The Constant Princess

The Constant Princess

by Philippa Gregory
4.1 399


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The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

From #1 New York Times bestselling author and “queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory comes the remarkable story of Katherine of Aragon, Princess of Spain, daughter of two great monarchs, and eventual Queen of England when she marries the infamous King Henry VIII.

Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine 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. The young lovers revel in each other’s company and plan the England they will make together. But tragically, aged only fifteen, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his sixteen-year-old bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother, Henry; become Queen; and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.

Widowed and alone in the avaricious world of the Tudor court, Katherine has to sidestep her father-in-law’s desire for her and convince him, and an incredulous Europe, that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated, that there is no obstacle to marriage with Henry. For seven years, she endures the treachery of spies, the humiliation of poverty, and intense loneliness and despair while she waits for the inevitable moment when she will step into the role she has prepared for all her life. Then, like her warrior mother, Katherine must take to the battlefield and save England when its old enemies the Scots come over the border and there is no one to stand against them but the new Queen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743272490
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 08/28/2006
Series: Plantagenet and Tudor Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 63,984
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Her work has been adapted for the screen in The Other Boleyn Girl movie and the critically acclaimed STARZ miniseries The White Queen and The White Princess. Her most recent novel is The Last Tudor. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds two honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff and was awarded the 2016 Harrogate Festival Award for Contribution to Historical Fiction. She welcomes visitors to her website,


Yorkshire, England

Date of Birth:

January 9, 1954

Place of Birth:

Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa


B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984

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The Constant Princess 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 399 reviews.
Laura_Jane More than 1 year ago
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.
Lalima_Jenckes More than 1 year ago
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.
suzyqmacdo More than 1 year ago
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!
KinZzz More than 1 year ago
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.
nooklover42 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?
Sar_Saylor More than 1 year ago
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.
penname96 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...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.
LyssaD More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
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Although I am familiar with the story line, I am having a hard time reading this book. Perhaps this is due to the fact this was not written by my favorite author.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Catherine has always been the dowdy frump frustrating the Great Harry....and her life is far more intetesting than that. Great read and great story
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