The Constant Princess By Philippa Gregory
This is the fourth novel in a series of historical fiction about the British Kings and Queens, featuring Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Anne Boleyn. This novel takes us back to the childhood of Henry VIII and his older brother Arthur, heir to the throne. It is Arthur who is the first husband of Catalina, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, King and Queen of Spain.
As Ferdinand and Isabella ruthlessly rid Spain of the Moors and Jews, the British Isles, during the reign of Henry VII, is a relatively peaceful country, concerned about the power of France and the threat of Scottish invasion, but not at war.
The marriage of Arthur and Catalina is one of equality and love–they are committed to being the best King and Queen for England when the day comes that Arthur will succeed his father.
However, when Arthur dies before his father, Catalina is left in limbo and the only way that she can now become Queen is to marry the younger son, Henry. She accomplishes this with determination and skillful manipulation. As Queen Katherine of England she reigns with and directs the actions of Henry VIII.
Hers is a fascinating story and this novel brings her to life along with her husband, his parents and hers–and tells the story of the strong women who ruled both Spain and England in the early 1500’s.