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The Constant Princess [UNABRIDGED]…
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The Constant Princess [UNABRIDGED] (Audiobook) (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Philipa Gregory - Narrated by: Jill Tanner

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Title:The Constant Princess [UNABRIDGED] (Audiobook)
Authors:Philipa Gregory - Narrated by: Jill Tanner
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Collections:Audio books, Read but unowned
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Tags:nil, 7508, audio, Catherine of Aragon, fiction-historical

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The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (2005)

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"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.

Addition to my TBR from a bookcrossing meeting

I will willingly admit that my knowledge of certain periods of history are lax to say the least: I know that Katherine of Aragon was married to King Henry VIII's brother Arthur. After Arthur's death, still aged 16, she became Henry's first wife, only to be usurped by Anne Boleyn. What has been missing are the small details of how that marriage could be arranged, against the rules set out in the bible (Leviticus 20: Verse 21: If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.).

Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger
Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

The book is split into 4 parts: the first being Caterina's (Catherine's) childhood and marriage to Arthur, Henry's olderbrother. In this book, Caterina and Arthur are madly in love as he dies, the marriage has been consummated, and it is her promise to Arthur as much as anything that drives the following decisions she makes. Part 2 covers the years between Arthur's death and her marriage to Henry 6 years later. Part 3 is her second marriage until Henry and Catherine's coronation; Part 4 are the following few years as Catherine becomes queen, only for her position to be undermined by the multiple miscarriages along withe the developing threats of her husband's wandering eye (in particular Anne Boleyn).

It is Catherine's childhood following her parents around Spain that influences her later ability to rule England (suppressing the Scots) whilst Henry is in France. Her strength in war, combined with an almost fervent belief in the Catholic faith - and that her actions are defined by God - are continually foremost in her mind.

katherine of aragon
Katherine of Aragon

Whilst pregnant for the first time, she realises that there are no decent doctors in western Europe, as the only ones who know anything (Jews and Moors) have been driven out by her parents. When she does find a moorish doctor to consult, it has to be in secret, and she realises he is the only one she can trust to tell her the truth. When she later defends England successfully against the Scots, she has the opportunity to decimate the Scottish lands after the Scottish King has been destroyed, only chooses not to.

Finally, the book jumps forward approx 16 years, where Katherine is preparing herself to face her husband and accusers who wish to pronounce her marriage invalid so that Henry can marry Anne. It is this act, and the political machinations behind it, that lead to the break with Rome and the setting up of the Church Of England.

There are two voices in this book - that of the standard 3rd party narrative, interspersed with a first person narrative of Katherine herself. The 3rd person was more successful I thought, and I did tire of the relentless, occasional multiple page italicised first person narrative of Catherine, and ended up skimming much. However, the very short, one liners, were very effective, so wonder if this tool could have been used to better effect? Overall however, I enjoyed the book, and it was a decent addition to a missing gap in my historical narrative
  nordie | Feb 16, 2015 |
This was a very interesting book. I found Catalina's relationship with Arthur to be so interesting and I even shed tears when he died. The period until she married Harry was a bit dull. I even felt a bit angry that she started loving Henry and seemed to forget about Arthur except in dire circumstances. Overall I like Catalina more than I like Anne Boleyn and that's due to this book. Before this I liked Anne, but getting more history on Catalina has changed my mind. ( )
  rabidmunkee | Nov 7, 2014 |
Another great historical fiction novel from Gregory. Not only does she weave the story of Katherine of Aragon magnificently, but she grabs your interest so that you want to learn more about this enigmatic woman. What I wouldn't give for a trip to Spain to see where the child, Catalina, lived as the Infanta of Spain, Princess of Wales, future Queen of England. ( )
  trishaj | Oct 7, 2014 |
This book was amazing, I loved reading about the early life of Katherine of Aragon, her first love Arthur, and then her marriage to Henry and everything that happened after. I will definitely be reading more books by Philippa Gregory! ( )
  Steph1203 | Mar 14, 2014 |
I am so enjoying Ms Gregory's books. This was a wonderful read, helping put more pieces in place in my understanding of England's Royal History.

I have read a few of her other books and I find that it can become a bit confusing. The wives, the children, the many players in the royal court. I have now taken my interest in this subject outside of the "Gregory" realm and am looking for more historical accounts.

I'll keep reading her books. She has such a wonderful way of bringing these people to life. ( )
1 vote ava-st-claire | Feb 21, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philippa Gregoryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burton, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holm, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was a scream, and then a loud roar of fire enveloping silken hangings, then a mounting crescendo of shouts of panic that spread and spread from one tent to another as the flames ran too, leaping from one silk standard to another, running up guy ropes and bursting through muslin doors.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743272498, Paperback)

"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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:59 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A richly detailed fictional portrait of Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, the daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, follows her from her passionate youthful marriage to Henry's older brother, Arthur, her widowhood, her marriage to Henry and her denial of her true love for Arthur, and the divorce that led to Henry's second marriage to Anne Boleyn.… (more)

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