Top 5 Ways The Spanish Princess Gets the History Wrong

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So, The Spanish Princess‘s first season has just ended. I recapped every episode, possibly because I am a saint, but really because I kept cackling knowing the horror you would all feel as the series unfolded. I kept my recaps pretty straightforward, but now, as the resident Frock Flicks Catherine of Aragon nerd, it’s time to look at just where and how The Spanish Princess fucked up the history — and fuck it up, it did! Some of the blame goes to our favorite author Philippa Fucking Gregory, some of it goes to Starz, which embellished Gregory’s ridiculous story.

The Spanish Princess fucks up a lot of the real history of Henry VII, Henry VIII, and Catherine of Aragon. Oh sure, there’s some reality to the story — yes, Catherine of Aragon did in fact marry Henry VIII’s older brother, who died; she then married Henry VIII, and their’s was a love match. But most of the details beyond that are wrongity wrong wrong. I don’t have it in me to list them all, let’s just focus on the top 5, most important facts of history that The Spanish Princess got completely ass backward.

And yes, we are leaving aside the giant problem of the historically inaccurate costuming, which I’ll tackle in another post.

 

5. Queen Isabella of Castile

“As would soon become their pattern, she [Isabella] handled logistics while he [Ferdinand] led the troops in the field… Back in Castile, Queen Isabella went into action once more. She continued to do what she did best — mobilize troops for war. She had perfected the logistics of battle, gathering troops, supplies, armor, horses, carts, foodstuffs, and hospital equipment and preparing it for transport” (Kirstin Downey, Isabella: The Warrior Queen).

Queen Isabella of Castile (part of modern-day Spain) was a badass. She and her husband Ferdinand of neighboring Aragon were instrumental in leading the reconquista, in which Catholic “Spain” reconquered lands that had been held by Muslim leaders for centuries. And, in fact, Isabella played a much more active role in these military campaigns than your usual 15th/16th century queen. She frequently traveled and camped with the troops. She put the war effort before her own comfort. She modeled herself on Joan of Arc. She gave inspirational speeches to her troops, encouraging them to get out there and fight.

Francisco Pradilla Ortiz, La rendición de Granada, 1882, Palace of the Senate (Spain).

Francisco Pradilla Ortiz, La rendición de Granada, 1882, Palace of the Senate (Spain).

What she didn’t do is fight. Queen Isabella of Castile never raised a sword, never got covered in blood, never led troops. Never, no how, didn’t happen. Once again, we’ve got a case where filmmakers seem to have thought, “Huh, how do we convey Isabella’s badass-ness to a modern audience? They won’t understand her doing all these badass-by-15th/16th-century-standards things! We need to make it Overly, Anachronistically obvious! I know! Let’s show her cutting a bitch!” Instead of showing us, through other characters’ reactions to her actions, that the things the real Isabella did were considered badass and on the cusp of appropriate-for-a-queen, The Spanish Princess gives us a literal butt-kicking, soldier-hacking warrior. Which, to be clear, never happened.

The Spanish Princess 2019 ep1

This never happened.

 

4. Margaret Beaufort

I guess Philippa Fucking Gregory felt she needed an antagonist in her books, but damn, the portrayal of Margaret Beaufort as a child-killing (she’s responsible for the deaths of the princes in the Tower in The White Princess), heroine-hating (she’s the prime opponent of Henry VIII’s and Catherine of Aragon’s marriage in The Spanish Princess) harpy is just wrong. In The Spanish Princess, she’s shown as the power behind Henry VII’s throne, and is almost pathologically opposed to the proposed marriage between the future Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon (“I know a schemer when I see one, and I see a Spanish schemer in a skirt”).

2019 The Spanish Princess

Schemer – pot kettle black?

