Book Reviews

The Tudor Series – The Constant Princess (Philippa Gregory)

The Constant Princess is a historical novel by Philippa Gregory, published in 2005. The novel depicts a fictionalized version of the life of Catherine of Aragon.
“I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known…and I will be Queen of England.”Thus, bestselling author Philippa Gregory introduces one of her most unforgettable heroines: Katherine of Aragon. Known to history as the Queen who was pushed off her throne by Anne Boleyn, here is a Katherine the world has forgotten: the enchanting princess that all England loved. First married to Henry VIII’s older brother, Arthur, Katherine’s passion turns their arranged marriage into a love match; but when Arthur dies, the merciless English court and her ambitious parents — the crusading King and Queen of Spain — have to find a new role for the widow. Ultimately, it is Katherine herself who takes control of her own life by telling the most audacious lie in English history, leading her to the very pinnacle of power in England.
Set in the rich beauty of Moorish Spain and the glamour of the Tudor court, The Constant Princess presents a woman whose constancy helps her endure betrayal, poverty, and despair, until the inevitable moment when she steps into the role she has prepared for all her life: Henry VIII’s Queen, Regent, and commander of the English army in their greatest victory against Scotland.

Jules’ Review – Compelling Drama about the Waiting Game

Book cover
Rating: 4/5
ISBN: 9780007190317
ISBN-10: 000719031X
Audience: General 
Format: Paperback 
Language: English 
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: May 2006
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.3  x 3.2 
Weight (kg): 0.36 
I loved this book. I honestly could not put it down after I started reading it.
It’s the story of the young princess Infanta Catalina of Spain born to parents who are both rulers and warriors.

Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land. Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse.
Being the child of her warrior mother, she is decided to fulfill her mission to create a strong alliance between England and Spain.
She is married to the throne heir, prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and learns to love her husband in the only 4 months they are together.
When the studious young man dies  in Wales, taken down by fever, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use.

Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is strong. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it. Bound by a promise made to the dying husband, she tells the world that the marriage has not been consumated since the price was impotent and that she was still a virgin.
Henry VII is feeling that the young princess would make a good bride for him and proposes to her just to be refused due to the age difference.
Waiting is now the game to see who will fold back first and the power struggle begins again as Spain wishes her either returned in the country where she could be married to a duke or married to the next prince in line, Henry (VIII).
She is bethroted to Henry VIII who is 6 years younger and is not allowed to see him. She waits for 7 years until the old king dies and the new king comes to collect his bride.
She keeps on strong with her claim of virginity but the seed of doubt is planted and the new king starts fancying new skirts around the castle when the new queen is pregnant.
She has a mis-carriage and eventually finds out about the Boleyn girls who are looking for her spot next to the king not as mistresses but as queens. Her strong will brings her husband back and also secures her position on the throne for the next 20 years when she is called to judgment on her original lie.
Very good book indeed. The young queen is a strong person, never faltering, never giving up, even when all odds are against them.
Philippa Gregory proves yet again that behind the apparently familiar face of history lies an astonishing story: of women warriors influencing the future of Europe, of revered heroes making deep mistakes, and of an untold love story which changes the fate of a nation.
Favourite scene: the description of Alhambra (I hope I spelt it right), the cunningness when battling the scots.
Least favourite scene: The waiting after the stilbirth (if it was me, I would have gone to the pallace to beat some sense in the cheating SOB)
Wiki Page for The Constant Princess

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