Star period drama The Spanish Princess is returning for its second and final season later this year, and we’ve finally got a first look at the new season. (Spoiler alert: It’s very pretty.)
The series is the third installment based on Philippa Gregory’s bestselling series of novels, that aim to tell the story of England’s history from the perspective of the women involved. The White Queen and The White Princess told the stories of Elizabeth Woodville and her daughter Elizabeth of York during the Wars of the Roses, and The Spanish Princess has now taken us into the Tudor era. It’s the first of these series to score what is essentially a second season, which will take the form of an additional eight episodes to “wrap up” Catherine’s story.
Stars Charlotte Hope and Ruairi O’Connor will both return as Catherine of Aragon and Henry Tudor, respectively, along with Stephanie Levi-John as Lina de Cardonnes, Georgie Henley as Margaret Tudor, the Queen of Scotland, and Laura Carmichael as Lady Margaret Pole. They'll be joined by a handful of new faces for the series' second half, including Ray Stevenson as King James IV of Scotland; Sai Bennett as Mary Tudor, destined to become Queen of France; Andrew Buchan as Sir Thomas More, who will one day become one of Catherine's most stalwart defenders and a martyr in his own right.
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly, we now have our first look at Season 2 of the popular period drama, and the two official images that were released both feature a Henry and Catherine at the height of their power and happiness. In June of 1509, on Midsummer’s Day, the two were crowned together as King and Queen of England, and at the time it must have seemed as though the world was at their feet – they were young, in love, and two of the most powerful people in the world.
Of course, we all know they don’t stay like that – and that Catherine’s seemingly happy ending is slowly and inexorably heading toward the arrival of a woman named Anne Boleyn, who will end up taking both her husband and her crown. But the two were married for over twenty years before the part of the story that everyone’s most familiar with happens, and it’s exciting that The Spanish Princess aims to tell more of Catherine’s story than the part where her life was ruined.
Granted, there are certainly aspects of this drama that aren’t what you might call historically accurate. But The Spanish Princess is still wildly entertaining, and it’s exciting to watch a new, more sympathetic take on a woman who was truly ahead of her time.
Yet, her struggles to provide her husband with a male heir will slowly eat away at the foundation of her happy marriage, and despite her many personal successes as a wife and monarch, will ultimately lead to her downfall.
“A huge part of this season is something that's so rarely written about or portrayed on TV, which is a woman's struggle, or a couple's struggle, to have a child, and the absolute anguish that can cause,” showrunner Emma Frost told EW. “I'm proud of the way that we portray that and really showed the emotional toll that takes, and how it impacts a relationship, particularly for two monarchs in the Tudor period, where whether or not you have a son is the measure in your mind of whether or not God loves you.”
But that’s not the only remarkable thing we’ll see this season.
One of the most impressive things about Catherine as a monarch is that she was a co-ruler with Henry, and left in charge as Regent when he was away. This fact saw her literally sit at the head of the English army and lead them to war against the Scots at, something that The Spanish Princess will attempt to recreate.
“There are moments when he's out of the country, she is regent, and it's chronicled that she went to war against the Scots in his absence, and heavily pregnant,” showrunner Matthew Graham explained. “That's going to be one of the most exciting and iconic bits of the season 2 for us, is Catherine pregnant in armor.”
These miniseries have all consistently been champions for feminist perspectives and the idea of historical stories that center the experiences of and challenges faced by the same women who have been erased by history far too often. Seeing how Frost and Graham choose to wrap up Catherine’s story – will it end with her abandonment by Henry, or at some point earlier, before there’s still hope it might end happily?
There’s no official premiere date yet for Season 2, but it’s currently slated to debut at some point this Fall.
Are you looking forward to more The Spanish Princess? Let’s discuss in the comments.