So what’s the real history? According to The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Women’s Biography, after Henry VII took the throne, Margaret “retired from political life and devoted herself to religion, charity and scholarship. She translated several devotional books and encouraged the new printing presses of De Worde and Caxton, who called himself ‘Printer unto the most excellent princess my lady the King’s grandame’ in 1509. In 1501 she founded professorships of divinity at Oxford and Cambridge and in 1504 separated from her husband and took monastic vows, although she remained in her own palace at Woking rather than entering a convent. Greatly influenced by Bishop Fisher, she completed the endowment of Christ’s College, Cambridge, begun by Henry VII in 1505, and in 1508 agreed to endow St John’s College, leaving most of her fortune for this purpose when she died the following year. She also patronized several religious houses.”

However, the idea that she totally retired from political life is reductionist. Elizabeth Norton argues that she was “Henry’s most trusted supporter… and continued to assist him in his rule and the best interests of the dynasty they had founded,” serving as a judge and visiting the English possession of Calais in a royal capacity; as Henry VIII was a few months away from eighteen when he became king, she served as a kind of regent for him, “selecting his council for him out of the men that had been most trusted by his father” (Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty). However, her own health was already failing as Henry VII was dying, and she died only a few months after him in 1509.

HOWEVER, she was not involved in the negotiations about the future Henry VIII and Catherine’s marriage. Check any biography of Margaret, Henry VII, Catherine of Aragon, or Henry VIII, and you’ll find that it all went down between Henry VII and Ferdinand of Aragon. Also, Margaret attended Henry and Catherine’s wedding, and left Catherine £202 10s in her will, which is not something you do for a schemer in a skirt.

Meynnart Wewyck, detail from Portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort from the Master's Lodge, St John's College, University of Cambridge, c. 1510

Meynnart Wewyck, detail from Portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort from the Master’s Lodge, St John’s College, University of Cambridge, c. 1510.

 

3. Personal Agency in Marriage

The Spanish Princess treats a lot of its key characters as though they have all the personal agency in the world about who they marry. Catherine is shown being disappointed to learn that what she thought were letters she had received from her fiance Arthur were actually jokes written by his younger brother Henry; she’s sad because she thought that she and Arthur were In Love. Princess Margaret is shocked to discover her marriage has been arranged, and complains about not wanting to marry the older king of Scotland, implying that no one has ever explained the fact that she was destined from birth to make a dynastic marriage. Catherine’s husband Arthur dies, and she’s then shown making her own decisions to stay in England, and to marry the future Henry VIII. Yes, she writes to her parents asking for her dowry to be paid, and for their permission, and help getting a dispensation for the pope, but really, she’s shown making up her own mind without the input of her parents, and she resists her parents’ commands (to come home, to marry whoever).

ALL OF THIS IS BULLSHIT.

2019 The Spanish Princess

“Hmmm. Who should I marry? Guess it’s just up to me!!”

Sure, sometimes kings or queens regnant married someone they thought was hot (see: Henry VIII’s marriages to Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard). But a royal child would have been RAISED FROM BIRTH to know that their marriage would be planned for them, a matter of statecraft and politics, and NOT THEIR OWN DECISION.

Discussions about Arthur and Catherine’s marriage began when Catherine was three years old and Arthur was two and a half. The people involved in deciding these marriages were THEIR PARENTS, Henry VII of England and Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. Ambassadors and other politicians played their roles, but no one ever went to Arthur to say, “Hey, what do you think of that Spanish Catherine chick? Do you think you could LIKE like her?” (or vice versa).

So when Arthur died, the idea of Catherine marrying the future Henry VIII was SUGGESTED and NEGOTIATED BY THEIR PARENTS. Isabella and Ferdinand almost immediately suggested the marriage after learning of Arthur’s death. Papal dispensations were arranged BY THEIR PARENTS. When it was suggested that Prince Henry marry Catherine’s niece Eleanor (which actually happened before any ideas were floated about Henry and Catherine), IT WAS HENRY VII WHO SUGGESTED IT. The future Henry VIII was 12 years old. NOBODY WENT TO HIM AND SAID, “Hey, go pray a lot and decide if you could handle marrying Eleanor!” IT WASN’T UP TO HIM. Royals didn’t meet their future spouse until shortly before the wedding, except in cases where a girl was sent to her future husband’s court to be raised there. Sure, the parents would consider lots of factors beyond just the politics — was the intended religious? healthy? — but POLITICS WAS THE MAIN MOTIVATION.

