was paraded out as a young woman at her father’s funeral as well. Maybe it’s different for consorts as opposed to a monarch, but the women in the family used to be left alone much more with a death. I suppose tv changed a lot of it. But there used to be a closed carriage ride and then still photographers in the church.

  22. Emile says:

    “What I like about Mantel’s comments is that she really does know a lot about royal history, and her observations on modern royalty are usually couched in that historical perspective.”

    When I first heard the term “royal expert” I thought this is what they all do… only to later find out that “royal experts” are really just petty gossips and palace mouthpieces.

  23. Izzy says:

    No lies detected in what this woman says. Also, did anyone else see that clip of Stacey Solomon on TV questioning the point of even having a royal family? These other two biddies were all “I adore the queen” and she’s like “what for?” And when their answer was “oh but they work so hard” Stacey answered that she would work really hard too if the entire country paid her that much. She said they’re basically just celebrities. I was DYING.

  24. lanne says:

    I think a lot of the popularity of the Queen was that she was forced to take the role before she was ready. She was a young mother, and she should have had at least 2 decades to live as a mother and a wife before taking on the job. So the Uk had this young, pretty Queen with a young family–they were refreshing, and suggested renewal and prosperity and the future. Then she’s around so long she becomes a comfortable and familiar as an old blanket, but no one’s minding the institution.

    An elderly queen, followed by an elderly king, and another elderly king does not speak toward the future. It’s not sexy, it doesn’t sell to a global audience. While “old folks” may be acceptable to the Vatican, it’s not what makes a modern monarchy. The British monarchy’s best hope, in my mind, was the Fab Four. Charles could be seen as a placeholder for the monarchy, but the real “action” would come from The Cambridges and the Sussexes. If they were smart, had talented comms teams, and weren’t racist, they could have positioned Kate and William as the “traditional” couple and Harry and Meghan as the “forward-thinking” couple. harry and Meghan could have been deployed to do the global diplomacy that, quite frankly, the Cambridges are neither suited for or even seem to want to do in the first place. Meghan and Harry could give the speeches and go to the global events while Kate/William held the reins in the UK. There would still be global things for the Cambridges to do, and British things for the Sussexes to do, but each couple could have been used by a competent team to support the institution of monarchy in the UK. Just by having Kate and Meghan team up (remember how compelling the Diana speech tapes were. Imagine if a set of videos were released with Meghan helping Kate with public speaking, and Kate helping Meghan with “curtsey lessons” or whatever. The global population would have eaten.that.shit.up.) We all love “behind the scenes” views of public figures, and the glitter-covered turd royal advisors don’t realize that people want authenticity, or at least carefully curated images that suggest authenticity, not surface images anymore. Kate/Meghan alliance could have blunted the tabloids’ misogyny in very specific ways. Blunted–not eliminated. Kate and kids cooking from the Together book, Kate wearing Smartworks, pictures of Meghan and Harry and Archie taken by Kate, maybe Meghan and Kate cooking together, or visiting a women’s charity together. This is easy, easy stuff that could have bought the royals another two generations.

    Are the royals living on borrowed time? Likely. But it’s going to be hard to justify the expense of royal tours after the Queen, especially with countries openly saying they don’t want to pay for them (aka Australia). It’s going to be hard to justify an expensive coronation with an unpopular King, and another one 10-15 years later. Elizabeth’s coronation was fortuitious because it coordinated with the rise of television–people in the UK even bought televisions to watch it. How well do coronations sit in the days of social media? People will be begrudging every cent spent on any coronation during Brexit, and with even the UK itself seeming unstable. An expensive coronation could even be a drumbeat that Scottish and Northern Irish independence movements could capitalize on. My guess is the last big expensive event of the royal family will be the Queen’s funeral.

    Will-di Amin and Charles both differ from their mother/grandmother in more than just age. The “drama” of the Queen was the fact that she stepped into a role that she wasn’t yet prepared for and “did her duty.” That’s a great story that sold around the world. What’s Charles’ story? It COULD have been that he rose above the story of his bad first marriage and his mistakes to be a great Prince of Wales, and that he supported his son and daughter-in-law , showing he was a better parent than he had been a husband. That story would have played out for him even with the Crown bringing up the past. But Crown + failure to support son isn’t going to win him any fans. And William? What’s his story? “Being King is my destiny?” Which translates to “I feel entitled to be King.” Well, what does he have to show for it?

