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Series / The Spanish Princess

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The Spanish Princess is a Starz historical drama series which centers around Catherine of Aragon's time in England during the latter reign of Henry VII. It premiered on May 5th, 2019. The remaining eight episodes are due to broadcast in 2020.

It is a sequel to The White Princess and by extension The White Queen.

The Spanish Princess provides examples of:

  • Action Mom: Isabella of Castile is a renowned swordswoman and regularly fights fully armoured on horseback.
  • Age Lift: Catherine of Aragon, Prince Arthur, and Prince Henry have all been aged up at least a decade for the show here, probably because teenagers in an arranged marriage isn't going to go over well with their modern audiences.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Isabella marries her daughter Joanna to the Holy Roman Emperor's son, and her daughter Catherine to the heir to England.
    • Princess Margaret is married to the King of Scotland for this reason.
  • Artistic License – History: Joanna of Castile is portrayed as an atheist who declares her disbelief in God to both her sister Catherine and her husband. However, though Joanna was reportedly impious and expressed religious skepticism, it never went this far. Reportedly, she really was tortured for saying skeptical things, and thus would presumably refrain (even or especially assuming this included atheism).
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  • Ascended Extra: Prince Harry, who wasn't born when The White Princess started (although he did get some notable scenes with Margaret Beaufort towards the show's end). Catherine herself can be considered this — she's mentioned in The White Princess and briefly depicted in it, and becomes the main character in The Spanish Princess.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Catherine for the Spanish royal family, and Princess Mary for the Tudors.
  • Black Vikings: The show has Catherine of Aragon with a black lady-in-waiting. Although the real Catherine did have a Moorish female slave named Catalina de Motril, Moors were Arab or Berber. It's also very unlikely they would ever have allowed her a guardsman who wasn't ethnically Spanish.
  • Composite Character: Lina is a composite of two historical Catalinas: Catalina de Cardenas, a highborn lady-in-waiting, and Catalina de Motril, a Moorish slave.
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  • Control Freak: Lady Margaret has a surprising number of people on her payroll in secret, including Catherine and Arthur's entire household staff. She jumps to become regent the first change she gets.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Rosa miscarries just after Lord Stafford bails on her pregnancy.
  • Courtly Love: The knights of Britain attempt to romance both of Catherine's retainers.
  • Culture Clash: The Spanish retinue insist on following their customs, for instance with Catherine taking a siesta in the afternoon, to the annoyance of the English.
  • Death by Childbirth: Elizabeth of York, in the third episode. Truth in Television. It is... rather gruesome as it occurs.
  • Death by Despair: Joanna claims to Catherine that their mother died of grief for their brother John, who died seven years ago. Truth in Television according to reports from the time.
  • Demoted to Extra: Elizabeth of York, protagonist of the previous series, only plays a supporting role this time, before dying in the third episode.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: Queen Joanna's son Charles is betrothed to Princess Mary of England, and her daughter Eleanor is betrothed to Prince Henry. Meanwhile, Catherine is angling to marry her own former brother-in-law, Prince Henry.
  • Downer Ending: Sure, Catherine has won and she and Harry are about to get married... but he suspects she's lying about not having sex with Arthur and she knows he is lying about sleeping with her sister, Joanna.
  • Dowry Dilemma:
    • Just as a marriage is agreed between Prince Henry and Catherine, her mother Isabella dies. Her father's kingdom is too poor to pay a sufficient dowry, and her sister Joanna refuses to pay.
    • Subverted: Princess Margaret doesn't want to marry James IV of Scotland, and manages to convince her grandmother that England is too poor to pay her dowry to Scotland if they haven't received Catherine's dowry from Spain. Other political circumstances eventually push the match ahead, however.
  • Dramatic Irony: In one scene, Harry declares that he's "always eating" and his mother replies that he is one of the lucky people for whom "food and good wine do not alter the girth". Give it a few years and... well...
  • Externally Validated Prophecy: Elizabeth of York's dying prophecy that there will be no more Tudor sons if Catherine marries Prince Henry. Validated by Real Life. Oddly, Elizabeth's prophecy doesn't account for a son that was born after Henry and Catherine married: Henry VIII's son with Jane Seymour, Edward VI, who died at 15. The curse she and her mother cast, however, does account for Edward dying.
  • Extreme Doormat: Arthur is mostly controlled by his fear of his family's opinions of him.
  • Fallen Princess:
    • Catherine's status drops after she is widowed, and again after her mother dies.
    • Margaret Pole falls into poverty after her husband dies.
  • Feuding Families: The Yorks and the Tudors. Considerably lessened since The White Queen and The White Princess due to the longstanding marriage between Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, but John de la Pole emerges as a Yorkist claimant to England.
