The Spanish Princess Showrunners Tease War & Romantic Drama in Season 2—God Save the Queen … From the Future Queen
— The Spanish Princess (@SpanishPrincess) May 7, 2020
My guilty pleasure show, The Spanish Princess, is returning to Starz this fall, and that means a lot of historically inaccurate sex drama, semi-accurate political drama, and most importantly, seeing Catherine of Aragon being happy and successful with red hair before Anne Boleyn shows up.
I was genuinely surprised how The Spanish Princess, while very historically dubious, used its story as a way to really shine some light on Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine. Very often, due to the big juicy part being his affair and later divorce from Anne Boleyn, we skip to the end of Catherine and Henry’s twenty-two-year marriage, which encompassed one daughter, several stillborns and miscarriages, and many mistresses.
Entertainment Weekly spoke with showrunners Emma Frost and Matthew Graham about what we have to look forward to as we watch Catherine’s historic rise, which we know will only end in tragedy.
At the beginning of the story, we will see our intrepid queen “at the high point of her happiness and her glory,” but that will all be haunted by her “lie” that she never consummated her marriage with her dead first husband, Prince Arthur—the older brother of her new husband, King Henry VIII.
The Royals are messy.
In addition to issues at home, Henry VIII’s reign will also be tested with conflicts in both France and Scotland, the latter of which will lead to a war that leaves Catherine as Queen Regent in England. “That’s going to be one of the most exciting and iconic bits of the season 2 for us, is Catherine pregnant in armor,” Graham teases. “She’s a great tactician, and her knowledge really helped England.”
However, that can also lead to jealousy, and Graham says one of Catherine’s challenges as queen will be “attempting to understand, placate, and please Henry, and hold on to his love.” Having your queen be more victorious than you in war can be a real ego bruiser.
One of my favorite parts of the series was the character of Lina and her relationship with her husband, Oviedo. Very often, period dramas ignore the diversity that did exist during the time period, and the creators of The Spanish Princess not only managed to include two Black characters with their own storylines, but they also got to have their own love story, separate from the white leads.
This season, Lina and Ovideo’s relationship will be a foil to Catherine and Henry’s. “Lina and Oviedo are our moral heart of the show,” Frost said. “Oviedo will rise in the court. He will be noticed by Henry, and his status improves and increases. He becomes part of Henry’s inner circle. For a while.”
We will also get to see how Lina and Oviedo’s life is affected by the changing religious climate in England and the gradual anti-immigrant resentment that grew at the time will affect their lives in London.
“It gives us a chance to explore the pressures that they face at key moments in history, one of those being the gradual resentment of people [toward] foreigners, not people of color, but just people who were not English trading and living in England. They gave us an opportunity to write interesting parallels about immigration and Brexit.”
Even at its most silly, what I have admired about Frost and Graham’s Tudor series is that they are interested in putting the stories of different women at the forefront. I may not always agree with their visions of certain historical figures, but I respect their lack of pure reverence for the source material and how they have used it as a platform to tell stories about women.
I’m looking forward to its return and watching my favorite Tudor consort go through it.
(via EW, image: Starz)
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