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Author criticizes Duchess of Cambridge; prime minister defends her

February 19, 2013|By Nardine Saad

The former Kate Middleton was criticized by author Hilary Mantel earlier this month, but the novelist's comments didn't deter the Duchess of Cambridge from making a second official public appearance since confirming her pregnancy.

Hitting a London Hope House event Tuesday, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore a patterned 2011 Max Mara wrap dress that vaguely concealed her growing belly, London's Telegraph reported. Her child with Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is due in July.

The 31-year-old Kate is a patron to Hope House's Action on Addiction program, which provides help to women recovering from substance abuse and other compulsive disorders. She was seen clasping her tiny baby bump in photos during the event. Her previous official appearance was at her official portrait unveiling in January.

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The most recent appearance comes on the heels of English novelist Hilary Mantel describing the duchess — in a speech at a Feb. 4 London Review of Books event at the British Museum — as "a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore" with a "plastic smile" who is "designed to breed," London's Daily Mail reported. The Booker Prize winner compared the duchess unfavorably to other royals, including Anne Boleyn and Princess Diana.

But British Prime Minister David Cameron and other supporters have come to Catherine's defense.

"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," Cameron told the BBC.

Nick Barton, the head of Action on Addiction, also had kind words to share about the duchess.

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"I speak of what I know — somebody who wants to help, is helpful and genuinely interested and is intelligent," he said. "I've met her several times, and I found her to be engaging, I found her very natural, I found her actually genuinely interested in the subject. You can tell a lot from people's questions, and she asks really good questions. They're not routine stuff; they're questions of someone who wants to learn. I find her very easy to deal with."

The London Review of Books said Mantel's comments were meant to criticize the media and its portrayal of the royal family.

Last month, paparazzo photographs of Princess Kate in a bikini surfaced from her baby-moon vacation with Prince William on the Caribbean Island of Mustique, something St. James's Palace said breached the couple's privacy. Her slight belly was visible in the shots.

Despite keeping a fairly low profile, royal aides said, the duchess will continue with her royal duties during her pregnancy.

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Follow Nardine on Twitter @NardineSaad and Google +. Follow Ministry of Gossip @LATcelebs.

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