The Constant Princess

by Philippa Gregory | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 000719031x Global Overview for this book
Registered by STP-921375 on 6/7/2006
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8 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by STP-921375 on Wednesday, June 07, 2006
"Splendid and sumptuous historical novel from this internationally
bestselling author, telling of the early life of Katherine of Aragon.
We think of her as the barren wife of a notorious king; but behind
this legacy lies a fascinating story. Katherine 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 land. Her 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 more bearable. But
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 strong.
She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the
greatest lie, and holding to it. Philippa Gregory proves yet again
that behind the apparently familiar face of history lies an
astonishing story: of women warriors influencing the future of Europe,
of revered heroes making deep mistakes, and of an untold love story
which changes the fate of a nation."

Journal Entry 2 by STP-921375 on Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I seem to have ended up with two copies of this so I am sending this one out on a bookray. The participants are:

LindyB28 (UK)
PurpleRosebud (UK)
Calalilly (UK)
ktwalker (UK)
Drusillamac (UK)
angellica (UK)
candy-is-dandy (UK)
neverbelilith (UK)
LennyB (UK)
abrokenstarr (UK)
Miss-R (UK)
Katweeble (UK)
Heathwitch (UK)
eloisamos (Brazil)
CynthiaA (Canada)
well-chilled (USA)
dittybopper (US)
collectorkerri (US)
Satnam (US)
stormymort (US)
azuki (US)

This has turned into rather a long list. I turned my back for 5 minutes and my inbox filled up with PMs! Try and read the book within a month and let me know if there is a problem.

Journal Entry 3 by STP-921375 on Friday, June 09, 2006
I'll be posting this to LindyB28 tomorrow.

Journal Entry 4 by LindyB28 from Acocks Green, West Midlands United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Yay! A Philippa Gregory book to read :-)

Journal Entry 5 by LindyB28 from Acocks Green, West Midlands United Kingdom on Sunday, June 25, 2006
This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, marred only by a slightly too self-conscious wearing of the history that is to come. Sometimes this becomes anachronistic (as when Catalina refers to herself as 'a passionately Roman Catholic child' - such self-definition is really meaningless before the split from Catholicism in the Reformation; previously one held orthodox beliefs (those of the universal Roman church) or heterodox beliefs, c.f. Wyclif, etc).

However Philippa Gregory's powerful imagination once again brings a figure to life who has previously been relegated to the sidelines of history. Katharine was, for me, just the first 'divorced' of 'divorced, beheaded, died'... now I can perceive a concept of her full humanity.

Will PM Purplerosebud for her address.

Journal Entry 6 by purplerosebud from Petersfield, Hampshire United Kingdom on Sunday, July 02, 2006
Thanks for passing this over to me at the Unconvention yesterday, it was great to meet you, if only briefly. Just one book in front to read.

Journal Entry 7 by purplerosebud from Petersfield, Hampshire United Kingdom on Saturday, July 22, 2006
Excellent read! I enjoyed this book very much. I find Philippa Gregory's books really bring history alive for me and make it all far more enjoyable than it ever was at school. Her style of writing makes it all so imaginable I can just picture the scenes in my mind.

Lovely to have been at the top of this ray list, thanks for sharing. I will be passing it on to calalilly very soon.

Journal Entry 8 by calalilly from Waterlooville, Hampshire United Kingdom on Sunday, August 06, 2006
Sorry for not doing the journal when Purplerosebud passed this book onto me. Thank you also for slotting me into this ray after Purplerosebud as well.
I really enjoyed this book,reading about Katherine's life, when she first came over to England and her love for Arthur that carried her through her life to fulfil her destiny of being Queen of England. I find Philippa Gregory such a brilliant writer.

Journal Entry 9 by ktwalker from Aston, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 09, 2006
recieved today, already 100 pages into it, just can't put it down!