16th century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor rose and the pomegranate. From Stephen Hawes, A Joyfull Medytacvon to All Englande(1509), printed Wynkyn de Worde, 4to, n.d. (Cambridge University Library), a single sheet with woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

16th century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor rose and the pomegranate. From Stephen Hawes, A Joyfull Medytacvon to All Englande (1509), printed Wynkyn de Worde, 4to, n.d. (Cambridge University Library), a single sheet with woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

Oh, and then Ferdinand writing his daughter Catherine on the eve of her wedding to Henry, “just to tell her what kind of man she was marrying?” BULLSHIT. IF Juana had had sex with Prince Henry, 1. she never would have volunteered that information to her father, 2. her father would not have thought it was important, other than his daughter being slutty, 3. IF her father actually gave a shit about this (which he wouldn’t), he would have stopped the wedding.

 

2. The Timeline

This is a tie for #1, really, because the whole premise of the TV adaptation of The Spanish Princess gets the timeline completely, 1000% wrong in such a way that the entire show makes no sense.

Why?

BECAUSE CATHERINE WAS FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN THE FUTURE HENRY VIII, WHO WAS ALL OF TEN WHEN CATHERINE ARRIVED IN ENGLAND. Henry VIII was born in 1491. Catherine (age 15) married Arthur in 1501. Arthur died in 1502. That makes the future Henry VIII eleven years old at Arthur’s death.

HENRY WAS TEN. Think of your average 10 year old, and then consider whether s/he could write formal love letters on his/her sibling’s behalf or sexually harass their sibling’s intended. IT DOESN’T WORK.

The children of Henry VII, showing Prince Henry (1491 – 1547), Arthur Prince of Wales (1486 – 1502) and Princess Margaret (1489 – 1541), c1498. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Here’s Henry (left) as a child. A CHILD. The children of Henry VII, showing Prince Henry (1491 – 1547), Arthur Prince of Wales (1486 – 1502) and Princess Margaret (1489 – 1541), c1498. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The other problem, beyond the age gap, is that a lot of the show doesn’t make sense because of the timeline being off. Catherine and Arthur were FIFTEEN YEARS OLD when they married, which makes their lack of consummation (see below) make a whole lot more sense. Sure, a 15-year-old could have sex, but that’s still pretty young, and there was a definite sense that the two had many more years ahead of them to create a mature relationship.

Furthermore, all the political shenanigans were much worse than the TV show makes clear, because Arthur died in 1502, Catherine and Henry were engaged in 1503, and then Ferdinand and Henry VII left Catherine unsupported financially for SIX YEARS while her and Henry’s marriage was in question and the two kings dicked around about her dowry. Catherine and the future Henry VIII got to know each other over those years, and he finally became king in 1509 at age 17, making it make a whole lot more sense that he then decided to marry her.

By compressing the timeline (the show makes it seem like all these events happened over a few months or, at most, a year), the full impact of Henry VII’s and Ferdinand’s lack of support for Catherine loses its impact.

2019 The Spanish Princess

Yes, Henry walked Catherine down the aisle at her wedding to Arthur. BUT HE WAS TEN YEARS OLD.

 

1. Catherine & Arthur’s Consummation (or lack thereof)

Did Arthur and Catherine have sex? No one will ever know. Most historians note the fact that Catherine swore multiple times on her immortal soul — a devoutly religious woman who literally feared hell and truly believed she would go there if she sinned — that they had not. Yes, there are conflicting reports. Arthur supposedly boasted about “having been in Spain” the morning after their marriage. Some courtiers swore that the two had slept together multiple times; Catherine said they only slept in the same bed seven times over the course of their four month marriage. The two were sent off to Wales, to Ludlow Castle, to run their own household, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t still have separate rooms and attendants. Both spouses were only fifteen, and everyone was quite sure they’d have decades to become sexually active with each other.