  • Flashback Cut: A short clip from The White Princess of Richard of Shrewsbury yelling, "England receive my blood!" just before he's executed is shown when Queen Elizabeth reminisces about the past.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!:
    • Joanna of Castile. Subverted as it is revealed that Joanna's temperament stems from her mother abusing her, her father and husband trying to usurp her throne, as well as her husband's many affairs.
    • Joanna herself considers Isabella to be an example of this. Catherine concedes that Isabella could indeed be cruel, torturing Joanna for her lack of piety.
    • Elizabeth of York acts as this for Catherine.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: After getting pregnant from her lover, Rosa asks Lina for help. Lina gets her a potion to cause abortion, but Rosa can't bring herself to use it, instead getting assurances by her lover that he'll care for her and the baby.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Catherine speaks in English even when talking to her mother in Spain, and among her Spanish ladies-in-waiting. Justified in that Catherine is training to be the future Queen of England and integrate into the English court.
    • Philip and Joanna of Castile speak almost perfect English, with no attempt by the English to afford them the use of a lingua franca such as French or Latin as Margaret Beaufort did when meeting Margaret. Joanna immediately talks to Catherine in English even when they are in private and could easily speak in Spanish.
    • Lina almost always speaks to Rosa and Oviedo in English, even when they are talking about matters that they might not want an English eavesdropper to find out.
  • Greater Need Than Mine: Margaret Pole gives rent back to her impoverished tenants, even as she falls deep into debt with the Crown following her husband's death.
  • He Knows Too Much: Margaret Beaufort attempts to execute Oviendo and Dudley for this reason.
  • Heir Club for Men: Played straight for the English, who want Catherine and Arthur to have a son. Somewhat Averted for the Spanish, who have two ruling queens, Isabella and Joanna.
  • Illegal Religion: Oviedo is a crypto-Muslim, because all Muslims and Jews were forced to convert or leave Spain. He, like those who remained, is officially Catholic. Thus, if this were discovered, the Spanish Inquisition would try him as a heretic, carrying the death sentence if Oviedo didn't repent.
  • Lady-in-Waiting: Lina and Rosa, for Catherine.
  • Mother Makes You King: Margaret Beaufort qualifies as this, as in The White Queen and The White Princess, acting as Hendry VII's regent during his grieving for Elizabeth of York.
  • My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Prince Harry and his grandmother argue the morality of Harry marrying Catherine, now Arthur's widow, by quoting Bible passages that support their point. The one which Margaret quotes, ironically, would later be cited by Henry himself to justify an annulment from Catherine (then divorce when that wasn't granted by the Pope).
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: Margaret Beaufort recalls to her granddaughter how she was married at the age of twelve, and had only had one period before falling pregnant.
    • Henry VII nearly marries Catherine, overstepping his son.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There is more of a variety of names than its predecessors due to the focus on foreign royals with different naming conventions, but many characters still have the same names.
    • Henry VII and Prince Henry, naturally, though the latter is often referred to as Harry.
    • There is Princess Margaret Tudor, her grandmother Margaret Beaufort, and her mother's cousin, Margaret Pole.
    • Lina is short for Catalina, and Catherine's name is also an Anglicized version of Catalina.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Henry VII and Elizabeth of York outlive their eldest son, Arthur. Meanwhile, Isabella and Ferdinand outlive their only son, John.
  • Parental Favoritism: Joanna claims that her brother John was their mother's favourite. Meanwhile, she claims to have been The Un-Favourite due to her atheism.
  • Put on a Bus: Rosa in episode 7, who returns to Spain after suffering a miscarriage.
  • Really Gets Around: Philip of Castile's string of affairs, in plain sight of his wife.
  • Religious Bruiser: Isabella of Castile fights off a band of Muslim rebels before Catherine is sent to England.
  • Riches to Rags: Margaret Pole is the cousin of the late queen, the niece of two kings, the daughter and sister of royal claimants. But after her husband dies, she quickly falls into poverty. The crown seizes her estate's property after she fails to pay off her debts, and she can't even afford eggs.
  • Ruling Couple: Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Catherine's role is very similar to Elizabeth Woodville in Queen and Elizabeth of York in Princess, the main character marrying the king/heir to the throne at the beginning of the series with many political enemies at court.
    • The Catherine of Aragon/Elizabeth of York and Catherine of Aragon/Margaret Beaufort rivalries mirror the Cecily Neville/Elizabeth Woodville rivalry in Queen and the Elizabeth of York/Margaret Beaufort rivalry in Princess.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Henry VII dies, Margaret Beaufort blames Dudley for the oppressive taxation and land confiscation that she herself pushed for, accusing him of treason and executing him before he can tell anyone.


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