    None of the Windsors seem to have the power of afterthought. I don’t think either Charles, nor William, has thought one moment beyond getting a crown placed on their heads. I don’t think either has given any thought to what kind of King they want to be. Just “I want to be King” like young Simba. Just like I don’t think Kate or her mother thought one moment past the wedding. Therefore, they make the same mistakes over and over again.

    • Gina says:

      @lanne Brilliant as usual. You’re right, RF missed endless opportunities of very good PR. The problem is Charles and Unables think they are enough.

    • Izzy says:

      Holy crap, Lanne, they should seriously hire you to run their PR and comms because those were some genius ideas.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      I wish I lived in that alternative universe, @lanne. You have some great ideas

    • Coco says:

      I enjoy making fun of William as much as anyone, and there have been some very clever nicknames given to him. But I’m not comfortable with ones like Will-di Amin here or Kim Jong Will as I’ve seen. William sucks, but so far he hasn’t committed crimes against humanity.

      • lanne says:

        Will-di Amin comes from the Sunday Times cover story of William decked out in a ridiculous miltary uniform festooned with medals and ribbons. Several people said he looked like a dictator, and then some of us got going on the joke with Kim Jong Will, Will Jong Un, and Will-di Amin. the Last King of Scotland. No one is saying the guy is commiting crimes against humanity–it’s just humorous puns based on ridiculous imagery. Then the Sunday Times followed up with Kate decked out as Che Guevara, which of course lead to K Guevara and Keen Guevara. We’re making fun of the embiggening imagery put out by the tabloid media, not equating the Cambridges to dictators. The fact that the tabloids used Dictator Chic and Revolutionary Chic to raise the profile of the Cambridges is utterly ridiculous and wildly inappropriate. They created the connections, and we’re having some fun at their expense.

    • Greywacke says:


      • Dilettante says:

        Si- Brava! 👏👏👏

      • Coco says:

        A-Will-a the Hun and Genghis Keen – comparisons to tyrants without living victims, and that I was able to come up with in less than a minute.

    • Babz says:

      @lanne – I think you need to fire that reply off to the various PR teams! That was well thought out and brilliantly stated. The new PR crisis managers could do a lot with your ideas. Well done!

      • Alexandria says:

        I know that’s a joke but please don’t. You don’t work for free. Sometimes when I read these specific suggestions, I’m like why are you helping them for free. Anyway carry on…

  25. Lizzie says:

    Kate designed by committee hits the nail on the head. Bland and inconsistent because nothing is authentic about her.

  26. GR says:

    Mantel is seriously smart. And Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel also has a good piece about Kate and the tradition of the “family values” monarchy.

  27. goofpuff says:

    She’s amazing lol I love this woman. I love how she approaches it from an historical outlook.

  28. Amy Bee says:

    She’s the most rational when it comes to the Royal Family. Here she’s saying what Harry said to Oprah. The Royal Family is trapped.

    • Dollycoa says:

      They are only trapped by their own desperation to cling to the money and status. They will do anything to keep the Monarchy alive. That is their one and only role. They do the charity stuff so that they can say ‘look how useful we are and all the charity work we do’. If they could go back in time and do nothing but sit around and be Royals they would. Celebs are charity patrons and do more than cut ribbons. They go on game shows, do sponsored walks, donate things to raffles as well as holding down jobs. There is no need for them. Mantel is right. The Queen is the only person probably outside the Middle East and Far East who believes in he Divine Right of Kings. Even her family are just there for the money and status.

  29. Dee says:

    Are there not enough celebrities to do ribbon cuttings and hand out awards in the UK? The royals are walking anachronisms, who should’ve been phased out long ago. Diana gave them an extra couple decades they didn’t deserve.

    • Robin says:

      Totally agree, Dee. I wonder at Carole Middleton’s reaction to all of this. What prestige is there to being the mother-in-law of the last king? I really do think she thought Kate would be the next Diana, in that she would be glamorous and glittering, albeit in a more compliant way. Now her daughter will be mapping out the end of her grandchildren’s royal inheritance. I hope it was worth all the effort, Carole.

      • The Recluse says:

        There is a cunning irony to that possible fate. Carole and Kate pushed so hard to get the prize and then the changing times may rob them of all the glory after all.
        I hope the kids get a good enough education to have decent professions, but considering their parental examples, they will live lives of entitlement on formerly royal wealth and property.

  30. Lizzie Bathory says:

    Every time Hilary Mantel speaks, a courtier loses his wings.

