- The Spanish Princess -5 Theories For ‘The Spanish Princess’ Season 2 That Tease The Honeymoon Is Over
The most (in)famous figure in the British monarchy has to be King Henry VIII — the English royal who broke from the Pope and the Catholic Church to leave his first wife of 22 years and wed Anne Boleyn, changing the course of the United Kingdom forever. Heck, there’s even a musical told from the perspective of his six(!) wives detailing his scandalous escapades, aptly called Six.
But instead of focusing on the oft-trodden later years of King Henry VIII’s reign, Starz’s The Spanish Princess tells the story of Catherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife and first true love who became Queen.
Following in the footsteps of Starz’s two previous limited series based on Philippa Gregory’s novels, The White Queen and The White Princess, The Spanish Princess chooses to place the women in history front and center, which is not often the case in our school textbooks. We learn about their journeys to acquire power, leverage, trust, friendship, romance, and happiness all through a royal lens. Talk about easier said than done.
Ahead of the second season’s premiere on October 11 — and after watching the latest trailer on repeat — I've got some theories as to what we think is in store for Catherine and her frenemies in the Tudor court.
Is The Honeymoon Stage Over?
Last time we saw good old Henry VIII and La Infanta herself, the regal lovebirds were right about to tie the knot in a private wedding at the Church of the Observant Friars in Greenwich. They had beat the odds to finally be together, receiving Papal dispensation and defying Harry's Machiavellian grandmother Lady Margaret Beaufort despite her most devilish efforts. But their past, suspected infidelities crept in and revealed distrust between the pair that we had not seen before.
As history told, Princess Catherine of Aragon arrived in England to wed Harry's late brother Arthur, who died not long after. However, Catherine was determined to become Queen and fulfill her destiny to unite Spain with England. As the series tracks, she denied ever consummating her marriage to Arthur, making her eligible to wed Harry.
Similarly for Harry's part, when Catherine’s sister Joanna, Queen of Castile, came to visit, she made a move on Harry and later told her father Harry had lain with her, much to Catherine’s dismay.
This all comes to a head in the final scene of Season 1, when Harry vehemently denies the tryst and asks Catherine the rhetorical question, “You didn’t lie with Arthur either, did you?” Their love affair was passionate to be sure, but here we see they meet as equals and willingly bury the past to go into the marriage.
As the trailer shows, we see trouble brewing in paradise for Harry and a pregnant Catherine. We hear her ponder, “We are strong, but is strength enough?” Crowned and ruling together, they face not only pressure to govern, but most importantly, the (misogynistic) responsibility to produce male heirs to fulfill the Tudor line of succession.
We know they eventually have a daughter, Mary I of England. But Catherine endured multiple miscarriages and we likely will see the heartbreak for the couple, as she says in the trailer, “I stand here with a void in my body.” Her lady’s maid also leans into Harry's unfaithful behavior, which may lead to a familiar face...
Anne Boleyn, Anyone?
Many movies and shows have hinged upon King Henry’s fiery relationship with Anne Boleyn. The Other Boleyn Girl. The Tudors. But you have to wonder, as Catherine’s lady’s maid (possibly Harry's younger sister, Princess Mary?) alludes to in the trailer when she says, “There are others the King looks to,” if one of those women at court is in fact Anne Boleyn.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creators Emma Frost and Matthew Graham hinted that we may see the Boleyn girls appear in Season 2, as we saw the sisters as very young girls in Season 1. “All little girls grow up,” Graham teased.
Where Do Loyalties Lie For Lina And Oviedo?
When Catherine arrived in England to unite the country with Spain, she brought her best friend and confidante, Lina de Cardonnes, to be her lady-in-waiting. Along the way, Lina, a Black woman who is of Moorish ancestry but practices Catholicism, meets the man who would become her husband, Oviedo, a Black man who is Muslim and one of Catherine’s guards.
But because of their differing religious views and classes, the two struggle to embrace their relationship and define their loyalties. After proposing to Lina, Oviedo asked Lina in the finale if she would put their relationship and their family above Catherine. And she does, confessing to Harry's grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, that Catherine did sleep with Arthur and consummate the marriage.
However, that was all under duress after Margaret framed Oviedo and had him arrested for helping reunite Catherine and Harry. Before his sentenced hanging, the Sergeant allowed Lina and Oviedo to marry in a ceremony honoring both their Muslim and Catholic faiths. But in the nick of time, Harry and Catherine stop the hanging and Oviedo is the one who reveals the Pope gave his dispensation for the royals to wed weeks prior.
Looking ahead, and as far as the trailer is concerned, Lina and Oviedo are enjoying the perks of married life and as friends of the King’s court. Yet Lina worries for Catherine’s distress and the toll it could take on her pregnancy. But will Lina and Oviedo's loyalties to each other be a sticking point as political power rears its ugly head?
And while Catherine forgave Lina in the finale for confessing to Lady Margaret and did not bring it up again, I do wonder if that will come back to haunt their friendship later on...
How's Meg Doing Over In Scotland?
Anyone else wondering what happened to Meg since we last saw her midway through Season 1? Well, to refresh your memory (and mine), Harry's little sister Margaret, “Meg,” was dreading her betrothal to King James IV of Scotland, another marriage to forge a political alliance for England. RIP to the idea of marrying for love.
But when she meets her husband-to-be, he is a lot less ghastly than she’d dreaded, and as we can tell from the look on her face, handsome even. As the trailer reveals, Meg is back in The Spanish Princess world in a big way in Season 2 — with England going to war with Scotland (and France), leaving Meg and Catherine caught in the crossfire.
Women Will Remain Resilient As Ever — On & Off The Battlefield
But just because they are caught in between their husbands and their families, that does not mean that these ladies are wallflowers on the side of the battlefield. In the trailer, Catherine proudly dons armor, while pregnant, an image rarely if ever seen.
At first, Harry says he will captain his forces into France, but his advisor warns that his leaving would leave England exposed. With the war raging, Catherine sees that “England is a land of women and children in our army’s absence,” and that someone “must defend them.” Taking it upon herself, she vows that “men and women of England, I promise I would never stop fighting.”
We see Harry become enraged at the idea that Catherine would rather be a soldier than "act the wife," but Catherine says if she were to act that way, she would be someone else. And in fact, she is the rightful Spanish “Queen” now — defying the whimpers of men and leading the charge.