Friday, March 6, 2009

The Constant Princess

The history of Katherine of Aragon is so intertwined with England’s infamous monarch Henry VIII and his other 5 wives that it is often forgotten that she had a rich history of her own. In this fictionalized retelling of her story, Philippa Gregory tells the tale of the youngest daughter of two of the greatest Spanish monarchs – King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Brought up on the battle field, and in the Moorish Courts of Spain, the Infanta Catalina is well aware of her destiny to become the next Queen of England. Betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, since the age of three, 15 year old Catalina leaves Spain to begin her life in the English court. But disaster is waiting in the wings. The newly weds move to Ludlow castle where Arthur is taken ill and dies with in months, leaving Catalina a widow and ineligible for the throne but before his death Arthur makes her promise she will marry his brother Henry and be the queen England needs.

And so begins long years of hardship and betray as fulfilling her beloved’s dying wish is no simple matter. Catalina must convince the court her marriage was never consummated and so the logical choice as bride for Henry, a task made harder by her parents’ failure to send her dowry. But throughout Catalina stays constant and finally takes her place as Queen Katherine of England.

Part of my 100+ book challenge