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The Constant Princess (The Tudor Court series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Philippa Gregory
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Splendid and sumptuous historical novel from the internationally bestselling author, Philippa Gregory, telling of the early life of Katherine of Aragon.

We think of Katherine of Aragon 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.

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‘One of Gregory's great strengths as a novelist is her ability to take familiar historical figures and flesh them into living breathing human beings. The Constant Princess is a worthy successor to her previous novels about the Tudors.’ Daily Express

‘Gregory's research is impeccable which makes her imaginative fiction all the more convincing.’ Daily Mail

‘Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images…while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent.’ DailyTelegraph

‘The contemporary mistress of historical crime fiction is Philippa Gregory. Her novels are filled with strong, determined women who take their fate into their own hands…Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England.’ Kate Mosse, Financial Times


'The contemporary mistress of historical crime fiction is Philippa Gregory. Her novels are filled with strong, determined women who take their fate into their own hands!Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England.' Kate Mosse, Financial Times Acclaim for Philippa Gregory THE VIRGIN'S LOVER: 'A book to lose yourself in...a simmering mixture of intrigue, lust and betrayal at the court of Elizabeth I, it breathes new life into the suspected love affair between the young queen and Robert Dudley' Daily Mail 'Convincing and entertaining' Daily Telegraph 'Historical fiction at its best' Choice 'An enjoyable read, and Gregory's energetic writing carries one along' Sunday Telegraph 'A fascinating new take on a story we thought we knew' Eve THE VIRGIN'S LOVER: 'Highly readable, highly enjoyable' Manchester City Life 'History has a sexy makeover in an erotic account of Elizabeth l's relationship with the married and tantalisingly unavailable Robert Dudley' Glamour, Books of the Year 'Gripping and often moving' Image 'Packed with court intrigue and sumptuous detail' Dublin Evening Herald 'Gregory's success lies in restoring humanity to her historical figures' Daily Mail 'Gregory vivdly portrays court life - all the political intrigue, divided loyalties, love and betrayal' Woman and Home 'Gregory is one of the best chroniclers of the ups and downs of the turbulent Tudors...This superbly plotted drama unfolds like an exquisitely embroidered Tudor ruff' Sainsbury's Magazine 'Queen of the historical novel' Mail on Sunday 'Gregory creates an intriguing tale with many an unexpected twist' Glasgow Herald

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More About the Author

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC Radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in History at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant worldwide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer.

Wideacre was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time.

Her next book was The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation. Then came Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol explored the human cost of slavery. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son both named John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with research and verve.

The jewel in the crown of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway bestseller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published globally, this classic historical novel won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and by Sony as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

After adding five more novels to her Tudor Court series including The Constant Princess and The Queen's Fool, two of her best-loved works, Philippa moved back in time to write about the family that preceded the Tudors, the Plantagenets. Her bestselling six-book Cousins' War series tells the story of the bloody struggle for the throne in the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women behind the scenes. The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter were adapted by the BBC and Starz in 2013 as the hugely popular TV miniseries The White Queen.

Having completed The Cousins' War series with The King's Curse, Philippa has come full circle back to the Tudor court. Her next novel will be about Kateryn Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII: The Taming of the Queen. Her other work in progress is the young adult series The Order of Darkness, set in medieval Italy after the fall of Constantinople, feared at the time to be a sign of the end of the world.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster, a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. As well as her extensive array of historical novels she has written modern novels, children's books, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book with David Baldwin and Michael Jones: The Women of the Cousins' War.

