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The Constant Princess

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Wonderful perspective on a fascinating woman.

I read The Constant Princess after considering it for several years. I Read The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, and had this one on my reading list. The book is a first-person account of the life of Katherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII of England. It begins in ...
I read The Constant Princess after considering it for several years. I Read The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, and had this one on my reading list. The book is a first-person account of the life of Katherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII of England. It begins in her late childhood and takes the reader through her first marriage to Henry's brother Arthur, his death shortly after their marriage, and then her years of waiting to ultimately become the Queen. The reader gets a glimpse into Catalina (Katherine's spanish name) and her fiercely loyal personality. She was the daughter of two of history's most powerful monarchs, and was a warrior queen herself.

This fictionalized account was very well researched and beautifully written. It left me wondering how different our world would be today if only Arthur had lived, or if only Katherine had a son who lived, or if only Henry had been faithful to her. Of course, these what-ifs are some of the most compelling questions of the past 500 years as the reign of the Tudors arched over some of the most impactful moments of European history. Without Katherine and Isabella, her mother, would England ever have accepted Elizabeth as its queen? The brutality and cruelty of this period of history is a fascinating counterpoint to Katherine's piety and the pageantry of her reign.

posted by Laura_Jane on January 20, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Could have been better

I really love this author's works but this is not one of her better ones. It was ok, but I really found it lacking in emotion. What happend to all the plotting and intrigue as in her other storys?

posted by Anonymous on December 4, 2006

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful perspective on a fascinating woman.

    I read The Constant Princess after considering it for several years. I Read The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, and had this one on my reading list. The book is a first-person account of the life of Katherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII of England. It begins in her late childhood and takes the reader through her first marriage to Henry's brother Arthur, his death shortly after their marriage, and then her years of waiting to ultimately become the Queen. The reader gets a glimpse into Catalina (Katherine's spanish name) and her fiercely loyal personality. She was the daughter of two of history's most powerful monarchs, and was a warrior queen herself.

    This fictionalized account was very well researched and beautifully written. It left me wondering how different our world would be today if only Arthur had lived, or if only Katherine had a son who lived, or if only Henry had been faithful to her. Of course, these what-ifs are some of the most compelling questions of the past 500 years as the reign of the Tudors arched over some of the most impactful moments of European history. Without Katherine and Isabella, her mother, would England ever have accepted Elizabeth as its queen? The brutality and cruelty of this period of history is a fascinating counterpoint to Katherine's piety and the pageantry of her reign.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    'The Constant Princess' by Philippa Gregory captures the attention of the reader, as the life of Katherine of Aragon unfolds in this panoramic New York Times Bestseller.

    The story of Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII is a portrayal of splendor, intrigue, and betrayal as played out in the late fifteen century Tudor Court. The author presents a humanistic characterization of Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, who travels to England to fulfill her parents long-standing wish of a political marriage with Arthur, the elder brother of Henry Tudor. The reader feels sympathy and concern for this fifteen year old girl who has left her family to travel across the seas to seal an alliance that was promised when she was three years old. The author develops a heroine who is determined to make her life a success, as she adjusts to the cultural expectations of a foreign court that is very different from the luxurious and pampered life-style that she has enjoyed with her parents in Alhambra.

    As the plot develops, the reader is privy to the inner thoughts of Katharine and her outer struggle to maintain her status as the rightful queen of England. The story line maintains suspense throughout the novel, even though the reader knows the ill-fated outcome of this historical character.

    Philippa Gregory is to be praised for her richness for detail, her thorough research and page-turning epic story of the "Constant Princess" that brings to life the Queen, King, and the men and women of the court who made choices that had far-reaching effects on the lives of the common man.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Outstanding Story

    The Constant Princess, by Philippa Gregory, is a remarkable book about pure determination and the Catalina’s struggle to become Queen of England. Raised by the strong Queen of Spain, Catalina is tough and knows her duty to her people and God. Almost from birth she knew she was destined to marry Arthur, Prince of England, and eventually become Queen. However, a few months into their marriage Arthurs falls terminally ill. Before he dies, he makes Catalina promise that she would lie to the nation so she could become Queen. Catalina honors her word and announces they never consummated their marriage, so she could marry the young Prince Harry. She is betrothed to Harry but put through hell for the next seven years by King Henry and his mother. By remaining constant through her seven years of poverty and struggle within the court, she is finally married to Harry and becomes Queen. However, her happiness only lasts so long as her lie comes back to haunt her. The strength and courage of Catalina is inspiring as she goes through troubling times in a strange land with almost no one on her side, but yet her confidence is never shaken as she pursues the throne. However, where there is power, there is always corruption. Not even she can be saved from the darkness that comes with having such power. I liked how Gregory made Catalina so relatable and the historical accuracy. It was almost like living within the court of England. I disliked the book because some parts seemed like just fluff to fill pages. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in court life and royalty as it describes it very well. Other widely praised works of Gregory’s are The Other Boleyn Girl, the Virgin’s Lover, and the Queen’s Fool. The Constant Princess is a remarkable story of the determined Catalina and her troublesome journey.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty Good

