The Constant Princess – by Philippa Gregory

11 09 2017

I aimed to read a load of books on holiday, but I realised that when I was a child I think I got so much reading done on the long car journeys; now it’s me driving, I’ve lost all that reading time!

I’d been thinking about trying a Philippa Gregory book for a while, and always liked the Tudors, so when it came to topping up an Amazon order to get free delivery I tacked this one on my basket.

She’s written so many books, but helpfully has put a suggested reading order together so you get a chronological flow.

Posted by Philippa Gregory on Monday, July 7, 2014

It may look like I’ve started in the middle, but I decided to go for the one about the first of Henry VIII’s wives, Katherine of Aragon. That said, once I was reading it I kinda wished I’d started one book further back on Henry VII’s wife, but I imagine I’d work my way right back if I did that – maybe one day I will!

We start with Catalina age five in Spain to get a bit of background – at this point she’s already betrothed to Henry VII’s oldest son Arthur (Henry VIII’s older brother), and then quite quickly skip forward nine years to her arrival in England for her wedding to the Prince of Wales.

It’s hard to know how much to share without a spoiler alert because this is based on history – we all know that Arthur died before he made it to the throne because we know there was never a Tudor King Arthur! That said, there’s a lot to read about their relationship, and then of course how she ended up to be married to his younger brother later on.

I’d be fascinated to know where the line is between fact and artistic licence in these books. They are said to be very well researched, but how far does that go? Did a very young Prince Henry really walk her down the aisle to Arthur? Probably. Did Henry VII really storm in her bedroom to check she was attractive when she first arrived to marry his son? Who knows! All sorts of questions arise!

I really enjoyed this and can see me at some point working my way through the series, just got lots of other books to get through in the mean time!