2019 The Spanish Princess

Amy Licence, author of the most recent and thorough biography of Catherine, offers this theory:

“Arthur may have mistakenly believed he had acted sufficiently to relieve his bride of her virginity… There may have been some form of foreplay, or else Arthur may have achieved some shallow degree of penetration that was not sufficient to rupture her hymen… It is also possible that on what must have been his first sexual encounter, Arthur experienced premature ejaculation upon, or soon after, penetration… In later years, when she was forced to defend her virgin state, she did so from a position of comparison with the robust lovemaking of her second husband. It is perfectly possible that Arthur thought he had experienced full sex, or at least taken his wife’s virginity, while she thought he had not” (Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII’s True Wife).

Antonia Fraser points out that “what really stands against the notion of the consummation of the union, all subsequent allegations apart, is that the custom of the time was all against it,” pointing out “more care rather than less was taken over the timing of consummation” for aristocratic and royal marriages out of concern for the health of both individuals (The Wives of Henry VIII). And, in fact, Catherine’s older brother Juan was thought to have died (at age eighteen) from sexual over-exertion.

But the most compelling argument, to me, comes from Alison Weir, who writes,

“To the end of her [Katherine’s] life, she maintained that her marriage to Prince Arthur was never consummated… In 1529, she publicly affirmed that, when she married for the second time, ‘I was a true maid, without touch of man.’ She also swore as much on her deathbed, believing that she was about to meet her Maker. Although she had her own interests to protect, she was a religious woman of sound principles; it is far less likely therefore that she was guilty of deception than that she was telling the truth” (The Six Wives of Henry VIII).

Catherine never wavered from her position, and most importantly, she would have truly believed in every inch of her body and mind that if she lied under oath to her confessor, she would burn in eternal damnation. She nonetheless swore that her marriage to Arthur hadn’t been consummated. If that isn’t convincing, then not much is.

A tapestry in the Flemish style of Catherine of Aragon and her husband Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, early 1500s, via Wikimedia Commons.

A tapestry in the Flemish style of Catherine of Aragon and her husband Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, early 1500s, via Wikimedia Commons.

Which historical inaccuracies bugged you the most in The Spanish Princess?

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About the author

Kendra

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Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

48 Responses

  1. Roxana

    In Reality Catherine seems to have made a hit with the Tudor women. Elizabeth named her last child, the baby she died bearing, after Catherine and as you say Margaret Beaufort remembered her in her will. The match with Spain was very important, showing the Tudor Dynasty had arrived giving the Queen and the King’s Mother every reason to welcome the girl with open arms.
    Catherine’s subsequent troubles were due not to any feminine and domestic hostility but to her sharp reduction in value on the marriage market after her mother’s death and the greedy games of Henry VII and Ferdinand.

    Reply
  2. Damnitz

    Very interesting amount of information here.

    It’s very often to observe that the filmindustry avoid to have the leading roles too young. Here Arthur and Catherine are adults for the whole series.
    We see the same aspect in “L’échange des princesses”, where both princesses are too old for their roles. The young princess of Orléans was 12, although the actress was 18 and just not looking like a 18th century child.

    But as you implied it, sex is something attractive to the responsibles. If the figures would act typically for their age, it would be a challenge to create a interesting story (although Kenneth Loach did a great job in “Black Jack”).

    I would like to read more about films that capture childhood in history properly.

    Reply
    • MoHub

      This always makes me think of The Crucible. Lead antagonist Abigail is only 14, yet she’s always portrayed as much older.

      Reply
  3. Author Jennifer Quail

    The one I will let slide most easily is their relative ages.I think we all saw from The Phantom Menace what happens when you introduce one half of the love interests in their final casting form (at 14) and one at nine: everyone finds the whole thing creepy.

    Margaret Beaufort has just been screwed since the get-go, along, ironically, with Elizabeth Wydeville and Elizabeth of York, since Phillipa Fucking Gregory decided HERE female empowerment means either literal ass-kicking and murder or witchcraft.

    Reply
    • Heidilea

      Funny how it’s only found creepy if the female half is older? I mean, The Thornbirds is pretty freakin’ creepy, though.

