Get an exclusive first look at The Spanish Princess season 2
God save the Queen!
Those are the words Catherine of Aragon spent an entire season of The Spanish Princess waiting to hear — while also telling one enormous lie. Now, in this exclusive first look at the second season of Starz's Tudor drama, Catherine (Charlotte Hope) has got her wish. In the teaser trailer above and the photos below, she and Henry VIII (Ruairi O'Connor) have been crowned King and Queen of England.
As season 2 opens, Catherine seemingly has everything she wants: a kingdom, a crown, and the affection of the man she loves. Of course, we all know where her story ends, divorced from Henry after 22 years of marriage and with her beloved Catholic Church overthrown, all for a woman named Anne Boleyn.
But there are still years of storytelling between Catherine's coronation and the demise of her marriage. Years that see her having a daughter with Henry, suffering through numerous miscarriages, and going to war. And above all, trying to maintain the lie that she was still a virgin when she married Harry. All of which helps makes up the storytelling of the highly anticipated second season for The Spanish Princess, which will return in the fall.
To get some intel on what lies ahead, we called up showrunners Emma Frost and Matthew Graham to discuss everything from Catherine to Maggie Pole (Laura Carmichael) to beloved couple Lina (Stephanie Levi-John) and Oviedo (Aaron Cobham).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: As this teaser and these photos show us, Catherine is queen now. It’s all she’s ever wanted, but what does that actually mean for her? It is what she hoped for?
EMMA FROST: At the start, it is everything Catherine hoped for. She has everything. She's the Queen of England. She's jointly queen with Henry, the first time that had ever happened. They were crowned together. Everyone saw them as joint regents, a woman and a man who are equals, who are reigning together. That was an enormous thing for Catherine at the beginning. She has Henry, who she loves, and they're riding high. They're like rock stars; they're the center of the universe. Their court has the best of everything. It's rich, and they're happy, and the arts are flourishing. But you know, the whole story is based around the lie that Catherine tells in season 1. So over the course of the second season, that lie that she told will come home to roost. Her emotional fortunes will change very much, but we come in and we find her at the high point of her happiness and her glory.
Last season was really her and Henry’s love story, and they were married for 22 years. How quickly can we expect things to go south?
MATTHEW GRAHAM: The pressures of the king and queen are to provide heirs, that's the focus of their pressure and the focus of their reign, as well as making war. She's a great tactician, and her knowledge really helped England. A lot of it is initially political pressure, mixed with being at court. But over the course of time, things go awry in all sorts of ways, both politically and personally for them. Catherine's ability to manage the kingdom and to manage her husband becomes the crux of the juggling act that she's pulled throughout the whole of their marriage and the whole of season 2. It's about Catherine the Queen fighting off enemies; attempting to understand, placate, and please Henry, and hold on to his love. Also, to literally to sit in the throne in his absence. 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. That's going to be one of the most exciting and iconic bits of the season 2 for us, is Catherine pregnant in armor. Of course, 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. 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.
You've said we'll see more of Lina and Oviedo. Can you tease what’s in store for them?
FROST: Lina and Catherine's relationship will come under pressure in the way that modern women's relationships do sometimes when one person has something that the other person desperately wants. Lina and Oviedo are our moral heart of the show. Oviedo will rise in the court. He will be noticed by Henry, and his status improves and increases. He becomes part of Henry's inner circle. For a while.
GRAHAM: We're following Lina and Oviedo into the life they're making for themselves in London, raising a family. It gives us a chance to explore the pressures that they face at key moments in history, one of those being the gradual resentment of people [toward] foreigners, not people of color, but just people who were not English trading and living in England. They gave us an opportunity to write interesting parallels about immigration and Brexit.
You also said before Meg [Georgie Henley] would return this season. What kind of role will she and Scotland at large going to play in the season?
GRAHAM: She's a real big player in this one. Meg went off in tears to Scotland and met this strapping hunk of Scot and raised children with him. She raised his illegitimate children [too]. But they got on. We do get to see that, and we get to see a war between Scotland and England, where Meg is begging [Catherine] not to go to war and then there's Catherine on the other side, about to go to war with her husband, and Meg caught in the middle of that. She loves Catherine, but she loves King James.
FROST: Her Achilles heel is her heart.
Will we see any of Maggie Pole?
FROST: She's absolutely in the show. And she finds a little romance in an unlikely quarter.
GRAHAM: A frustrated romance.
FROST: Her two oldest children are now grown up, and she's struggling with her children wanting to be different to their parents and variously judging them or rejecting their values. Maggie will definitely struggle with that, in her relationship with her daughter particularly.
GRAHAM: The journey for Maggie is one of the most exciting aspects of the show. Where Maggie ends up is off the plane of where I think many people will imagine she would end up. All I'll tell you about her love story is that before we wrote it, Emma and I rewatched The Remains of the Day.
So lots of British repression is what we should anticipate.
GRAHAM: Nobody does repression like us Brits.
Any new characters we should be excited to meet?
GRAHAM: We have Sir Thomas More, played by Andrew Buchan, from Broadchurch, and he's startling physically like Thomas More when he's in costume. He plays him very beautifully as a gentle, formal man.
FROST: Also not exactly a new character is Princess Mary, Henry's sister, who is the little girl at the end of season 1. She kind of becomes a cause for her brother at the beginning of the show. Mary is the most wonderful character, played by the very brilliant Sai Bennett. She's a fresh, lovely new female character in the show, and another one is Ursula, Maggie's daughter. You really feel a sense of the new generation with those two. And [them] having very different value systems to their parents and their mothers particularly.
With war and such, it seems like this season might have even bigger set pieces than season 1. Is that fair to say?
FROST: We have a joust, which we've never done in the show before. The Battle of Flodden, which Matthew's already talked about, is such a famous moment in history, with Catherine riding out to battle to lead the men in full armor while she was heavily pregnant. The Field of the Cloth of Gold is a big event that happens where Henry went to Calais, which was still owned by the English, and met the French and Spanish. They had these gigantic tents, that they were all trying to outshine each other. There's more spectacle.
GRAHAM: There's a wider canvas. We move around from France to England to Scotland a lot more and tell three interconnected stories.
FROST: But the heart of the show is the emotional and more intimate things. 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. 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.
Has the coronavirus pandemic delayed anything in the process for you?
GRAHAM: Our [postproduction] has not been delayed. We actually wrapped filming two days before global production shut down. The last day of filming was a freezing cold day; it was a very big emotional thing with Ruairi and with Charlotte. Charlotte was very under the weather and asked if we needed to delay the last day. Charlotte, said, "No, I will not get all the way through the shoot and bail out the last day because of sickness. I want to finish it." Thank God she did because if she hadn't, we would have missed one of the most crucial scenes of the entire series, arguably the most crucial scene of the entire season. We would never have been able to shoot it. So we actually did wrap. All our editors are cutting at home. All of the effects people are working at home. Our orchestra are recording their instrumentation basically individually from their homes. We are still marching ahead, and we are on time to deliver when we said we would.
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