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Update on What I Am Reading



I have read another hundred pages of this book. Since the last time I updated my journal on what I was reading, Katharine and Henry VIII celebrated the birth of their son Henry by having a magnificent christening ceremony and feasts. The poor baby caught a chill and ended up dying a little over a month later. Katharine and Henry were saddened by the news, and at one point Henry blamed Katharine for the deaths of their two young children. 

The King tries to be faithful to his wife but finds it difficult to do so when a woman at court named Anne Stafford (a married woman) starts giving him lusty hints. He sends a messenger to her to let him know that he is interested in her. Anne's older brother, the Duke of Buckingham and older sister Elizabeth Stafford both learn of her intentions of sleeping with the king and try to stop her before she does. They get the news from a former lady in waiting of Katharine's, Francesca (whom Anne stupidly told of her plans with the king), who had left Katharine while she was in poverty to marry a wealthy banker below her rank. Two months after Francesca married the banker, Katharine became Queen of England and Francesca felt robbed of her position at court (Katharine was displeased with her for leaving her station and marrying someone below her rank; she refuses to talk to her or listen to her pleas in wanting to join court again). 

As this all is going on Katharine suspects she is with child again but does not wish to tell the King right away for if it is not true she does not want to disappoint him. At the same time the Duke of Buckingham comes to take Anne away and orders her to go home to her husband, where he will send her to a convent. She is surprised and shocked by this and the king's messenger had come to fetch her at the same time. His majesty's messenger tells him what has happened and the king of course is enraged. Once Buckingham returns back to court, the king sends him away and his sister Elizabeth (who I believe is Katharine's most trusted lady in waiting) to pack their belonging in one hour and get out of his sight. Elizabeth goes to the queen and tells her why she has to leave, revealing his plans on wanting to have an affair with her sister Anne. Enraged, the queen goes to visit the king where they have their first fight. Katharine comes back to her rooms exhausted and cries her heart out for she fears the King she once loved is now a different man who only wants sons. 

Once the Queen goes to sleep, she wakes up to find that she has miscarried the baby she was carrying.

I have to say that reading some of this made me quite sad, because Katharine is my favorite out of all of Henry's wives, and her bravery and resilience is something to be admired. Jean Plaidy knows how to write a good story and get your emotions going. It's as if you can feel what the characters she is writing about are feeling. 

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Update on What I Am Reading


I am currently on page 370 with this book. A lot of things have happened from the last time I wrote in my journal about this book. Katharine, who is now betrothed to Henry the heir, is living in poverty and pawning off her jewels and golden plates in order to survive and care for her ladies and household. The king does not wish for Katharine to marry his heir because her father Ferdinand is going through political turmoil in Spain (Isabella has died, leaving their daughter Juana the new queen of Castile and all of Ferdinand's influence in Castile in jeopardy). With these things happening, Katharine's value to the King of England has gone down. 

Juana and her husband Philip the Handsome are shipwrecked in England and forced to meet the King. Katharine finally gets to meet her sister during the ceremony of their arrival, but for only one day because Juana is suffering from mental illness and her husband forced her to delay the meeting with the King. I really enjoyed the description of Juana, and the reaction between her and Katharine, both sisters realizing how the other has suffered greatly during their time apart. When the two do get to have time alone, Juana is so lost in her mad love for Philip that she does not listen to anything Katharine is saying and only acknowledges the conversation when Philip is mentioned. It was quite a touching moment because it made Katharine realize that her sister was so lost in her own misfortunes that she did not care for anything she was saying.

After Juana and Philip depart from England, the story takes a new shift and is told from the P.O.V of Juana. I was very pleased with this change in the book, Juana's tragic life is very interesting to me and I was able to relate to her. Her relationship with Philip is very unhealthy, he abuses her emotionally and uses his influence over her to his own advantage. They set off to Castile so they can chase out Ferdinand and have Juana claim her throne (all to Philip's interests, Juana cares for none of this). As the son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Philip is an ambitious man. He craves for more power and wants full control of Castile. He wishes to lock Juana away and act as regent because the queen is 'mad'. Juana gets wind of this and snaps out of her craze in order to take control of her kingdom. She does a convincing enough job to please the ministers and her people. The people of Castile love Juana and see their late queen Isabella in her, but even though her madness is being held back it is still there lingering; waiting to take control of their queen.

After a large celebration, Philip takes ill and Juana immediately goes to his side to nurse him back to health. Even with her help and the help of physicians, Philip could not be saved and ended up dying. Around this time Juana was pregnant with a baby girl. The loss of her husband brought back the madness; enough for her people to even notice it to a large extent. The queen keeps her husband's coffin with her and constantly kisses the dead corpse. Her insanity is even worse than before, she orders her servants to do perilous tasks (such as only taking trips at night and going to different places..she gave birth to her daughter Catalina, named after her sister, during one of these trips). No woman is allowed near her dead husband either. Ferdinand receives news of Juana's misconducts and rushes to Castile to become regent. He is successful in doing so, and the poor mad queen is locked away with her two young children, Ferdinand and Catalina (though later on the young boy's grandfather comes to take him away).

Back in England, Henry VII is a very old man and wishes to marry Juana, not caring for the rumors of her madness. While negotiations of such a marriage proposal takes place he finally dies, leaving his son Henry as the new king. One of the first things King Henry VIII does is marry Katharine, and earlier the reason for this was explained in the book as him wishing to defy his father and having his own choice in the bride he wanted. Katharine suspects this, but gives no great thought to it because she is finally released from poverty and does not have to worry about her unpaid dowry anymore. The infanta Catalina of Aragon is now Katharine, Queen of England. 

The early reign of Henry VIII is described as very pleasant, filled with pageants, jousts, tournaments, and many hunts. The people love the new King, for he is nothing like his late father, the shrewd old boring king who never had such lavish entertainments this much. Where I left off, Katharine gives birth to a son that is named after the king and their love for each other is extraordinary. 

I really enjoyed what I have read so far and am excited to devour this book even more.
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Update on What I Am Reading



I am very pleased with this book so far. I have read about 170 pages and it is very well written. Katharine's marriage to Arthur was short in this book, not every detail being described, but still entertaining to read. King Henry VII's character is very well done, although his reaction to the death of his wife should have been a bit more emotional in my opinion.

I really enjoyed the author's take on the consummation of Arthur and Katharine's marriage as well. The King ordered the couple to wait until they are older, which I thought was very plausible.

After Arthur's death, a whirlwind of things happen. Katharine is moved into mourning for her young dead husband, the king's second son henry becomes the new heir to the throne, and negotiations between Spain and England begin. Henry VII briefly considers marrying Katharine himself, but decides against it once he finds another foreign match to cling on to. Through the negotiations, Katharine is now betrothed to the king's new heir.

As I already said, I really do enjoy this book and can't wait to read more of it.
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The Constant Princess



I have read about 20 more pages of the book. Arthur and Catherine are finally getting along and being a happily married couple. Not sure how to feel on the author's take of the consummation of their marriage though. There wasn't much that happened besides the couple moving to a new castle in the freezing cold.
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What I am Currently Reading



First off, I absolutely adore Catherine of Aragon, she is probably my favorite wife of henry viii. I have read other books by this author, (The Boleyn Inheritance being one) and know that she sometimes is historically inaccurate.

The first few chapters, which I have finished, are not too bad though I have issues with Henry VII being attracted to her and treating his queen unkindly (it is said that Henry loved his wife Elizabeth, and when she died he was never the same again). With these few minor issues I think I like the book so far. It's definitely feeding my craving for a good renaissance historical novel.
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