My Writer's Journal

Behind the Books: Patience, Princess Catherine

July 7, 2013

The Tudors: Catherine of Aragon
Just imagine being 14-year-old Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Queen Isabel and King Fernando of Spain, and you're sent off to England to marry Prince Arthur, heir to the throne. It takes weeks to ride your mule across Spain to a port city. You sail for England, but storms just about drown you. You finally reach this strange new country and meet your future husband. He's younger than you, shorter than you, and he doesn't speak Spanish. You don't speak English. You manage to communicate in Latin.

Then your young husband dies. What to do? If you go home to Spain, your in-laws won't return your dowry, and it's huge. If you stay in England, you have no status. You're in your mid-teens, a widow, and a virgin. And you're miserable.

But there, waiting in the wings, is Arthur's kid brother, Henry. He's young--younger even than Arthur. There are those who want you to marry him and those who don't. It doesn't matter what YOU want.

In terms of the historical timeline, PATIENCE, PRINCESS CATHERINE should have been written first. But since I had no idea when I started that MARY, BLOODY MARY would launch a series of Young Royals, it didn't work out that way. The idea of leaving one's home and family and all that was familiar to journey to a distant country for the purpose of marrying a total stranger, knowing that you will never see your parents or your country again--that was a concept that intrigued me.

Catherine's story begins in 1501. In the centuries that followed, that same scenario has been played out over and over, countless young women making long, difficult, and dangerous journeys to join their lives with a total stranger, hoping and praying that it would all work out for the best. Sometimes it did, and sometimes...not so much.


  1. July 7, 2013 10:30 PM MDT
    It annoys me when people suggest that Catalina wasn't a virgin when she married Harry. I like Phillippa Gregory's newer stuff (the Cousins War is pretty good), but I HATE her book on Catalina.
    - Daya Ryelle

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