  31. RIN JENN JENN says:

    I do wonder what will happen once William ascends the throne. I get the sense that for years, William has used Harry as a way of deflecting the media and negative press. Once William is King, how will he be able to keep the press at bay? Instead of pushing back against unfavorable coverage (or just dealing with it), he seems to have just baited them with stories about H&M. Without them, or Charles, what happens next? How does he keep the media satisfied and flattering?

    • lanne says:

      That’s why Will-di Amin is likely shitting bricks right now. He’s got nothing. No work history, no glamour, no charisma. Just a couple of cute kids who won’t stay cute forever, a sentient Barbie doll of a wife, and a pocket full of barely hidden infidelities. He sold his soul to the tabloids, and like Dr. Faustus, it’s time to pay the beast. What does he have to feed the beast other than his own scandals? The Beast ALWAYS gets paid. “We hate Meghan” isn’t going to play for the tabloids forever. News is what no one knew yesterday, and no matter how many times the tabloids try to beat the “We hate Meghan” horse, that horse has been dead for over a year. With no new information about Meghan and Harry that they can monetize, the tabloids need another target. The easiest, most readily available target is Kate–misogyny is all about building up women to tear them down, and Kate would be a spectacular fall. Her shady family doesn’t help.

      Ironically, a Kate scandal could be the making of her. She would have to fight for her position, and that might make a human being out of her if she played it right. It might be the only way for her to break through that Royal Barbie image and define herself on her own terms.

      • Gina says:

        She is fighting already. Fighting dirty. This fight won’t make her human being because she fights in two familiar ways: by smearing and belittling others include her husband and her father in law, and by embiggening herself, using everyone even her kids.

      • Greywacke says:

        @lanne, you are on a roll today with excellent comments.

        I really like what you wrote about a scandal being the making of Kate. I would add that it would make her even if it doesn’t mean continuing her life as a royal celebrity. I wonder how ambitious she truly is considering how little she works on that aspect of her life. Kids on TikTok have far more influence than Kate does. Even the most superficial celebrities have to put in a ton of work. It isn’t just blowouts, botox and buttons. A lot of thought, strategy, and implementation goes into what famous people do…even if what they are doing is beyond stupid. In summation, I don’t think being a celebrity matters to her. Being married to the future top royal CEO does, and all her actions reflect that including putting up with barely concealed infidelities. If her marriage collapses, she will be a minor celebrity at best, which may be a great thing for her. She can finally eat after decades of starving herself.

        I know that Kate threw Meghan under the bus regarding the crying story, but did she have any choice in the matter? Would factually correcting it have incandescently enraged Will? Kate is in as toxic a marriage as Diana was in with Charles. They view their wives only as extensions of themselves as princes and future monarchs. Will isn’t protecting Kate for her sake, but because he cares about his own popularity. She can’t make a wrong step, without him thinking it reflects poorly on him. Ultimately, another reason to not truly pursue celebrity status. Everyone makes mistakes, and celebrities do it in public. She’s got so many reasons to operate out of fear rather than fearlessness. I think Meghan understands that, and that is why she was so kind about Kate in the Oprah interview.

        Will and Charles think being popular with “the people” should naturally occur because of birth order from a magical vagina. And they ain’t entirely wrong to expect it. Queen Liz was never a natural star, and she yet is adored for reasons you explained upthread. That has never happened for them and it never will. They don’t fit the zeitgeist. It must anger and frustrate them because they are supposed to sustain the monarchy. That is their entire purpose in life. Harry is right. They are trapped. They would have been much better versions of themselves had they been born commoners.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Kate chose this relationship, lanne. Pursued it with all she was worth for a decade. She is no victim. She knows exactly what she married and she chose it. Because she wants this position, and with her own bullying and anger issues, she knows how to deal with William.

        Meghan also chose to make it clear later in that interview that KATE is the one choosing to keep the lie spinning. She may have thrown her a bone with that ‘good person’ comment, but she also made it clear Kate is responsible for what Kate chooses to do. And that the Wimbledon appearance was not as it was perceived. Likely scenario, Meghan was only allowed out to see her friend if she agreed to kiss Kate’s ass at Wimbleton. Because that’s what Kate wanted.

        Kate is no victim. Kate is a known bully, abuser, and likely racist.

        Kate and Carole get plenty of anti-William stories out there, they’re doing it now. They’re not under his control, they are not voiceless victims.

