5 A very entertaining and engaging story, lively than Jean Plaidy s Katherine trilogy Even though I found Plaidy s books a bit on the dull side, I m glad I read them to complement Gregory s take on the young Katherine Most of the HF I ve read about Katherine shows her in her times of trial during her second marriage, where she comes across as a long suffering and pious cow, an object of scorn and pity Even as a younger girl, she comes off as a bit of a drip and killjoy, as if she was born old with the knees of a Carmelite nun.
So it was a nice change to see the focus on Katherine as a child and young bride to the ill fated prince Arthur Tudor, where she is vivacious, coquettish, and worldly in the ways of political matters thanks to her parents God driven crusades, etc More familiar territory here is her early years of marriage to Henry up to her victory as temporary Regent against the Scots at Flodden Field.
I thought the book was tightly written There were narrative hooks, motifs, and character contrasts and comparisons that kept things connected Arthur s post coital requests for a story, the similarities between Isabella and Margaret Beaufort in their maternal austerity and the effects of such on their respective children , the differing temperaments of Henry VII and VIII, Katherine s repeated reminders that she is Infanta, Princess, and Queen, etc.
This last one at first struck me as annoying repetition, but by the end it fit in well with Katherine s devotion and loyalty to a temporal entity as much as she is a pious and devout Catholic In fact, I thought by the book s close she was dedicated to the body of England than the body of Christ Her titles and her vows to Arthur became almost like a rosary prayer Her earthly mission to be Princess of Wales and Queen of England had become the motivation for her soul and conscience, making The Big Lie completely justified and excusable And I agree with the author that Katherine and Arthur most likely did consummate their marriage It s a testament to Katherine s impeccable performance as Henry s queen that she was able to tell so implausible a lie and yet be believed for centuries Of course, the only ones who know for sure are Arthur and Katherine, but it sure is fun to speculate.
I also thought the switches to Katherine s viewpoint served the story well often than it didn t Sometimes the switch didn t add much, but I enjoyed seeing the actions through Katherine s eyes and the change in tone as she grows older, from innocent child to silly bride to resigned and disappointed yet wise Queen Her time as Arthur s bride, where her musings seems really fatuous had a kind of poignancy All her life she had been looked upon as an object for Spain s advancement, a tool for God s great plan, but with Arthur she became prized as a person, not merely a female vessel.
Overall, a solid romantic read that complements Plaidy s staid take on Katherine s youth and early adulthood I would recommend both, as Plaidy s books have detail on Katherine s family, particularly her mad sister Juana.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Diana Bishop I greatly enjoyed her interpretation and dramatic effects She really got into Katherine s anguish, joy, and calm certainty and delivered it all with feeling It certainly made repainting 3 rooms in the house pass pleasantly Splendid And Sumptuous Historical Novel From The Internationally Bestselling Author, Philippa Gregory, Telling Of The Early Life Of Katherine Of AragonWe Think Of Katherine Of Aragon As The Barren Wife Of A Notorious King But Behind This Legacy Lies A Fascinating StoryKatherine Of Aragon Is Born Catalina, The Spanish Infanta, To Parents Who Are Both Rulers And Warriors Aged Four, She Is Betrothed To Arthur, Prince Of Wales, And Is Raised To Be Queen Of England She Is Never In Doubt That It Is Her Destiny To Rule That Far Off, Wet, Cold LandHer 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 BearableBut 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 StrongShe Will Do Anything To Achieve Her Aim Even If It Means Telling The Greatest Lie, And Holding To It I m going to start out by saying 1 I love historical fiction and 2 I loved Margaret George s, The Autobiography of Henry VIII with notes by his fool Will Sommers one of my fave books of all time So when I have the opportunity to go back to Kind Henry VIII s court I do I ve read the Other Boleyn Girl, I ve read Elizabeth I by Rosamund Miles to learn about the time after Henry VIII, etc.
Therefore I was really looking forward to learning about Henry s first wife, Katherine of Aragon.
