All hail Queen Catherine!
Though we didn’t actually see Catherine of Aragon’s coronation as Queen of England in Sunday night’s epic season finale on The Spanish Princess, we know the crown is in her immediate future. After eight episodes of death, lying about her virginity, and scheming to marry Harry, she finally got her wish — Henry VIII’s hand in marriage and the promise of fulfilling her destiny as Queen of England.
But with 22 years of marriage still to go, this is far from the end of her story — and thanks to Starz’s recent announcement, we’ll be getting more of that story with a second season. Creators Matthew Graham and Emma Frost tell EW they always intended for The Spanish Princess to span 16 episodes, but they wrote a natural stopping place after the first eight just in case.
“We actually conceived the show originally as a 16 episode show, but we very consciously broke it in the middle so that if we ended after eight, there would be a great ending anyway,” says Frost. “The first eight [are] about a lie that Catherine tells. She gets what she wants by the end of the eight, although she gets it with this raw bittersweet sting to it. The back eight [are] about the journey back from that lie.”
While they’re reluctant to give specific dates or details since history is literally riddled with spoilers, they do promise to bring more incredible events from Catherine’s life to the screen that have never been done before. “We follow the rest of Catherine’s relationship with Henry,” adds Frost. “Ultimately, we’ll probably leave her as the Catherine of Aragon people think they know by the end of the back eight — the more conventional image of who she is.”
Filming for the second season is set to begin late this summer, and star Charlotte Hope tells EW the series will pick up 18 months after the season one finale, which is fittingly the same amount of time since they first began filming the series.
“I’m really excited to play the unraveling and dissolution of a relationship, especially when it’s in a relationship that’s been forged out of such electricity,” says Hope. “I find relationships fascinating in general, but getting to play one as rich as this one with all the complications of how many children she loses, it’s an incredible story…What Catherine goes through is a very different thing because of the time she lived in. But a relationship falling apart and not being able to conceive a child, [those] are really modern and important issues.”
Frost and Graham also promise that many of your favorite characters from the first season, including Lina (Stephanie Levi-John) and Oviedo (Aaron Cobham) will return. Most notably, though, Meg (Georgie Henley), Henry VIII’s sister who we saw shipped off in a political marriage to Scotland halfway through this season, will return in a major way. As will her younger sister Mary (Isla Merrick-Lawless), who when we left her was betrothed to Charles I of Castile.
“Meg’s a very big character in the back eight,” teases Graham. “We absolutely follow the story of Meg, just as we also follow the story of Mary and her trials and tribulations in France with fat King Louis. What you’re looking at is Meg in the North and her story and how it intersects with Catherine. Then, Mary in France and how that intersects and involves Catherine. Catherine is the linchpin in the middle in London. We’re looking forward to Scotland and England going at it — and putting Catherine and Meg in the heart of that war and those politics.”
Audiences were also treated to two other familiar historical faces this season — a very young Anne and Mary Boleyn, the central figures at the heart of Philippa Gregory’s best-known novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Frost and Graham are coy as to whether we’ll see older versions of the Boleyn girls next season, but Graham teases, “All little girls grow up.”
And that’s a fact Catherine should be very, very scared of…
- ‘The Spanish Princess’ Charlotte Hope talks that ‘bittersweet’ final scene and the complications of Catherine’s lie
- ‘The Spanish Princess’ creators address their ambiguous ending and how it was inspired by ‘The Godfather’