      Reply
      • Isa

        I didn’t find The Phantom Menace all that creepy, like they met when they were young and then again as grownups but yes the Thornbirds is the creepiest thing ever!! I hate that book and the miniseries with passion. This case, the Spanish Princess, reminds me most of Braveheart’s very fucked up timeline.

        Reply
  4. anniebuck

    Your first point. 100%. I actually choked on my coffee when I heard that Isabella was portrayed as having physically fought in battles. Why take any moment of time to portray her skills as a politician, her great power, her excellent partnnership with Ferdinand, when you can just show her with a bloody sword? Ugh. ugh, ugh! And of course, the old – well, she’s Spanish, so we show her with black hair and eyes. So annoying.

    And the diminuation of proper names drives me batty – “Maggie” Pole. Triple Ugh!

    Reply
    • Kendra

      The nicknames – SO annoying! “Lizzie” in the White Princess, and “Maggie” pole. HOW ABOUT BESS OR MEG, ACTUAL PERIOD-APPROPRIATE NICKNAMES, IF YOU GOTTA NICKNAME??!!

      Reply
  5. Nzie

    Thanks for this. I wish the book and series had taken as much care. Oh well.

    Anyone who actually watched, did the “I know a schemer when I see one, and I see a Spanish schemer in a skirt” line actually work? Because it seems overwrought.

    Reply
  6. picasso Manu

    Would like to add a bit on your 3rd point: Nobody married “for luv”. Well, maybe the poorest of the poors because nobody really cared, but as soon as their was even a wee bit of money involved, it became a business transaction, and love was thought to bee far to flighty an emotion to build something serious on. Certainly not marriage.
    It only in quite recent times that Love got pre-eminent status (with a big grain of salt: fammilies with money still seriously push their kids to marry in their social circle)

    Reply
    • Heidilea

      They might not have married “for love” but they definitely had love between them when they were wed, which was unusual for most royal couples. Henry grew into an adult around Catherine, and I think I read somewhere that he initially looked to her like an older sister..

      Reply
      • Kendra

        Right, and he chose to marry Catherine — when he came of age, and was king on his own — partly because of the Spanish alliance, but also b/c he was attracted to her.

        Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      I’ve always thought of Victoria and Albert as the European celebrity couple who popularized romantic love as a sound basis for marriage. (Not that theirs wasn’t founded on a few other wee factors, such as royal status.*) And that was less than 200 years ago, not very long in historical terms.

      *Although, as we know, VI could be surprisingly unbiased about class and color. She was Queen, damn it, and if she liked you, you were cool.

      Reply
  7. Susan Pola Staples

    All of the abysmal history in the Spanish Princess bothered me. Re Isabella of Castile, she also encourage women’s higher education. All of her daughters were given excellent educations.
    Point 2: CofA wouldn’t have had a Moor as an attendant, the reconquest was only about 9 years (1492 Ferdinand of Aragon took the last Moorish stronghold, Granada).
    Point 3: Mary Tudor, the White Queen was a redhead and so I believe was her elder sister, Margaret.

    I could go on but I believe that most points were covered by you and all of us.

    Tullamore Dew or….?

    Reply
    • Heidilea

      Point 3–Mary Tudor was a brunette, but her sister Margaret had dark red hair.

      Reply
      • Susan Pola Staples

        When I saw the portrait of Princess Mary and Charles Brandon years ago I thought the hair was an auburn red. And I read somewhere that her hair was reddish.

        Reply
    • Kendra

      Actually, the character of “Lina,” Catherine’s lady-in-waiting, is mostly correct. From Amy Licence’s biography, describing Catherine’s Spanish servants: “There was Catalina, once the queen’s slave, who used to make her bed and attend to other services of the chamber, who had been married to a morisco named Oviedo, a crossbow-maker at Valdezcaray. They had lived in Malaga, but after being widowed, she had gone with her daughters to live in her home town of Motril. She had formed part of the royal household when the said queen [Catherine] and her husband, Henry, met for the first time in 1501.”