    Really enjoyed this book but as I neared the end I kept thinking that there was so much left to tell and the book was coming to an end. I would have liked to have seen more about being "replaced" and her final days. Otherwise this was a great book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Philippa Gregory knows how to humanize history, and successfully mixes fact with fiction in the account of Catherine of Aragon's life leading up to her coronation as Queen of England.

    I am NOT a history buff...never have been, and never thought I would be. However, I am happy to say that Philippa Gregory's successful fictionalization of famous historical lives have made me more interested in what I have previously thought as the boring past. In this book, she draws the reader into the world of Catalina; Infanta of Spain, Princess of Castile, destined by God and the machinations of politics to be Queen of England. We watch her raised on the battlefield in the holy war of Isabella and Ferdinand against the Moors. We begin to understand that she was not only raised to be a figurehead Queen, but a responsible ruling Queen, as she is taught how to raise an army and wage war against her enemies.
    We see her betrothed, and married to Arthur, firstborn son of King Henry, Prince of Wales, and the Rose of England. We watch an unlikely pairing change from indifference toward one another into true love and passion. We experience her heartbreak and grief, her will to survive, and her determination to follow the path laid out for her from early childhood, and a deathbed promise, that leads to the throne of England.
    The story of Catherine of Aragon may just be the greatest lie ever told!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Ms. Gregory completely captures the strength and grace of Katherine.

    Katherine, the daughter of the King and Queen of Spain, grew up knowing the importance of strength, loyalty, and courage. Her parents were very famous warriors, forever protecting their country from outside enemies. When Katherine moved to England to become the Queen, she forged through the tragedy, deceipt, and trickery necessary to survive. She remained loyal to her second husband, Henry, until her death. She endured his philandering, his verbal and mental abuse, and neglect. She remained strong, committed to her husband and her Catholic religion, amid a revolution. Ms. Gregory showed the good side of Katherine through the bad side of Henry. YOu cheer for Katherine throughout the book and take delight in every small victory she encounters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Could have been better

    I really love this author's works but this is not one of her better ones. It was ok, but I really found it lacking in emotion. What happend to all the plotting and intrigue as in her other storys?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Okay Book

    All in all this book was a good read. I didn't like the way she portrayed Kathrine of Aragon. And the fact that it stops at a great point in the beginning of her life and then jumps ahead to the divorce trial with Henry VIII. To me it almost seemed like she got bored and decided to rush to get to the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Did she or didn't she?

    No one will ever know if Katharine and Arthur's marriage was consummated. Philippa goes on the theory that it was. I love how she pulls you into the characters. The timeline and dates are accurate here. Reading this book, you can come to your own conclusions. This book is about Catalina/Katharine's childhood to her marriage to Henry. I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    An Excellent Read.

    This was, overall, an excellent read. I enjoyed it much more than "the Other Boleyn Girl" because if focused less on drama and scandal and more on an excellent characterization of Catalina, or Katherine, from an ambitious, passionate and zealous girl to a loyal, courageous, and compassionate woman. She was admirable, yet very human. There is some historical debate as to whether she did lie about her marriage to Arthur being consummated, as Gregory claims; some say that since Catalina was such a moral and honest woman, she would not have lied. However, it's my opinion that if you want complete historical accuracy, you should read a history book instead of a novel. Gregory takes some creative license with the romance between Catalina and Arthur, but it enriches the work, making it touching rather than sappy.

    I also enjoyed the other aspects of history included in there, such as the war with France, the animosity with Scotland, the religious conflict and intolerance, and the cultures of both the English and the much more advanced Moors (or Muslims). Though it is not written as "literary fiction" and leans more towards commercial fiction, there was nonetheless insight into human lust, greed, selfishness, and love as demonstrated by history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Really enjoy Phillipa Gregory's books

    ...And this book didn't disappoint. I enjoyed the Other Boleyn Girl, and decided to read the series. This is the first book by time line of the Tudor series and it tells the story of Katherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife.

