The Constant Princess is a historical novel by Philippa Gregory, published in 2005. The novel depicts a fictionalized version of the life of Catherine of Aragon.
Plot summary 
The book starts at Alhambra Palace, when Catalina is five years old. Her family is constantly traveling and fighting battles against the Moors, or African Muslims, whom they are trying to drive out of Spain. Katherine, or Catalina as she is called in Spanish, faces the dangers to which she is exposed bravely and learns the skills and tactics needed to be a strong military leader. Even as a young child, Catalina expresses pride in her titles of Infanta of Spain as well as Princess of Wales (this title resulting from her betrothal to Prince Arthur of England.) Her mother, Queen Isabella I of Castile, is an outstanding commander, with a great ability to make wise tactical decisions as well as effectively rally her troops. The Moors are being persecuted because they will not accept the Catholic religion.
The book then skips over to Dogsmerfield, England when she meets Henry VII and her fiance, Arthur Tudor. King Henry VII is strongly attracted to her, but keeps his feelings under control, exhibiting a very gruff manner towards her. Arthur does not appeal particularly to Catalina, as he is uncomfortable and quiet. On their wedding night, Arthur is almost too nervous to consummate their marriage, but Catalina knows they must and strongly encourages him. The tension, awkwardness, and lack of understanding between the two causes them to have a very discordant and cold relationship for a few months. Finally, Arthur becomes so angry that he orders Catalina to accompany him to Ludlow Castle in the freezing weather without showing much care for her safe travel. She is miserably cold in a litter on the way and almost becomes ill. She is so upset that she angrily and sadly reproaches him and cries, and he realizes his ability to make her unhappy, and decides that he must be a better husband. He apologizes for his unkind behavior and she does the same, and he cares for her tenderly when they reach the castle. That night, she prepares a special meal for them and wears beautiful Arabic dress that she has brought with her. She tells him about her country and how the Spanish follow many Arabic/Moorish customs (in the areas of food, dress, decorating, but not religion). (However, the real Katherine was rigidly Catholic, and to even consider any type of tolerance towards the Muslims would have been seen as a sin to her.) They share an intimate and honest conversation, leading to the beginning of a truly happy relationship. They begin to discuss things they plan to put in place when they are king and queen to help England prosper. Catalina and Arthur share a wonderful life for several months. They discuss their families, their past, their cultures, and their future together. Arthur tells Catalina that his brother Henry is very jealous of him and will always be spoiled and greedy. However, their happiness ends when Arthur suddenly becomes ill with the sweating sickness. Arthur begs Catherine on his death bed to promise that she will marry his younger brother Henry VIII, become Queen of England, and carry out their vision for the kingdom. In order to do so, she had to deny that their marriage was consummated, which the novel depicts as one of the most audacious lies in the history of England. At first, King Henry VII proposes to Catalina, but she rejects him, making him angry. He ignores her for the next few years and does not marry her to his son Prince Henry though both young people desire to marry.
- Second Marriage
When Henry the VII dies, Henry becomes king and marries Catalina. She changes her name to the English "Katherine" when she becomes queen. She manipulatives Henry, by tricking him on their wedding night into thinking that she is a virgin (unlikely to have happened in real life) and using his naivety and adoration of her to accomplish things she wants (though these things usually are to the benefit of the kingdom). Her first pregnancy results in a miscarriage, and in desperation she consults a Moorish doctor who is more knowledgeable than the English doctors. While she is away having her baby, Henry has an affair with a woman named Anne (not Boleyn) who unknowingly convinces him that Katherine was not a virgin. The book ends with the start of Henry VIII's relationship with Katherine's lady-in-waiting, a Boleyn girl, Anne. Anne later does become Queen of England in Katherine's place, as depicted in another novel by Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl.
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