94 – The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

I heard about this book and was immediately intrigued.  I’ve always been fascinated with Henry VIII and his wives.  This is quite an interesting take on Catherine, his first wife.  Here’s the Goodreads summary.

“Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both kings and crusaders. At the age of three, she is betrothed to Prince Arthur, son and heir of Henry VII of England, and is raised to be Princess of Wales. She knows 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. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows ever more bearable. Unexpectedly in this arranged marriage, a tender and passionate love develops.” But when the studious young man dies, 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 indomitable. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.”

I really loved this book. I thought it was so interesting how the author told Catalina/Catherine’s story and gave it her own twist. I also find it incredibly intriguing that this could have been how Catherine actually was. Only she, Arthur, and God know if her first marriage was consummated. I love the idea of this actually being what happened. Yes, I know it’s fiction…but it’s very interesting to think about.

I really liked Catherine as a character. And often times, I felt bad for her and all that she had to go through. After watching the Showtime series, “The Tudors”, I got annoyed with Catherine. She was just so overbearing and bitchy. But after learning more about her, I can understand why she held on so hard. I can see why she was how she was.

I thought this was a great book and I’d like to continue reading Philippa Gregory’s series on The Tudors.

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