The Constant Princess Hardcover – 2005
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Inside This Book(Learn More)
THERE WAS A SCREAM, and then the 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. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book, Gregory purports that the marriage between Catalina (Katherine) of Spain and Arthur Tudor was a love match and their union was most definitely consummated - a secret they kept from everyone. When Arthur realizes he'll not survive the sweating sickness, he commands Catalina to marry his younger brother Henry, so that she can still become Queen of England as they'd always dreamed. Catalina is determined to stay *constant* to her beloved's commands, but there's a lot of political turmoil ahead of her, especially over the fact of whether the marriage was consummated,
"I shall keep my promise. I shall be constant to my husband and to my destiny. And I shall plan and plot and consider how I shall conquer this misfortune and be what I was born to be. How I shall be the pretender who becomes queen."
"At Arthur's request I told the greatest lie a woman has ever told, and I will tell it to the very grave...He asked me to say that we had never been lovers and he commanded me to marry his brother and be queen...I was constant to my promise.Read more ›
The story is told from Katherine's point of view, relating her feelings at each milestone in her life, from her childhood in Spain, her marriage to Prince Arthur of England up to the time of her disgrace from court. She recalls when the young couple who were betrothed, finally meet and married, a politically arrange marriage that soon developed into a hidden passion and devotion for each other. Sadly, at age fifteen Arthur falls ill and on his death bed he has Katherine promise to marry his brother Henry and further the hope of becoming Queen and fulfilling their dreams for the country.
It is easy to forget that Katherine's life is the author's version of events. The story details Katherine's insistence that her first marriage was never consummated; this facilitated her marriage to Henry but always remained a point of contestation.
The author portrays Katherine as a very courageous and strong woman who faced many struggles, some joyous some sad. We are left with Henry V111 depicted as a spoiled and selfish man who would put aside wife after wife at a whim.
For those fascinated by historical fiction, this will transport you into the tumultuous life at the Tudor Court, at a time when no one was safe. It was a time when battles to conquer territories were forcefully fought and ones religious beliefs ruled the world.
The story is quite captivating although I did find it meander and dragged a bit and it ended rather abruptly.
The idea that two young people at the flush of of their sexual awakening had somehow never consumated their marriage always struck me as rather odd so this was a wonderful take on how that might have played out was exciting to see.
Its fairly obvious that Henry would have struck many around him as a selfish self absorbed person and given that it was Catherine's voice it seemed right to me that for this piece that that is how he would be portrayed.
My only real complaint would be that the last few chapters did skim over the years too quickly to delve into how the relationship between her and henry and his mistressses played out. I would have loved to see a double length novel with both the early and later times of their marriage. More of of her fequent and increasingly desperate pregnancies and Henry's no doubt transparent efforts to decieve her about his affairs and of course eventually his "great matter"
Most recent customer reviews
I have read several of her books and I get so mesmerized by the rhythm her story telling.
I'm a Phillipa Gregory fan. I did find some of the
writing in italics tiresome and whiney but overall it's an easy read and entertaining.
As always, Philippa Gregory has taken me in to history in the most captivating way. I didn't know anything of Katherine of Aragon, she seemed to disappear behind the Boleyn girls... Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2013 by Tammy Rossetti
Having read 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and really liking it, I now wish I'd read this beforehand, as it is a detailed story of Katharine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn's predecessor. Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2012 by Booklover
Love this story. Even though of course it has some author imagined filler it defintely brought Catherine to life for me. Read morePublished on May 16 2011 by sunsetshimmer
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Phillipa Gregory is one of my favourite novelists due to how this book was so beautifully written. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2010 by shum_gum
Points to Gregory for choosing as her heroine the oft-neglected Katherine, Henry VIII's first wife. Obviously comfortable in this time period, Gregory's story is reasonably... Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2010 by B. A. Scharf