Journal Entry 10 by ktwalker from Aston, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Thursday, August 10, 2006
I really enjoyed this book, It was interesting and well written covering her childhood through to her early years of marriage to Henry, the only downside was that while she enjoyed telling us the unknown parts of Katherines history as soon as we got to the well known bit there was a 16 year jump to her divorce, I personally would have liked a few chapters covering this period, the birth of Mary, the realisation that Anne is more than just another of his conquests, and if I'm honest while the hearing on the validity of her marriage was a dramatic place to end it may have been nice to follow her after she has lost her throne.

Journal Entry 11 by ktwalker from Aston, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Posted today to Drusillamac.

Journal Entry 12 by Drusillamac from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Excellent, I'm looking forward to reading this one. Thanks to pennywhistler and ktwalker for sharing.

Journal Entry 13 by Drusillamac from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, September 11, 2006
This was one of the first books I read while on holiday this week. Thanks to Bookcrossing, I have become a massive Phillipa Gregory fan!

I think history of this period (well, popular history) tends to focus on Anne Boylen. However, Katherine's story is just as dramatic. I enjoyed the switch between Katherine's thoughts and the third person narrative. It gave more insight into the motives of other characters such as Henry VII and so on. I do agree with ktwalker - I would have liked to have read more about the birth of Mary and so on. However, the book is packed full already so perhaps Gregory was advised about writing anymore on this.

I will PM angellica for an address and post this book when I get home later this week. Thanks again for sharing!

Journal Entry 14 by Drusillamac from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, September 25, 2006
I am sending this book onto angellica tomorrow. Apologies for the delay!

Journal Entry 15 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Friday, September 29, 2006
Arrived safely today. Thanks for sharing

Journal Entry 16 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 04, 2007
I have had this book far too long so I'm going to pass it on partially read. I have attempted to read this several times, but circumstances have overtaken me.

Maybe I'll add it to my wishlist to read at a later stage.

I've already PM'd candy-is-dandy for her address and I'll post it on as soon as I have it.

Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 17 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Thursday, July 05, 2007
candy-is-dandy has asked to be skipped so will PM neverbelilith (new bookshelf: perditaxknit)

Update: 16 July:

Had a message back from perditaxknit and she already has a copy so I will PM LennyB

Journal Entry 18 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Monday, August 20, 2007
LennyB has already read it too! Have now posted to abrokenstarr.

Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 19 by abrokenstarr from Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, August 23, 2007
I have two in front of this. Arrived two days ago, thankyou Angellica!

Journal Entry 20 by abrokenstarr from Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom on Monday, October 22, 2007
This is the tale of Catalina the Infanta, later Katherine of Aragon, first married to Arthur, prince of Wales and then, after his death, married to King Henry the VII. As with all of Gregory's books, she looks at the bare facts as she finds them and then creates a narrative and characters around those facts.


The facts of this work are that Catalina was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. She was the wife of Arthur and was married to him to try and unite the kingdoms of Spain and England. Arthur died not long after their marriage. Katherine then claimed that their marriage was never consummated. She was then betrothed to prince Henry by Henry VII.

Except, he then broke the betrothal, betrothing Henry to another. After Henry VII's death, Henry VIII pushed on with marrying Katherine of Aragon, getting an annulment for her previous marriage and a dispensation for a marriage to him.

They were married for a long time, yet only one live child was born - Mary although Mary's birth isn't in the book.

The fictional elements create the interest in the reader. The awareness of just how young Catalina was when she was ripped from her home (although it was something she had always expected) and planted in a country she knew nothing about. Her love for Arthur and her sense of loss when he died. There was also her ambition, her desire to take a leading role in the country in the same way as her mother. Her manipulation to ensure that Henry was away while she invaded Scotland. Her philosophising over the rightness or wrongness of her family's crusades and destroying of the Moors.

All in all, quite interesting.


Already sent a message to Miss R. My apologies I haven't got around to this much sooner.

Journal Entry 21 by abrokenstarr from Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 28, 2007
No response from Miss-R.

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