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The Constant Princess (2005)

by Philippa Gregory

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5,3371541,486 (3.67)141
Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine of Aragon has been fated her whole life to marry Prince Arthur of England. When they meet and are married, the match becomes as passionate as it is politically expedient. But tragically, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his young bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother Henry, become Queen, and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.… (more)
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» See also 141 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
Too long, too slow, but I enjoyed learning about Katherine of Aragon. ( )
  emrsalgado | Jul 23, 2021 |
My second favorite royal court novel by Ms. Gregory, after the original, "The Boleyn Inheritance". You can't help but sympathize with Katherine of Aragon (Spain), the titular constant princess. She first marries Arthur Tudor, Henry VIII's older brother, who tragically dies vary young. Losing her young husband, Katherine then turns to the even younger Henry who is deeply infatuated with Katherine - yet, many hurdles lie in their way to wedded bliss. And, since this is history and there are no spoilers, we then see the steadfast Katherine refuse to divorce Henry when he turns her away in favor of the beautiful, young courtier Anne Boleyn.

Gregory depicts Katherine as an elegant woman of virtue who never loses her love for Henry, regardless of how treacherously he treats her. My heart went out to her down the centuries of history and I feel it still. Lovers of an easily-digestible read, where you also get a fascinating history lesson, will devour this lovely book.

This is Gregory's 4th published royal court novel, later named the Tudor series, which becomes the 6th if read in chronological order. I highly recommend reading them in the order they were published so that the story lines are more natural. ( )
  Desiree_Reads | Jul 9, 2021 |
This is the 6th novel in the series about the Plantagenets and Tudors. I enjoyed the book, which I listened to on audio, but it did take a while to get used to the Spanish accent when Katherine of Aragon's dialogue was read. I feel like this novel dragged a little more than some of the others. I'm assuming her story is picked up in another novel, because this one just seemed to end. I did not know much about this wife of Henry VIII, so the novel introduced her to me and prompted me to look further into the person that she was. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Mar 5, 2021 |
I liked the book but not one of my favorites among the Philippa Gregory novels I have read thus far. Some people have complained about the italics whereby it was Katherine of Aragon thinking - but I didn't mind it at all. I guess what I didn't care for was that it was mainly her early life with Arthur, which I enjoyed, her early years with Henry, again which I enjoyed but then it just jumps to the end and does not explore what her feelings were when Anne Boylen entered the arena so to speak. All in all though a good read. ( )
  ChrisCaz | Feb 23, 2021 |

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.).


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 aragonKatherine 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 | Jan 30, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory, Philippaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bond, SamanthaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burton, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holm, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trivino, MontseTranslatorsecondary 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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Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine of Aragon has been fated her whole life to marry Prince Arthur of England. When they meet and are married, the match becomes as passionate as it is politically expedient. But tragically, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his young bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother Henry, become Queen, and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.

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