        Kate chooses to fight certain stories, she has the ability to get the facts out via her tacky mother. She and that tacky mother went after Meghan from day one, and actively spun the crying stories in Kate’s side for two years.

      • lanne says:

        Kates no victim, I agree. She has been as complicit in her husbands toxicity as Melania has been in trumps. Unlike Meghan, she has no powerful friends and no influence. She likely has no friends at all. If she had to stand up for herself, defend herself against the royals, we might see some true authenticity from her, likely for the first time. It might even kill the “I wanna be a pwetty pwincess” bullshit that some grown ass women still buy into. No woman in 2021 should model herself off of Kate—silent, infantilized, completely dependent, bound to toxicity. The message of the British royal family is currently that a woman has to destroy 90% of her spirit, deny her own intellect, put up with infidelity, starve herself to death to gain an empty title and some jewelry. Kate chose that. No one should glamorize that or call it aspirational.

      • Tessa says:

        Kate who supposedly “adores” Harry aided and abetted William in his bad treatment of Harry and his wife. Notably the FLybe stunt where they trotted out the children to show William was more “thrifty,” even though the plane was flown empty to call for the Cambridges, and had to make an extra stop.

      • EllenOlenska says:

        Or, if Kate died while younger than 50 that would give them a press narrative for a few years. Grieving widower, trying to find a new love…sadly I think that’s about the ONLY way Will manages to hang on and get George to being the king…

  32. Nina says:

    Love her books. She makes history interesting.

  33. Ihatestupidpeople says:

    Isn’t the RF a huge tourist draw for the UK? I mean, it brings in money right? I don’t think it’s ever going away. No one wants to be connected to it here in Canada but it’s too much trouble to get rid of it here. I can’t image what they would have to do over there to abolish it. Not going to happen IMO.

    • Beach Dreams says:

      Not really. Versailles gets far more tourists than Buckingham Palace (no RF needed to nab the tourists), and locally Chester Zoo, the Tower of London, and Westminster Abbey are all bigger/more popular attractions than the palaces. Considering the potential for visitors to increase with a fully open BP/KP, there’s really no good excuse for the BRF’s existence.

      • Kristin says:

        And honestly, won’t tourism of historical sites like Buckingham Palace still continue even without a royal family occupying the buildings? It’s not like any of those tourists actually get to meet the queen when they visit. So keep the buildings, and lose the freeloaders who live in them. Seriously, once the queen is gone is anyone really going to give a shit?

    • Emily_C says:

      Britain’s tourism industry would do far better without the RF. Buckingham Palace and a whole lot of other fancy places would be able to be treated as museums. And a whole lot of art and jewelry could be put on display and returned to its rightful owners.

      Stonehenge doesn’t need the royals. Versailles doesn’t need royals, nor does the Taj Mahal. Old houses where famous people lived are huge tourist draws in the U.S. The royal family gives Britain nothing and takes a lot.

    • The Recluse says:

      Those palaces and castles would still bring in huge amounts of tourist dollars into Britain. Perhaps more so as they would be completely opened up as museums and people could explore what had been some sort of sacred private preserve all this time.

  34. TeeBee says:

    I just watched the series “The House of Windsor” on Netflix, for a lark really, because in general I don’t really care about or for the monarchy. I knew a bit of the most talked about stuff, but what I was most surprised about was that the last two monarchs, before Elizabeth, hated being King. Were so vocal and vitriolic about it. These men were born into and raised in very difficult times, with wars, major economic strife and lean hard times. They were men of generations that had to overcome extremely difficult and challenging social, economic and political turmoil, and that changes a person, even Elizabeth is a product of those times, making for much more stoic, hard-edged, purposeful people. And I bet she feels the same way about sitting on that throne, she seems able to keep it to herself.

