The Constant Princess is a historical novel from the incredible Philippa Gregory, detailing the life of Katherine and her marriages to several kings of England.
The Constant Princess is the story of Catalina, Princess of Wales, who changed her name to Katherine of Aragon when she became Queen of England. Catalina grew up in the midst of chaos with her mother, Isabella of Spain, and her war with the Moors. During the first years of Catalina’s life, while Isabelle continued to cut out all of the heretic Moor population in Spain, being very close to the front lines, Catalina was introduced to incredible fear. The child dealt stress unlike most children, for she learned from her mother, a strong, confident woman who had a strong faith in God and who thought that she was doing God’s work.
Young Catalina knew from an early age that she would marry Arthur Tudor, the next King of England. She was trained well by her mother in the art of being a ruler and being successful in court life. In Spain things are handled very differently than in England. A Spanish woman can be both strong and well-read, completely able to rule a country as well as a man.
Catalina traveled to England and married Arthur Tudor, becoming Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England. Her first husband died shortly after their marriage. On his death bed he swore her to secrecy, asking that she tell everyone that the marriage had not been consummated. Still being a virgin, Catalina would then be free to marry Arthur’s younger brother, Henry.
At the time of Arthur’s death Henry was still very young and Katherine had to wait several years before she married him. Henry and Katherine fell in love and were happily married for many years, even through miscarriages and other countries declaring war on them. Eventually, Katherine gave birth to Princess Mary, the only living child from their union. Katherine assisted her husband in running the country and was the stability behind the crown. Like her mother, Katherine had a air of nobility that held her together to the end of her life.
Gregory has a way a writing that brings one back into the past with her. She intertwines the plot with real people and places, along with fictional characters. Her novels are immensely entertaining, as well as educational. When you have completed her novels, you will have gained an understanding of real people, their lives and the times in which they lived.
Look for my next review on The Other Boleyn Girl.
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