Monica Ali, the author of Untold Story, a fictitous account of how Diana’s life might have played out had she not died in a car accident in 1997, has defended the timing of the novel’s release in the run up to the Royal Wedding.
The acclaimed author of Booker Prize-shortlisted Brick Lane insisted that the release date was coincidental.
Speaking to Sky News Ali said: “I delivered the first draft of the book last July and then when the engagement was announced in November my first thought was it seemed like insensitive timing but actually it has turned out to be stroke of good luck.”
“When William put that ring on Kate Middleton’s finger, it brought Diana back into our memories, as William full well knew it would.
Certain members of the establishment might prefer that Diana is quietly forgotten but I don’t have that feeling that her sons want her to never be mentioned again.”
However some pundits have slammed Ali for cashing in on the Royal Wedding.
Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter said: “It’s sensationalist. It’s somebody desperate for an idea for a book.”
“They’ve come up with this idea riding on the back of the Royal Wedding and want to generate sales. I am not sure the British public will go for it.”
The novel re-imagines Diana as Lydia, an English princess who fakes her own death, changes her identity and disappears into the obscurity of small town America.
Reviews so far for Untold Story have been mixed.
The Guardian said: “Unremittingly silly yet containing real pace, this is an ill-advised, debatably insensitive – indeed, almost unworkable – project, skilfully executed.”
The Express meanwhile was more damning.
“While I cannot imagine what possessed Ali, who thinks of herself as a serious novelist, to write this book in the first place…This isn’t just bad: it’s career-threateningly awful and while established authors (Martin Amis) can just about get away with a stinker without destroying their reputations, this is only Monica Ali’s third novel.”
Prince William will marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29.