      Reply
      • Roxana

        There is a rather large difference in status between lady in waiting and personal slave. That given, a more realistic portrayal of Catalina and her intimate service to Catherine could be fascinating.

        Reply
        • Saraquill

          In this instance, I accept the artistic licence. It’s fucking demoralizing to be Black and see enslavement as the main portrayal in period pieces.

          Reply
      • Susan Pola Staples

        I didn’t know about the book until you referred to it earlier. I have requested a copy from my library through I.L.L.

        Reply
      • Aleko

        There’s an article about Catalina here: https://www.historytoday.com/history-matters/other-catalina. It makes the point that Catalina, as the princess’s bedmaker, was quite possibly the one other person who really knew what had taken place between Arthur’s and Catherine’s sheets! But also that she wasn’t ‘Catalina de Cardones’, who was another, much higher-born, member of Catherine’s entoruage.

        However, the ethnicity of the actors cast as Lina and Oviedo is quite misleading. They were ‘moriscos’, or ‘Moors’, that is, Spanish people converted from Islam or descended from Muslims. The ethnic origin of the population of Al-Andalus was a mixture. The largest group were Berbers, originally from North Africa; next largest were the Arabs; the remainder were descendants of the pre-Islamic Spanish population.They were on average darker than (most) Europeans, but certainly not Sub-Saharan black like Aaron Cobham and Stephanie Levi-John.

        Reply
    • Connybryce

      Catherine in real life was apparently very short…under five foot. Later in life she was said to be as wide as she was tall. Even at 15 she was described as plump. Not tall and slim.
      As for her mother, I can’t get past the mania for burning people she shared with Mary Tudor…the religious mania she handed over to Catherine.i have trouble with Catherine as far as clinging to her refusal to divorce even when her friends would burn because she would not relent. She could have ended the executions long before Moore and the bishop were tortured and killed. And don’t get me started on Thomas Moore and his mania for killing anyone not on the same page as he was…okay got off on a rant here lol. I love the era but hate the religious craziness and all the hypocrisy.

      Reply
  8. Terézia Marková

    To add to the nonsense that is the consummation question, it didn’t seem to be such a big deal at the time of Arthur’s death. It was only treated as such when Henry needed an excuse to divorce Catherine; after all, they had a fucking papal dispensation! Henry later simply argued that it doesn’t mean anything, because pope has no right to give such permission. Groom’s age and political situation were much bigger hurdles for the prospective marriage.

    Reply
    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      The biggest issue with gaining the divorce was Henry’s ego and Henry himself! He thought himself as a great religious and humanist scholar. By using the affinity argument and refusing to allow the separation to progress privately, he forced the Pope and Catherine to act as they did. Instead of using the same reasoning that Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louie VII of France used to annul their marriage of Consanguinity to the 4th Degree, his arguments branded Catherine as a liar and whore. He gave her no way to save face, especially since she strongly believed that she was destined to be the Queen of England. Catherine was not a fool and she knew that England was not cosmopolitan enough to easily accept a female ruler and that Henry needed a male heir to secure the throne.

      Reply
      • Terézia Marková

        I don’t know about the Eleanor of Aquitane solution – it seems, at least to me, that in the Tudor times annulation was much less common, at least of royal marriages than in the early middle ages. For example, despite numerous reasons for dissolution (consanguinity, dubious consent on the side of bride, her infertility) the marriage of Henry IV and Margaret of Valois was dissolved only after tedious negotiations. As for the possibility of female ruler, Catherine’s mother was one, so I can’t imagine she would have much sympathy for Henry in this regard – sure, it would be difficult for Mary to establish herself, but possible, as the fact that she actually did become a queen shows. And there is also a possibility of Mary’s husband becoming the king by her side or instead of her.

        Reply
  9. Charity

    Thank you for vindicating Margaret Beaufort. PFG and EFF’ vendetta against the awesome badassery that was the real Margaret Beaufort pisses me off. I’ve spent the last 7 weeks bitching about this show’s historical inaccuracies and general WTF? logic, so seeing someone else doing it is refreshing. Ha, ha.

