As I have stated in my reviews for The Boleyn King and The Boleyn Deceit, anything that has to do with the Tudor court and Elizabethan England I find completely fascinating. Philippa Gregory is actually the main reason for this, six years ago I picked up The Other Boleyn Girl and I’ve been obsessed ever since.
The Constant Princess is the sort of prequel to The Other Boleyn Girl. The story follows that of Princess Catalina of Spain who is to become Queen Katherine of England. It follows her as she falls in love with her first husband Arthur – Henry’s brother – and is thrown for a ride when he dies and makes her promise that no matter what she will become Queen of England, even if that means telling the world a lie.
I found this book fascinating. I always felt bad for Katherine while I was reading TOBG. How sad is it to be married to the King of England, and not only does he sleep around with other women, but he has the gall to ask her to give up her crown so he can crown one of his other mistresses? Terrible. This book made me feel even worse for her. She goes through so much! First, trying to fall in love with her first husband, and then when she finally does he makes her promise on his deathbed that she will marry his younger brother. Then there’s trying to persuade the King that she’s the perfect fit for the only heir now to the throne, and it turns out the King has been lusting after her this whole time. EW. Then, when she spurns the King, he makes her suffer by having her wait in poverty for six years until his demise.
Finally she does get her way and marries Henry, but even that has its problems. When she is with child and goes in for her isolation, Henry strays. What did people see in this guy, honestly? If he strays once, he’s going to keep on straying, especially if you don’t give him what he wants. I think what was amazing to me was the fact that Katherine did actually bare Henry a son, even if he did die ten days after his birth. Who knew?
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A great insight on to how Queen Katherine came to be and what she went through to get her crown. The only thing that I didn’t like was the pages after the death of their son. There really wasn’t a point to the story and considering the jump to when she is called to court because of Anne Boleyn, it would have made more sense to end it with the death of their son.
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