The Constant Princess (The Tudor Court No.1) – Philippa Gregory
Originally published in 2005
Catalina, the Infanta of Spain, was born to great and terrible parents and grew up on the edge of a battlefield. She knows that her destiny is to marry Prince Arthur, son of the Tudor king Henry VII, and to one day be Queen of England. When the time for the wedding comes, however, nothing is as she expected. England is cold and wet, the Tudors are dour and suspicious, and in this country, all of a queen’s power depends on the will of her husband. Which makes it all the worse that Catalina and Arthur do not know what to make of each other at all. But Catalina will surprise herself in what she can do – and she will surprise the whole of England.
Having read the Cousins War series, the last book of which overlaps with The Constant Princess, I was interested to see how Gregory would approach a period I know more about and how she would write the key players. The Constant Princess hinges on a controversial theory and I wasn’t quite sure what to think of it, but the historical facts are so strange that any narrative trying to go behind the scenes would have to make some pretty big jumps. I love the way Gregory focuses on the women of history, not just the famous ones but the lesser known figures who were a part of that world – it was particularly fascinating to learn about Katherine’s extraordinary warrior-queen of a mother. The Tudor Court series continues with The Other Boleyn Girl.