I am Katherine of Aragon, Infanta of Spain, Queen of England….a/k/a Off the Shelf Book #3

I’ve always been fascinated by England, all things British and the royalty too. Those who know me are probably already geeked for the party I will be throwing for Kate and Will’s wedding, with full on finger sandwiches and Princess Di memorabilia.  Of late, Patrick and I have been watching “The Tudors,” using our lack of cable television as an opportunity to get caught up on all the shows we didn’t watch while we were watching stupid shit like The Amazing Race.  Which, of course, led me to my third book in the “Off the Shelf” challenge, The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory.

Now, before all my history buff readers get their panties in a knot (CK, this means you), I KNOW that these are not historically accurate books, but I just LOVE them. Gregory has the ability to write a fictional accounting of history that weaves in enough of what actually happened to satisfy the historically curious in me, while adding in just enough fiction to keep me up late at night reading. Not only that, she portrayed Katherine of Aragon for who she really was–a total badass, a woman far ahead of her time, whose intelligence and machinations kept her alive in an era when she could easily have been tossed aside in a matter of seconds.

If you’re at all interested in the Tudors and the first of Henry’s 6 wives, from a “fictional” accounting, of course, I suggest picking up The Constant Princess.


6 thoughts on “I am Katherine of Aragon, Infanta of Spain, Queen of England….a/k/a Off the Shelf Book #3

  1. First, for all of Kelly’s loyal readers, this is CK. Okay, while I am able to take Gregory’s books for what they are i.e. good and engrossing reads with little historical value. I do have to disagree on one thing the great Ms. Kelly said….Catherine of Aragon was NOT ahead of her time nor a badass. But she was exactly what she should have been and was raised to be; which is her great tragedy. She was the perfect princess and a wonderful, and justly much loved, Queen. Had she been ahead of her time, she would have (and by all accounts, could have) raised commons and nobles to her cause (that being to not get divorced) and Henry VIII might not have been king anymore. But, queens don’t talk back, they sufffer silently, and honor their vows and husbands. Which she did, till the day she died. Such a kind and great queen was she, that Catherine even found in her heart pity for Anne Boleyn when she heard of her arrest.

    However, out of all of Gregory’s books, this is probably the best of the bunch.

  2. CK–While the book did not concentrate on Katherine’s struggle to remain queen after Anne Boleyn “captured” Henry’s heart, the way she was portrayed in the book up until that point was pretty hardcore and badass….she went to war against Scotland while pregnant, in Henry’s stead, while he was at war in France. You have to admit, that’s pretty freakin’ badass, especially for a woman, in England, in early 1500’s.

    Ultimately, for me, The Tudors television series (end of season 2, especially) made me sympathize with Anne Boleyn, and this book made me sympathize greatly for Katherine of Aragon

    I guess it’s time to move on to Queen #3, Jane Seymour, and see what’s going on with her….LOL….her biography should only be about 1,200 pages as she was only queen for 10 months!

    1. Well, she oversaw the war, from court, while others fought it. What was kinda awesome about it is that: Henry was in France and won some piddling “battle” of little consequence while the scottish war saw the death of hundreds of scottish lords AND the king. Catherine did her best not to make Henry feel stupid about it! lol

      I am now very excited for you to read the Alison Weir book. She is the premier tudor biographer (I’m sure David Starkey hates that) and when you read her, you’ll see why.

      I feel very bad for Anne Boleyn…she WAS ahead of her time for a woman. Though it was the flaws in her personality, and her inability to have a son, which led to her downfall rather than anything she actually did (which we all know she didn’t). I think Natalie Dormer, the actress who played her on the Tudors, really captured the spirit of Anne Boleyn, if at least, the writers lost the history a bit. I really respect the writers, however, for maintaining the historical accuracy of her imprisonment and execution though. THAT did not need to be ‘fluffed’ up for drama.

      What is interesting is that all of Henry’s wives had sad endings except Anne of Cleves…the one he didn’t love.

      Also, fiction-wise, I did enjoy immensely Margaret George’s Henry the VIII book…told from Henry’s perspective (mostly) with “notes by his fool Will Somers” I will loan you that one, too. It’s at my folks.

      1. I agree that Natalie Dormer is FANTASTIC in the role of Anne Boleyn. It truly seemed as if it was the role she was born to play. Henry was just such an ass. Everytime he kept yelling at Anne Boleyn for not having a son and miscarrying I wanted to yell that it was his fault there was no son and that he was obviously deficient in that aspect. Oh, if only we knew then what we know now!

  3. “The Autobiography of Henry the VIII”

    She also did one on Mary, Queen of Scots (I have that one too). Also, she has a new one of Elizabeth I coming out new! yay! The this intergoogle is awesome!

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