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The Constant Princess (2005)

de Philippa Gregory

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Tudor Court: Chronological Order (1), Plantagenets and Tudors (6)

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5,5661581,579 (3.67)143
Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine of Aragon has been fated her whole life to marry Prince Arthur of England. When they meet and are married, the match becomes as passionate as it is politically expedient. But tragically, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his young bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother Henry, become Queen, and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.… (més)
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I generally love Philippa Gregory. I do not apologize for taking great pleasure in going to visit historical places like a fly on the wall and peeking into the way those lives might have been. Most of time, I can feel that Gregory’s version might have been true, because she sticks very close to the facts and only interpolates feelings and emotions to make the characters human. Somehow, I felt she went off the rails in this one. I even had cause to doubt the accuracy of her history. I can find no evidence, and have never heard it even implied, that Henry VII lusted after his daugher-in-law and sought her for his own bride before she was married to his son, Henry VIII.

For anyone who is familiar with Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, they will know that she was first married to his older brother, Arthur, with whom she was meant to have never consummated the marriage. The way Gregory deals with this issue of the remarriage is disappointing. I cannot imagine that it could have EVER happened this way. There is a specific conversation that takes place between Arthur and Catherine that is ludicrous, in my opinion. I think this is the first time I have ever had that reaction while reading one of her novels.

It also seemed unlikely to me that even the most constant heart would cling, as she did, to a memory that had an endurance of six months and occurred at the tender age of fifteen. I also found the idea that she wavered in her religious views and came to think of the Moors as equal, if not superior, to her own countrymen untenable. She is known to have fought for Catholicism to her death and the attitude toward the Moors would have been far too modern a view to have made sense in her time. It is, in a word, an anachronistic invention to propound a modern view.

You would think this would mean I did not enjoy this book, but you would be wrong. I did enjoy it. Had it been 100% fiction, with no claims to history, I might not have even minded the plot development. Gregory has a writing style that I love and she can create characters that you genuinely care about and root for. I did not, however, feel that I closed this book understanding any more about Katherine and her time, and while I agree that Katherine was not a virgin when she married Henry, I do not think Gregory has even come close to deciphering the whys and wherefores of what came after Arthur’s death.


( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
read in bahamas not a bookclub book
  PatLibrary123 | Aug 9, 2022 |

Addition to my TBR from a bookcrossing meeting

I will willingly admit that my knowledge of certain periods of history are lax to say the least: I know that Katherine of Aragon was married to King Henry VIII’s brother Arthur. After Arthur’s death, still aged 16, she became Henry’s first wife, only to be usurped by Anne Boleyn. What has been missing are the small details of how that marriage could be arranged, against the rules set out in the bible (Leviticus 20: Verse 21: If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.).


The book is split into 4 parts: the first being Caterina’s (Catherine’s) childhood and marriage to Arthur, Henry’s olderbrother. In this book, Caterina and Arthur are madly in love as he dies, the marriage has been consummated, and it is her promise to Arthur as much as anything that drives the following decisions she makes. Part 2 covers the years between Arthur’s death and her marriage to Henry 6 years later. Part 3 is her second marriage until Henry and Catherine’s coronation; Part 4 are the following few years as Catherine becomes queen, only for her position to be undermined by the multiple miscarriages along withe the developing threats of her husband’s wandering eye (in particular Anne Boleyn).

It is Catherine’s childhood following her parents around Spain that influences her later ability to rule England (suppressing the Scots) whilst Henry is in France. Her strength in war, combined with an almost fervent belief in the Catholic faith – and that her actions are defined by God – are continually foremost in her mind.
katherine of aragonKatherine of Aragon

Whilst pregnant for the first time, she realises that there are no decent doctors in western Europe, as the only ones who know anything (Jews and Moors) have been driven out by her parents. When she does find a moorish doctor to consult, it has to be in secret, and she realises he is the only one she can trust to tell her the truth. When she later defends England successfully against the Scots, she has the opportunity to decimate the Scottish lands after the Scottish King has been destroyed, only chooses not to.

Finally, the book jumps forward approx 16 years, where Katherine is preparing herself to face her husband and accusers who wish to pronounce her marriage invalid so that Henry can marry Anne. It is this act, and the political machinations behind it, that lead to the break with Rome and the setting up of the Church Of England.

There are two voices in this book – that of the standard 3rd party narrative, interspersed with a first person narrative of Katherine herself. The 3rd person was more successful I thought, and I did tire of the relentless, occasional multiple page italicised first person narrative of Catherine, and ended up skimming much. However, the very short, one liners, were very effective, so wonder if this tool could have been used to better effect? Overall however, I enjoyed the book, and it was a decent addition to a missing gap in my historical narrative
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
An interesting take on Katherine of Aragon. She had to be a strong woman no matter what, living with that court. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Too long, too slow, but I enjoyed learning about Katherine of Aragon. ( )
  emrsalgado | Jul 23, 2021 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Gregory, Philippaautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bond, SamanthaReaderautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Burton, KateNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Holm, GunillaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tanner, JillNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Trivino, MontseTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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There was a scream, and then a 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.
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Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine of Aragon has been fated her whole life to marry Prince Arthur of England. When they meet and are married, the match becomes as passionate as it is politically expedient. But tragically, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his young bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother Henry, become Queen, and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.

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