The Constant Princess, is the story of Katherine of Aragon or Catalina, Infanta of Spain It covers Catalina s childhood in Spain, her betrothal to Arthur Henry s older brother , their marriage, his death, her agonizing wait to convince the King of England that marrying her to his 2nd son was the best solution to all the problems of dowry, etc, and the early years of her marriage to Henry and her rule as Queen of England.
I found the beginning part about her childhood and her marriage to Arthur interesting Her wait to marry Henry was as agonizing for the reader as it was for her this section became very repetitive , and then the end was incredibly rushed The author took 400 pages to cover her life up until her 3rd pregnancy and then skipped 13 years of her reign and the turmoil that became her relationship with Henry as he decided to divorce her and marry Anne Boleyn I think that would have been very interesting material to read about and then devoted 1 1 2 pages to the court hearing about annulling her marriage to Henry It was almost as if she got tired of writing about her.
All in all I thought this book was just OK.
oh what a marvellous story.
You cannot take a person like Catherine of Aragon and fashion some carte blanche story about her there are facts and documentation which must be adhered to Gregory brings this fascinating woman to life for us teaching us as we read She gives the reader such a keen sense of this woman this Catalina, Infanta of Spain commonly known to us as Catherine of Aragon, betrothed to Henry V111 It follows her story from aged five in 1491 on the battle fields of Spain to 1529 in England at the Papal Legate to hear King s Great Matter She is such a compelling figure, bound to and believing in the destiny arranged for her by others Remember, she is the daughter of two famous warriors Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain Make no mistake, Catalina, this Katherine of Aragon is no pawn she will remain steadfast to her own hopes and beliefs for her entire life I now fully understand why she was so loved by the English people and I admit I am in awe of her myself.
To me, Gregory s penultimate words for Katherine feel like a roarThis is me This is my moment This is my battle cry A compelling look at Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry V111 this is a must read 4.
5 If King Henry VIII s wives have any consolation, it is that they are remembered and honored far in death than they were in life there were six wives, and now there are dozens of books about them But The Constant Princess begins at the beginning with the first wife, Katherine of Aragon, whose unfortunate life did not include the birth of a son and heir to King Henry VIII It is that perceived fault of hers that inspired Henry to seek sport in the arms of other women, and provided us with some salicious history This is Katherine s story, and a sad one it is The most remarkable element of this book is the emotions it evoked within me I know the end of Queen Katherine and her dignified but fruitless life, and that colored my reading of the story.
Katherine is not a particularly sympathetic character she comes across as proud, arrogant, stubbourn, and far too dedicated to the belief that her God had intended her to be Queen of England A misguided sense of destiny, along with a deathbed promise she made, led her into the lion s den, and once the lion bit down, she was caught for the rest of her life In the book, Katherine was ambitious, and it led her to lie, decieve, even disregard her morals to achieve her goals But even as ambitious and dishonest as she was, my heart still went out to her at the end of the day, she was doing what she needed to do to survive, as well as maintain a sense of autonomy and dignity Virtually all of the men in her life objectified, used, and disregarded her, and kept her in poverty for many years, and if Katherine lied a little or a lot to make a place for herself in the world, I think a lot of the readers can forgive her I know I can.
This review is for the audiobook version of The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, published by RecordedbooksAudio 5 The audio for this novel is performed by Jill Tanner, a stage actor and voice talent from Britain She does a fabulous job with this recording, speaking very clearly and precisely The narration is really only told from Katherine of Aragon s perspective, so there is very little need for voice changing, but Ms Tanner is able to perform Henry and Harry etc in such a way that the listener knows who is speaking, and yet she does not sound overly masculine and does not over act A great narrator, to be sure Story 3 This story had its ups and downs, and I mean that in the most serious and sincere way There was parts of this book where I was addicted and couldn t wait to see what happened next, and parts where I completely lost interestTell me a story.
