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'She was just a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore.'
HILARY MANTEL, British author, describing Kate Middleton during a recent speech that sparked impassioned debate about the royals



I think she writes great books, but I think what she's said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong. What I've seen of Princess Kate at public events, at the Olympics and elsewhere is this is someone who's bright, who's engaging, who's a fantastic ambassador for Britain. We should be proud of that, rather than make these rather misguided remarks.

批判をする前に相手の良い点を挙げて敬意を示すというセオリーをキャメロン首相もI think she writes great books, but I think what she's said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong.と守っていますね。こういうところは意識してみにつけていきたいです。


London Review of Booksの講演会でRoyal Bodiesという題目でスピーチしたようで、全然別のトピックでぽろっと言ってしまったgaffe(失言)という類ではなく、確信犯的に批判をしているようでした。ただし、批判のほこ先はKateさん一人というのではなく、皇室のあり方、普通の国民の皇室への接し方というのに対して吟味をしようという真っ当な問いだったと思います。


Vol. 35 No. 4 • 21 February 2013
pages 3-7 | 5794 words
Royal Bodies
Hilary Mantel

Last summer at the festival in Hay-on-Wye, I was asked to name a famous person and choose a book to give them. I hate the leaden repetitiveness of these little quizzes: who would be the guests at your ideal dinner party, what book has changed your life, which fictional character do you most resemble? I had to come up with an answer, however, so I chose Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and I chose to give her a book published in 2006, by the cultural historian Caroline Weber; it’s called Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. It’s not that I think we’re heading for a revolution. 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. Once she gets over being sick, the press will find that she is radiant. They will find that this young woman’s life until now was nothing, her only point and purpose being to give birth.

別の個所でもShe appears precision-made, machine-madeのように手厳しくKateさんを批判しています。

Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character. She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture. Diana was capable of transforming herself from galumphing schoolgirl to ice queen, from wraith to Amazon. Kate seems capable of going from perfect bride to perfect mother, with no messy deviation. When her pregnancy became public she had been visiting her old school, and had picked up a hockey stick and run a few paces for the camera. BBC News devoted a discussion to whether a pregnant woman could safely put on a turn of speed while wearing high heels. It is sad to think that intelligent people could devote themselves to this topic with earnest furrowings of the brow, but that’s what discourse about royals comes to: a compulsion to comment, a discourse empty of content, mouthed rather than spoken. And in the same way one is compelled to look at them: to ask what they are made of, and is their substance the same as ours.

Kateさんを批判したいだけではなく皇室そのものを批判したいのだということは以下のところを読んでいただければ分かります。パンダと比較しながらexpensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environmentと容赦ないですね。

I used to think that the interesting issue was whether we should have a monarchy or not. But now I think that question is rather like, should we have pandas or not? Our current royal family doesn’t have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment. But aren’t they interesting? Aren’t they nice to look at? Some people find them endearing; some pity them for their precarious situation; everybody stares at them, and however airy the enclosure they inhabit, it’s still a cage.

ヒラリーマンテルのスピーチを聞くと以下の歴史家の方の意見が少なくとも真っ当なものだと思えました。Animal in the zooのように、マネキンや人形のようにKateさんを扱っているのは我々ではないか、メディアではないかと、女王や国王の配偶者(consort)の悲劇を扱っているのです。マンテルさんはKateさんを責めているのではないと歴史家の人も言っていますね。

下記が最後のパラグラフなんですが、Cheerful curiosity can easily become cruelty.とメディアやわれわれの熱狂の危うさも指摘していて、むしろKateさんに同情的なんですよね。

Is monarchy a suitable institution for a grown-up nation? I don’t know. I have described how my own sympathies were activated and my simple ideas altered. The debate is not high on our agenda. We are happy to allow monarchy to be an entertainment, in the same way that we license strip joints and lap-dancing clubs. Adulation can swing to persecution, within hours, within the same press report: this is what happened to Prince Harry recently. You can understand that anybody treated this way can be destabilised, and that Harry doesn’t know which he is, a person or a prince. Diana was spared, at least, the prospect of growing old under the flashbulbs, a crime for which the media would have made her suffer. It may be that the whole phenomenon of monarchy is irrational, but that doesn’t mean that when we look at it we should behave like spectators at Bedlam. Cheerful curiosity can easily become cruelty. It can easily become fatal. We don’t cut off the heads of royal ladies these days, but we do sacrifice them, and we did memorably drive one to destruction a scant generation ago. History makes fools of us, makes puppets of us, often enough. But it doesn’t have to repeat itself. In the current case, much lies within our control. I’m not asking for censorship. I’m not asking for pious humbug and smarmy reverence. I’m asking us to back off and not be brutes. Get your pink frilly frocks out, zhuzh up your platinum locks. We are all Barbara Cartland now. The pen is in our hands. A happy ending is ours to write.