    Cut to those in line after her. Charles, William… they are born of pure privilege and entitlement. There is little to no character-shaping, no challenging times to overcome, no experiences that would make them particularly empathetic, compassionate, humane, and yet purposeful and hardworking, to prepare them for ruling a country. And what a country? Polarized, angry, classist, racist, generally isolated and nationalistic. There is NO WAY any royal will be able to provide the leadership necessary, even if it seems largely ceremonial, to a country the likes of Britain. So I believe, tradition be damned. Every successor to the throne will flail and fail, further diminishing the power it tenuously holds, it will lose more and more faith and favour with Brits, until it is either dismantled, or becomes a skeletal version of its current existence. And rightfully so. This is a very different world, needing a different perspective, needing such strength and fortitude in any leadership role. The royal family has done NOTHING to recognize nor prepare their future kings and queens for the responsibility and difficulties ruling that house require. I think it used to happen naturally, but not anymore. It is descending into nothing more than a reality TV show, characters that demand recognition and attention purely for no other reason than it’s always been this way. I don’t know about you, but no amount of propaganda and tradition can sustain such an empty enterprise. Maybe not in my lifetime, but definitely the British Monarchy is going down.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      You’re making the mistake thinking that the Monarch is a leader. A constitutional monarchy is basically a very expensive national symbol and not much else. As long as it is seen as an integral part of British national identity it will endure. A monarch may do things that capture the national spirit of the moment during times of hardship – like Christian X of Denmark riding through Copenhagen every day during the German Occupation. It may seem an insignificant act but a lot of Danes saw it is a moment of quiet defiance in a nation that was in no shape to put up any effective resistance to the invasion. It totally rehabbed the King’s image (he was VERY unpopular before that because he meddled in politics in 1920 and almost got the monarchy abolished).

      The longevity of QE!! has made her familiar and “beloved” in the sense that she’s the monarch that most Brits have ever known (and her connection to WWII is important because that was the last time that the British RF did things that resonated with the public in a deep way).

      The British monarchy has always put too much emphasis on being remote as a part of the royal mystique (besides pomp and circumstance) – but this remoteness does them no favours in the present times. They should have taken the lessons of the Scandinavian monarchies who have been very good at balancing the pomp and circumstance of royal mystique with a certain approachability that is created through the media. I still think that the Danish RF is the best example of this – but it also hinges on royals who are personable and interesting people. And the Windsors are generally awful and deeply uncharismatic people. QMII can get away with stuff that Charles couldn’t because she’s intelligent, witty and charismatic. The Swedish king survives on the fact that his heir is extremely popular and good at her job because he is certainly not popular.

      The thing is, as a national symbol, you have to nurture that relation to the public. Queen Margrethe II is a master at this – years ago she did an interview where she reminisced about her experience of key historical moments, which was brilliant because the people watching were comparing their own experiences of the same historical moments and that created a shared commemorative space, which is a key part of national identity building. She’s good at sharing enough parts of herself that we feel we know her and in a way that comes across as authentic. The Windsors are incapable of this – because they are not that smart, they are uncharismatic and they are too entitled and too used to people tugging their forelocks in their presence. The Danish RF was slapped down HARD in 1920 and they learnt from that.

  35. candy says:

    It will be interesting to see how they weather the increasingly global equality movement. They really are the antithesis of equality. The French figured that out a long time ago.

    That said, England is different. They do seem to love their royals, and the whole power structure is behind them.

    • lanne says:

      A British friend once told me that the British see power as coming from the top down while Americans see power rising from the bottom up. In the US, our 1st 3 words of the constitution are We the People. Our motto is E pluribus Unum (even though we’re not doing too well with the Unum part these days). The UK has no fully written constitution, an unelected branch of government (House of Lords), and a government represented by a monarch. The UK national anthem is sung to a person (which blows my mind as an American–”Stand her victorious, happy and glorious, contented over us??”) Convention, not to mention sheer inertia, means that inequality will be difficult to overcome. British authority doesn’t even want to believe that structural inequality exists when their entire government and society was actually created around it.

  36. Coco says:

    I read “A Place of Greater Safety” when Mantel had won the Booker prize for “Wolf Hall” but it hadn’t been published in the US yet. I finished it, but found it almost impenetrable, so I’ve never gotten around to reading “Wolf Hall.” How do the two compare? Would it be a good idea to watch the series first then read the book?

  37. Robin says:

    I am beginning to think Charles played this quite astutely, sometimes by error as much as by design. Seen from his perspective, he negotiated the post-Diana years fairly well and got the wife he wanted without too much of the expected public outcry. He lives a very comfortable life. Over recent years he attracted little press attention. He and Camilla must feel burned (hopefully) by their extraordinarily poor handling of Harry, and have possibly come to the conclusion they’d like to pass the poisoned chalice to William. I don’t think the public would mind at all, and whilst that lack of interest would at one time have wounded Charles’ pride, he could well use it to his advantage and step back. Charles has done rather well out of not being king, after all.