says Arthur to Katherine Yes please, Philippa Gregory PLEASE tell me SOMETHING ENTERTAININGSince Katalina of Spain was a baby, she has known her future to be Queen of England She was primed since birth to be the reigning Queen, betrothed to Prince Arthur of England When her dream comes true and Katalina marries Arthur, she becomes Princess of Wales and quickly begins plotting and planning for her future reign When Arthur dies, Katalina knows her destiny still remains to be Queen of England She plots, plans, conspires and manipulates her way to the throne, in order to achieve the only dream she has ever known This novel had me completely thankful that I am a female in the twenty first century I couldn t imagine and don t know if I could tolerate, to be honest being treated as breeding stock, a pretty face without thoughts or opinions This was Katherine s sixteenth century England, and she gets bonus points for tolerating the extreme sexism in this patriarchal society Katherine Katalina eventually marries Henry the VIII, and this story tells the tale of her rise and fall Katherine is a great character, powerful and strong and just as bullheaded as any male I enjoyed the character of Arthur as well, and Margaret Pole, so there are definitely some enjoyable forces in this novel As mentioned, the story lost me at parts, and seemed to drag on for unknown reasons However, when it was good, it wasvery very goodas they say and I quickly became addicted The ending is a cliffhanger although not really since the story itself is based on reality which was extremely disappointing as I felt the whole novel wasted pages and pages and had no reason to stop at this point in the novel In general, I am a fan of Gregory s and I will continue to follow her stories and the stories of the great Tudor s and Plantanganet s with vigor This one fell a little flat, but had it been shorter and concise, it would have been a fabulous and absorbing read.
5 starsThose of you familiar with all things Tudor already know the basics of the long suffering Katherine of Aragon and the husband who dumped her when she couldn t produce a male heir Those who aren t might consider this review rather spoilerish so consider yourself warned That said, since the author skims through a big chunk of the latter part of Katherine s life and The King s Great Matter , I wouldn t recommend this for newbies as you ll be scratching your head at the end wondering what in the heck you missed Just be warned, this is Tudor history PG style so expect historical accuracy at your own peril 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 graveHe asked me to say that we had never been lovers and he commanded me to marry his brother and be queenI was constant to my promiseBut you all know the rest of the story so I ll not rehash it one time, I m just here to discuss the reading experience Whether or not Katherine and Arthur consummated the marriage or not is a subject of debate and despite my previous conviction that Katherine spoke the truth about it during The King s Great Matter , I was willing to keep an open mind kind of However, I didn t buy into the twu wuv fowever between Arthur and Catalina, nor did I buy into Henry VIII s portrayal as a bit of an ignorant dolt with no business sitting on the throne of England,He is bright and clever, perhaps even as quick witted as Arthur But where Arthur had been trained to think, had been educated as a king from birth, they let this second son slide by on his charm and his ready tongue Bah Worse yet, towards the end the author appears to run out of steam and page count and makes a last minute push to finish in a big hurry as Katherine s latter years as queen and the whole business of The King s Great Matter is barely touched upon Add to that the switches to the first person narrative Katherine s appear much too often and become increasingly annoying and soporific Seriously, did we need to have her recount actual dialog with others, thus telling us what s happened instead of using the third person and showing us As for Katherine s voice itself, she s very full of herself and her own self importance and makes for a rather unsympathetic main character, particularly over her disdain for Henry VIII Then there s the portrayal of Henry VII Why, oh why does he always have to be portrayed lusting after the main female character from his very first sight of her The book started off all right, when the switches to Katherine s narrative were short and well spaced, but by the end I was nodding off at them and was praying for the book to end, and I d only recommended it for PG fans only If you are looking for a well rounded, historically accurate look at Katherine of Aragon I suggest you look elsewhere Oh, and before anyone gets in a tizzy as to why this non PG fan decided to read another, this is for a group read for the European Royalty Group at Goodreads I expect lively discussions FTC disclosure I obtained this book from my county library.