The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory is the first book in the Tudor Court series. This fictional account of the life of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, follows the Spanish princess to England for her marriage to Arthur, Henry’s older brother.
Known best for being Henry VIII’s first wife and for being supplanted by Anne Boleyn, Catherine fought with everything at her disposal to become, and stay, the Queen of England. It was a lifelong struggle. Her marriage to Arthur should have prevented Catherine from becoming Henry’s bride but she fought the church, the King, and prevailing opinion in order to follow what she considered her destiny. Of course, the fight came full circle when she had to fight Henry and Anne in their attempt to remove her from the position she had struggled so long to gain.
Gregory deftly weaves historically accurate events together with fictional dialogue and a sympathetic portrayal of a young woman’s feelings upon being thrust into a strange country and a marriage to a man she’d never met. There is no pretense that Catherine was a saint - she was clearly manipulative and willing to do nearly anything to get and keep the crown. But Gregory shows us what could have led a young Spanish princess to the actions she took and gives us a more well-rounded version of a Catherine as a young woman rather than as the embattled queen most historians choose to focus on during Henry’s reign.
As always, Gregory’s writing is lush with vivid detail, easily transporting the reader back to Tudor England, and pulling us into the daily lives of these long dead monarchs. Detailed without being mired, Gregory educates and entertains in equal measure with The Constant Princess.
"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.