Last month she described the duchess as a “shop-window mannequin” whose only purpose was to breed but insisted  “I have absolutely nothing to apologise for”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves programme she said she had been describing a perception of Catherine that had been created in the media.

 “My lecture and the subsequent essay was actually supportive of the Royal Family and when I used those words about the Duchess of Cambridge, I was describing the perception of her which has been set up in the tabloid press. My speech ended with a plea to the press and to the media in general. I said ‘back off and don’t be brutes; don’t do to this young woman what you did to Diana. My whole theme was the way we maltreat royal persons, making them one superhuman, and yet less than human.”

Mantel said there was no lack of clarity in her essay, but that her words had been twisted to set her up. 

“I don’t believe for one moment that there was any lack of clarity, after all, I have been practising my trade for a number of years now,” she said. “It was a matter of taking the words completely out of context – twisting the context – and setting me up as a hate figure.

“I have absolutely no regrets. What I said was crystal clear.”

Mantel, who won the Costa Book of the Year Award for Bring Up The Bodies. added: “I do think that the Duchess of Cambridge is an intelligent young woman who, if she cares to read my essay, will see that I meant nothing but good to her.”

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