    Reply
  10. MoHub

    OMG! I just read a posting on YouTube in which th eposter talked about his love for the period based on watching The Tudors. I had to let him know that the series and history were two separate things.

    Reply
  11. ConsiderTheBees (@Wildfyrewarning)

    “Catherine is shown being disappointed to learn that what she thought were letters she had received from her fiance Arthur were actually jokes written by his younger brother Henry”

    IF this was true (and note: it’s not) I think it would be totally understandable for Catherine to be disappointed or upset. She believed that, through these letters, she and Arthur had established the bedrock for a successful, and maybe even loving, marriage. It’s not unnatural for her to be pleased with that outcome. Even here (and it makes my skin crawl to give this show any credit), it doesn’t really change anything: she still marries Arthur and becomes Princess of Wales.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      Yes, but Henry would have been 7-8-9 when writing those letters, and moreover, there’s NO WAY those letters weren’t read and/or dictated by tutors, parents, and ambassadors before they were sent. In other words, there’s no way anyone could have written on the down-low.

      Reply
  12. Roxana

    Much as I admire male pulchritude the shirtless scenes bother me because no man in the sixteenth c. would appear shirtless in public. Stripping to your shirt was daring enough and as far as any man would go when working or exercising.

    Reply
    • Terézia Marková

      I myself chalk it up to “acceptable breaks from reality”. ;)
      But seriously, that’s actually male version of the old “I don’t care if it’s historical, I just want my tits out”.

      Reply
  13. Kelly

    The portrait, shown here as Catherine of Aragon painted by Michel Sittow, is now thought to be one of Mary Rose Tudor, painted about 1514, when she was betrothed to Charles V. The painting was shown in the Michel Sittow exhibition last year at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as a portrait of Mary Rose Tudor. The identification is based on both the dating of the age the wood panel it is painted on and the Tudor roses in her jewelry.

    There was another work in that show that has been identified as a portrait of her as Mary Magdalene in Detroit https://www.dia.org/art/collection/object/catherine-aragon-magdalene-61540

    Reply
    • Roxana

      With all due respect to expert opinion, why would Mary Tudor be wearing a collar of Ks alternating with Tudor Roses?

      Reply
  14. LisaS

    The Blessed Margaret “Maggie” Pole. Why draw this woman as a dithering ditz always on the verge of crying. From what I’ve read, she was a rather brilliant estate manager once her lands were restored.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      Because ‘good’ women have to be weak and ineffectual? Only bad women can be strong and effective.

      Reply
  15. Andy

    Yeah I dunno why “PFG” has such a hatred for Margaret Beaufort. I suppose her devotion to religion made her the easiest, laziest antagonist to the pseudo-pagan witches she portrays Elizbaeth Woodville and her mother as.
    The weird part is she isn’t even conistent with that. I like to listen to “PFG”‘s books while traveling for work, because you don’t have to pay attention, it’s mildly amusing and it’s easy to fall asleep to, and Iirc she does include the part where Woodville and Margaret Beaufort conspire to wed Elizabeth of York to Henry Tudor in the White Queen…and then in the White Princess Beaufort is back to being an antagonist who seems like she’d shoot Elizabeth of York out of London in a cannon if she had the chance.

    Reply
    • Jane Grey

      The fact that Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort conspired to wed Elizabeth of York to Henry VII is one of the most incredible and brilliant intrigues in world history and deserves much more credit than it gets in these series.

      Reply
      • Roxana

        Two women team up to take down an usuper and murderer and succeed despite the failures of the men around then. Sounds like a good story to me.

        Reply
        • Jane Grey

          You got it. No need to embellish the history of this time period as everything that actually happened was remarkable!

          Reply
  16. Andy

    Oh definitely, there’s a much more interesting story in that alone than in the whole of PFG’s “Cousin’s War” series.
    But I guess she needed the page space for those weird fairy tale interludes she shoves in the beginning of each chapter, or something.

    Reply

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