Premium cable Starz announced its new limited series The Spanish Princess, based on two more of best-selling author Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction novels. The series will adapt Gregory’s The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse to tell the story of King Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Much of her life will probably be familiar to viewers, as she was the woman thrown over and then divorced in favor of the infamous Anne Boleyn. But Catherine’s life story contains a great deal more drama than that.
The young Infanta of Spain was engaged as a child to Prince Arthur (son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, whom you’ll remember if you watched the The White Princess. After arriving in England as a teenager she wed, saw her new husband die a little over six months after his wedding, lived as a pauper while her parents and former father-in-law wrestled over her dowry, and eventually found herself in favor again, after receiving a dispensation which allowed her to become engaged to her former brother-in-law.
So, yeah, there’s a whole going on here well before Anne Boleyn ever shows up on the scene.
The official synopsis desribes the story thusly:
Catherine of Aragon, is the beautiful teenaged princess of Spain who was promised the English throne since she was a child. She arrives in a grey, rain-lashed England with her glorious and diverse court including her lady-in-waiting Lina — an African Moor. She is Princess of Wales now, but when her husband Prince Arthur dies suddenly, the throne seems lost to Catherine. Until she claims her marriage was never consummated and that as a virgin she may set her sights on the new heir, the charismatic and headstrong Prince Harry who will one day rule as King Henry VIII.
The Spanish Princess will mark Starz’s third series based on Gregory’s novels and though none of them are direct sequels to one another, they still all feel as though they could exist in the same world. (Yes, even though different actors played the same roles between White Queen and White Princess.) This is likely do to the continuity of the creative team between the various follow-up series. Emma Frost will once again be serving as showrunner and executive producer, alongside Life on Mars’ Matthew Graham.
The series – both Gregory’s novels and Frost’s television adaptations – are well known for their focus on the female perspective in historical fiction, so we can probably expect The Spanish Princess to follow a similar style. Furthermore, given the time period in which it occurs, it’s highly likely that we’ll get to see some version of the characters from The White Princess, as King Henry, Queen Elizabeth and Lady Margaret Beaufort all have significant roles in this story. No, they probably won’t be played by Jodie Comer or Michelle Fairley, but still!
Are you looking forward to more stories in the White Queen/White Princess universe? Excited about the idea of The Spanish Princess? Let’s discuss in the comments!