She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It! 1 Jan. 2006
I'm a fan of Philippa Gregory's other novels about the Tudor court and I found this one was no disappointment to me. In fact I enjoyed it second only to 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. She has taken a most interesting and inspiring subject and breathed into it fresh life. Katherine of Aragon is once-again the formidable and brave woman, no longer overshadowed by Anne Boleyn. I enjoyed her relationship with Arthur, which was told very tenderly and you can see how Katherine grows and matures as she achieves her life's ambition, to be Queen of England.
I'm not disappointed by this novel at all and found it to be a little more involved and interesting, less inclined to melodrama, than The Queen's Fool, or The Virgin's Lover. Good Stuff!
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not PG's best work 5 Jun. 2006
By Kristin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a fan of Philippa Gregory I was initially very disappointed with this book, and was tempted to stop reading. It definitely gets better after about a third, but some of the things which annoyed me remained. These included an excessively modern perspective (giving characters points of view and ideas they would never have held at the time) and switching between action and interior monologue, which did not really enhance the storytelling and could easily have been incorportated into the main body of the story. I at times found the writing more childish and simplistic than Philippa Greogry's earlier work, and this really detracted from my enjoyment. On the plus side, she has as usual done her research very well (though perhaps not AS well) and has crafted complex and interesting characters. The story does eventually becoming captivating and Gregory is able to portray Katherine of Aragon in a more sympathetic and complex light than the role of the silent victim she has been given by history.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! 1 Jan. 2006
By A Customer
This book compares well with The Other Boleyn Girl. I like the pace of the book and its insights into Katherine's formidable parentage and background. For me she emerges as a more rounded historical figure than I had thought. I liked the balanced approach to her Spanish and Moorish influences and the reasons, why she is able to stand up to Henry. Gregory's grasp of the historical nuances and the possible motivations for Katherine's actions in the book carried me along to the very end. I have read most of her work and I think this is her best yet - it has the Alhambra Palace and Moorish Spain, Arthur and his ambitions plus Henry V11's forceful presence. The young Henry V111 is shown to be the rather spoilt boy who will be a selfish king.
I enjoyed this book more than Earthly Joys or even Virgin's Lover and you always get a well researched book from this author -top marks.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 11 April 2006
I can not tell you howmuch I enjoyed this book. It was wonderful to get an insight into Katherine when she was a young desirable woman and not the wife that Henry divorced which is inevitably the focal point of so many books about the Tudor period. In this book Katherine is young, desirable and beautiful; we get an insight into her marriage to Arthur, about Henry's childish infatuation with her as well as learning about Katherine's character.The dignity with which she handled her time as a virtual hostage in England, her questioning of her mother's religious zeal as well as her relationship with her children as a mother vs. as a queen concerned about the well being of her country. Fantastic read,highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class 25 Mar. 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Philippa Gregory has written some excellent historical novel in the past and this one is certainly up there with the best of them. She has the ability as an author to draw you into the story in such a way as to make you feel that you have gone back in time. The sights, the sounds, even the smells of 16th century England seem to be there before your eyes and under your nose.

Children were married young in those days and the three year old child Katherine of Aragon has been betrothed to the English King's son Prince Arthur. The Prince is the heir of Henry VII. Even at that tender age Katherine realises that it is her destiny to rule England, a far off land, of which she knows nothing...

Her arrival at the English court as a young girl does not start well and Arthur seems somewhat childish in her eyes. Slowly she begins to adapt to her life at English court and the strange customs of the land and slowly but surely a tender love develops between the two. Something that is far from normal in the arranged marriages of the time.

Philippa Gregory has got the formula for these books down to a fine art and they are very interesting well researched books that are extremely readable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Having read The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance, I thought I'd go back to the beginning of the story and read more about Katherine of Aragon; she was characterised as such a class act in The Other Boleyn Girl novel (unlike in the film - but that's another story!). So The Constant Princess is the story of what made little Catalina, daughter of a warrior queen, into the steely-strong queen of the later days.

My favourite part of the novel was when Catalina and Arthur fall in love. Their awkward, unhappy adolescent relationship and its transformation into a tender and complete love, with all the passion and idealism of youth, was told very well. Philippa Gregory has a great talent for breathing fresh life into figures from history, and this relationship really came alive for me. After Arthur's death, I slightly lost interest in the novel; perhaps not all Philippa Gregory's fault, as she probably did what she could with seven lost, boring years of Catalina's isolation. The only thing sustaining the plot was Catalina's determination to keep her promise to her boy-husband and rule England for him as they had planned to do together. She has to use all her wits to steer around the obstacles to her planned marriage to the much younger "Harry", of whom she grows fond, despite knowing well his faults. Once she's got the ring on her finger, it does get a little bitty; battling the Scots one minute, and Anne Boleyn the next as it draws to a close.

The main draw of this book is a view from Katherine's mind, because in The Other Boleyn Girl she was only seen through the eyes of other characters. However, I do agree that it could have been more tightly edited towards the end, where her flashbacks and inner monologues become a bit repetitive.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
it was ok not as goods as the queens fool
Published 2 days ago by val
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I have read White Queen and Red Queen and this one puts u right in the picture couldn't put it down well written recommend
Published 3 days ago by grandmama
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent read. First read of a Philippa Gregory novel.
Published 5 days ago by w.f. hodgson
5.0 out of 5 stars The constant princess
Very interesting and well written, thanx
Published 12 days ago by jean
5.0 out of 5 stars As always, Philippa Gregory books teach history whilst providing ...
As always, Philippa Gregory books teach history whilst providing a background of fiction. I found it difficult to put the book down
Published 18 days ago by teresa lunn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this type of book. Philippa Gregory doesn't disappoint. A very enjoyable read.
Published 18 days ago by Kate Cluderay
3.0 out of 5 stars Catherine of Arrogant
This book is very enjoyable, but the problem with a historical fiction when you know the period is that it's a bit like watching Titanic - you know the iceberg is just around the... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Terrahurtz
2.0 out of 5 stars Very thin material design on it wonderful. Have to be a small person...
Very thin material design on it wonderful. Have to be a small person for this to fit adequately would not recommend this item. would do as a scarf only.
Published 20 days ago by pam saveall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 23 days ago by Susan Baker
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring!
Long drawn out narrative made worse by the writing of half chapters in the first person.
Published 25 days ago by Glenda
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