Starz's Tudor-focused period drama The Spanish Princess will return for its second season this Fall, and the premium cable network has dropped the first trailer for the show's return.
Spoiler alert: It's gorgeous.
As the series' second installment begins, Catherine of Aragon finally has everything she's worked so hard for since her arrival in England. She's married to the man she loves, she's crowned Queen of England in her own right, and she has every expectation of a long and happy life on the throne. And while we all know that her story will ultimately end in tragedy and despair, The Spanish Princess clearly intends to show us a Catherine beyond the one most often remembered in the history books.
Popular culture often tells us that Henry VIII's first wife was frumpy, dull, and overly pious, a boring footnote on the way to the arrival of the vivacious and world-breaking Anne Boleyn, the woman a king loved enough to throw away thousands of years of religious tradition for - before he had her head cut off, of course. But there is more to Catherine's story than its unhappy end, and that's what The Spanish Princess works diligently to highlight.
The series is the third installment based on Philippa Gregory’s bestselling series of novels, which aim to tell the story of England’s history from the perspective of the women involved. The White Queen and The White Princess centered on 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 traditionally limited 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.
Season 2 will see Catherine and Henry at both their highest point, as they rejoice in the birth of their first son and celebrate a burgeoning alliance with Spain, and their lowest, as tragedy threatens their happily ever after. As the years pass, their marriage grows increasingly strained in the face of Catherine's struggle to give Henry - and their kingdom - an heir.
“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 Entertainment Weekly earlier this year. “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.”
Watch the trailer for yourselves below
One of the most striking - and little known - facts about Catherine's reign is that she was actually at one point, a Queen Militant. With Henry off fighting in France, she is left as Regent in his stead and leads the English army that ultimately defeats the Scots at the Battle of Flodden. Though she herself never saw battle, that iconic sequence from the trailer featuring Catherine riding into battle in full armor while seven months pregnant is something that actually happened.
Given that we know how much tragedy and sadness exists - and will compound itself - in Catherine's life after this point, it feels more important than ever to showcase these moments in which she took charge of her own destiny, and was an incredible ruler in her own right. Because, as we all know, it's not going to last.
"There is a sadness that's going to be creeping into season 2 because gradually as tragedies unfold within their family, their marriage becomes under increasing strain," co-showrunner Matthew Graham previously told EW. "Henry's distrust, his fear that he has upset God, grows and grows, and that creates a madness, which becomes a wedge between them and their marriage."
The Spanish Princess Season 2 will premiere on Starz on October 11.
Are you looking forward to more of this show? Let's discuss in the comments.