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Charles 'enjoying' Wolf Hall series


Hilary Mantel is to be honoured at the investiture

Hilary Mantel is to be honoured at the investiture

Hilary Mantel is to be honoured at the investiture

The Prince of Wales has told Hilary Mantel he is a fan of the television adaptation of Wolf Hall, just days after a new book revealed that his household is nicknamed after the novel in reference to the "treacherous and opportunistic world" depicted by the writer.

Mantel, whose books about the life of Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell have been critical and commercial hits, was made a dame by Charles for her services to literature.

Success has come late to the 62-year-old, but she has more than made up for it by collecting a haul of literary honours, including twice winning the Man Booker Prize.

Excerpts from a book published last week revealed that Clarence House is allegedly so riddled with backstabbing and in-fighting that one former member of the household refers to it as Wolf Hall.

Charles: The Heart Of A King, by Time magazine journalist Catherine Mayer, paints a picture of a household torn apart by turf wars.

In the book, serialised in The Times, she writes: ''One former householder refers to Clarence House as Wolf Hall, in reference to the treacherous and opportunistic world depicted by Hilary Mantel in her fictionalised account of the rise of Thomas Cromwell under Henry VIII.''

Following today's investiture ceremony carried out by Charles at Buckingham Palace, Mantel said: "We talked about the television series of Wolf Hall, which he's enjoying very much."

When asked if she could imagine the Prince's household being similar to her novel, she laughed and said: "I couldn't possibly comment on that!

"I think there may be an element of exaggeration there."

Mantel caused a furore in February 2013 when she suggested the Duchess of Cambridge was a ''shop-window mannequin'' with no personality, whose only purpose was to breed.

During a lecture at the British Museum, she said Kate appeared to have been ''gloss-varnished'' with a perfect plastic smile, in contrast to Diana, Princess of Wales, whom she described as awkward and emotionally incontinent.

Asked if this led to a frosty meeting with Charles when she received her honour, she replied: "Not at all. I think that anyone who has dealings with the press is familiar with how this can happen.

"The full text of my lecture has always been available and unfortunately what happened was that a couple of sentences were taken completely out of context and all things turned on its head."

She went on: "Far from being a criticism, it was a plea to remember she's a human being as well as a royal person. It was extremely unfortunate that it was interpreted as a personal criticism."

Mantel, who lives in Budleigh Salterton on the Devon coast, enjoyed huge success with Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, which have also featured on stage. She is currently working on the final part of the trilogy.

"I haven't got a finishing date yet because I've been very busy with the theatre versions and novels are unpredictable anyway," she said.

"But it's going well and we're hoping in the course of time there might be a third play and maybe a TV series as well.

"I would certainly like to see if we could get people of the same calibre to work on it because, with both the theatre and TV, we have been very lucky to have such an excellent team of people who share my values about drama and history, and just the most wonderful acting talent."

The Derbyshire-born writer studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University before becoming a social worker.

Mantel lived for almost a decade in Botswana and Saudi Arabia before returning to Britain, and a writer's life, in the 1980s.

She has said her decision to be a writer was inspired by the end of her parents' marriage and personal illness.

In an interview with Mslexia, she said: ''In my 20s I was in constant pain from undiagnosed endometriosis. With no prospect of a cure, I decided I needed a career - writing - that could accommodate being ill.''

So Mantel gave up her job and started writing the book that 15 years later would become her 1992 work A Place Of Greater Safety.

That book, an epic but readable recreation of the personal and political lives of the leading lights of the French revolution, pointed the way for her later works on Thomas Cromwell.

Her novels steadily increased in popularity and critical acclaim and she was awarded the CBE in 2006.

Last year she published a short story imagining the assassination of Margaret Thatcher.

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