Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Constant Princess

I can't believe I've only read two new books in the last month and a half. Bit rubbish, no?

Anyway, here's Philippa Gregory again, with a book about Katherine of Aragon. Substantially less racy than her usual fare, but no less fun and interesting for all that. I never connected Katherine to Ferdinand and Isabella, and I never knew how long she was married (sorry, "married") for before she married Henry VIII. In fact, I knew very little about her, and now I know more. It's interesting also to read about the contrast between the Spanish, almost Moorish life that she came from and the English court that she came into. There was no privacy for women in the English court, no harem, no hiding from the king. If he wanted to come into your room and boss your ladies around, well, he just did. And if he wanted to make you have women he was planning to fuck as your ladies in waiting, well, he just did. And if he wanted to basically hold you as a hostage in a strange country, not pay you your allowance, betroth you to his son, and leave you sitting penniless in a little house somewhere while you figured out what to do, well, he just did that too.

It wasn't all gravy for the ladies, is essentially often Gregory's point. She makes it well.

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