Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Constant Princess

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The Constant Princess

by Philippa Gregory

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory X
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2005, 400 pages
    Aug 2006, 416 pages

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Philippa Gregory was born in Kenya in 1954, and moved to England with her family at the age of two.  She was a rebel at school, attempting to organize her fellow pupils into a Union and barely scraping through her A Levels (exams taken before leaving school at 18).  Needing to earn a living she trained as a journalist before realizing that she ought to be at University.  She went to Sussex University to read English but had to take a compulsory Introduction to History course in her first year - the studies were a revelation which would transform her life; she swapped her degree to History and discovered a passion for the past. 

She lives in the North of England with her husband and two children; in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening, she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia in partnership with Ismail Sisay, which she started in 1993 after being persuaded to give a donation to Ismail. At the time of writing 60 wells have been built, providing irrigation to 60 school gardens which in turn allows the school children to learn the skills of sustainable agriculture and grow vegetables for their school lunches (without which many would go hungry), with the surplus produce sold to provide stationery and educational equipment for the schools.

She is the author of the Lacey trilogy and at least ten stand-alone novels including The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), The Queen's Fool (2003), The Virgin's Lover (2004) and The Boleyn Inheritance - just released in the UK and due out in hardcover in the USA this December.

A portrait of Katherine of Aragon.

This article was originally published in January 2006, and has been updated for the August 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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