    • lanne says:

      Nope. You’ll have to pry that scepter from his cold, dead fingers. The only thing Charles has ever wanted in his life is to be king. That he found something else to do with himself (princes trust) unlike his great great grandfather Edward the Fornicator doesn’t take away from his desire, no sense of entitlement to be king. Charles will be king even if it means destroying the monarchy and salting the earth. He will have what he believes he is due, so help him God. Charles will have his mug on the money if it’s the last thing he does.

      • Robin says:

        lanne. This is what I cherish about this site. Counter opinions really make me think – that’s why I often say “I stand to be corrected”.

        Until a few weeks ago I have been commenting that the crown will not jump to William, mainly because this is a longlived family, with Charles having spent years wanting to be king. I’ve spent a long time believing he is hell bent on being top of the pyramid, and of the view he’s got away with a lot of scheming, in particular emerging relatively unscathed from the wreckage of his behaviour towards Diana.

        The change in my previous opinion is only very recent. I think Charles looks physically done in and tired out. He also stepped back pretty much from the Oprah interview and let William and Kate face the press and slug it out (in their ridiculous “rage” fashion). My instinct is that this is largely pure cowardliness on Charles’ part, but I have found myself wondering whether he is just sick of it all and also whether Camilla is pushing for him to reconsider; I can’t think she’s ever been overly interested in being queen (of any kind). Perhaps he is orchestrating a coalition of sorts with William to downgrade his active role to a certain extent.

        However, I also used to think he was desperate to be king and keen to cut back the dead wood, primarily Andrew. Having read your thoughts, I’m thinking I should return to my longheld view and say he is still ambitious for the crown and figures he has the same constitution as his parents. Let’s face it, she carries on till near 100 despite being a pink clad fossil of a woman.

  38. Carabella says:

    I agree it’s too late for Bill and Cathy. Look at all Diana had accomplished by 36. Princess Anne had her Save the Children and Riding for the Disabled (as it was called then) charities and endless patronages, all while competing in top-level equestrian sports, including the Olympics. Charles was ahead of his time with organic farming, was a vocal architectural critic and created The Prince’s Trust by 40. Harry and Meghan also left them in the shade, obviously. I can’t see the monarchy continuing unless the British public is too apathetic to end it.

  39. Busyann says:

    Haha I’ve said this for years. It wont make it to see King George. Nope. No way.

  40. Lizzie says:

    There is something about the Queen that I will miss when she is gone. Is it glamour or simply such a rare title in the world today? Anyway. it is one of the most special things about the UK. Around the world, even in the US, where people might not know much about the UK they all know the Queen.
    But the heirs do not have her glamour. They have done nothing heroic or interesting. Instead they have lived their lives too much in view and their faults are laid bare on a daily basis. There is no mystery, brilliance nor glamour. Just ordinary people who are quite spoiled and sullen.

    • Emily_C says:

      We know of the queen. That doesn’t mean we like her.

      • Lady D says:

        You put into words what I was thinking. There was a time, but the RF treatment of Harry and Meghan ended it, hard. The words ‘the queen’ just leave a sour taste in the mouth these days. Go and take your jealous, raging heirs with you. And as a side note, can we please get your picture off our money? There are deserving Canadians we can honour.

  41. NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

    As morbid as it is to say this: My opinion is that the queen will not likely survive this decade (I mean…she’ll be 104 if she does) and she will take the monarchy with it. I think in the transition from Elizabeth to Charles there will be a lot of questions regarding the usefulness of the monarchy and the reticence to go through this whole ordeal again with a King who is a poor example of the Church of England with a son who has a known temper that will follow him. I just don’t see the interest or the patience in the UK for royal families unless there’s a willingness to get rid of the reigning from God’s will and fade into the background. Even if Charles is skipped in favor of William, I just don’t see how this can last without Baldy making a mess of everything.

  42. Tessa says:

    Other consorts had more substance to them than Kate does. Alexandra was very popular and interested in causes and charities. The Queen Mother was charismatic as consort and as Queen Mother, and Queen Mary had a lot of character. Kate is just about her clothes and hair IMO and does not seem to be interested in the causes. But then again, she’s married to William who does not seem interested in royal work.

  43. Nibbi says:

    I am ALWAYS HERE for Hilary Mantel’s commentary on anything. Years later I still get shivers from her expert wordsmithing in that article on the Duchess- she called it exactly as it is, and in high style.

    Her “Wolf Hall” books are fantastic and got me through the early pandemic. Her memoir is excellent too.