    The only thing that irks me is when the title of the book is revealed in the middle of the story in an "ah-ha" moment--in this instance Henry the VII calling Katherine a "Constant Princess" while talking to his mother. Its like saying "Hey, stupid reader, this is why I titled the book this way. Get it?" Its a little thing, and overall I enjoyed the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Other Side of Katherine

    In this book the author shows a side of Katherine that most don't. We get to experience the life of Catalina, Infanta of Spain, instead of the Katherine known as the old queen during the time of Anne Boleyn. Gregory's take on Katherine's lie that changed history, was a unique and romantic one that allows the reader to see her struggles as she fights to hold on to her destiny. A great choice if you're a fan of Katherine or if you've only ever known the side of the queen when she was past her prime.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2008

    Loved It!!!

    If you are someone who loves historical fiction, you should read this. I loved how Phillipa Gregory made Catalina/Katherine change her disposition as she moved up in the ranks. Thanks to this book, Katherine of Aragon is my hero.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2006

    Dull? I think not!

    I happened upon this book at the airport. Once I began reading it, I coulnd't put it down. Catalina's strength as a leader was astounding. The details describing her feelings at her husband's display of her love at the jousting was breath taking. You feel her pain and you feel her joy. Those that have never known what true love is or who have never had a baby are probaly the ones that find this book dull. When you can relate to a character, the book comes alive. I was not familiar with this author, but now, I will acquaint myself with the rest of her books. Thanks for this book, Phillipa!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Catalina was bred to be a queen

    This book is an inside look at a very complex young lady who turns into a savvy and wise queen. It was a story of survival. Catalina's mother prepared her for this life, never over protecting and making her self sufficient. It shows how to accomplish an objective by all means necessary, but in a very orderly and calculated manner. Having visited the Alhambra also made the story more real. This is a strong, sensitive tale of an extraordinary woman.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2006

    Ups and Downs of a Royal Lady

    After the disappointing Virgin's Lover, Ms. Gregory is back at the top of her game in this story of Katherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII. Like Anne Boleyn in an earlier novel by the same author, Katherine has the smarts, ambition, and executive skills of a Fortune 500 CEO. And she's a fine military strategist to boot! Both women are pawns of their powerful families, but according to Ms. Gregory, each uses every wile, feminine and otherwise, to leave her mark on history. An interesting development in this novel is that not only does Katherine consummate her marriage to her first husband, Henry's brother Arthur, but they love one another passionately and he remains her great love to the end of her life. No one knows how true any of this might be, but Ms. Gregory has an impressive bibliography of research sources at the end of the book. All that aside, this is an exciting and absorbing tale of the early roller-coaster years of Queen Katherine's reign.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2006

    Not Her Best

    I have read every one of Phillipa Gregory's books and I have to say, I was disappointed with this one. The insights into Katherine's thoughts, while an interesting device, causes the plot to stall and the same thoughts are too often repeated over and over. I thought Katherine's character was not nearly as fleshed out as her Wideacre characters, the triology I consider to be her best work.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2005

    Gregory at her best!

    The Constant Princess was a very good historical fiction read. I enjoyed hearing how the different cultures may have meshed. 'Catalina' or Katherine was truly a constant princess ever faithful to what she set her eyes on...the throne!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Constant Princess is the first novel in the Tudor Court Seri

    The Constant Princess is the first novel in the Tudor Court Series by Philippa Gregory. When the novel begins we meet at the major players of the story. The English court is the court of King Henry the seventh and his Queen Elizabeth of York. Lady Margaret is still present and rules the family.
    Synopsis:
    Princess Catherine has grown up in the court of Spain. She is the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, and promised in marriage to the young Prince Arthur. She is excited to do her part for Spain, her mother, and God. She is anxious to continue her parent’s mission. Will the English support it? Are her parents right to have the mission against the moors and expanding christianity? When Arthur dies will she be able to continue the mission that she promised him?
    My Thoughts:
    I am always interested in picking up a Philippa Gregory novel. Since the story basically has some of the same characters in Cousins War (See White Queen, Red Queen, and the Kingmaker’s Daughter). For me it was interesting to see how the son of Elizabeth of York who is Henry the Eighth grew to be. What role Queen Catherine played in his life? One observation I had is how well Philippa Gregory write these characters. I would love to know how she brings these characters to life with such extensive research. I was not a fan of the character of Catherine and her deceit towards the royal family.
    The setting is England and the castles of the Tudor Royal family. Catherine narrates the story and it is told from her point of view. I felt sorry for her in the end.
    The next book in the series is the Other Boleyn Girl.
    Happy Reading!! by Jencey Gortney/ Writer's Corner

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  • Posted January 10, 2014

    Interesting Twist to her life

    Historically you seem to hear so much of the life of Catherine starting from the time Henry decided to get rid of her. This was a refreshingly new take on her earlier life from when she left Spain to marry Arthur and then Henry. One downfall is that this seemed a bit short, long periods of time would jump between chapters. Overall, it was an entertaining read.

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