Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel says press took her essay out of context (Reuters)

Hilary Mantel has defended her essay about Kate Middleton that caused widespread controversy, saying all her comments were taken completely out of context.

The Booker Prize winner said her essay for the London Review of Books entitled Undressing Anne Boleyn was intended to show how the tabloid media depicts the Duchess of Cambridge.

Mantel gave her lecture at the British Museum in February and it was later published on the LRB website.

Speaking on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves programme, Mantel said she had nothing to apologise for.

"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," she said.

"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 at once superhuman, and yet less than human.

"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.

"It was deliberately misunderstood. I don't believe for a moment that there was any lack of clarity.

"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."

Following the essay, which described Kate as a "plastic" princess with "dead eyes" whose only purpose is to breed, Prime Minister David Cameron said Mantel was "misguided and wrong", while Labour leader Ed Miliband said her comments were "pretty offensive".

Defending her essay and the Duchess, the author 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."