It’s Festivus, aka, The Spanish Princess (2019), Starz’ new adaptation of a Philippa Fucking Gregory book about Catherine of Aragon, has premiered! Strap in for all sorts of historical wtf-ery and some deeply wackjob costuming by Phoebe de Gaye in the second of many recaps. Frock Flicks is a family: if I have to suffer, you have to suffer with me.
Kids, I’m doing this on an iPad, sorry if things are weird! Never doubt my commitment to sparkle motion!
Queen Isabella writes to say Catherine’s dowry that’s been paid so far should be returned with Catherine when she returns to Spain.
Queen Elizabeth is unconcerned about arriving at the funeral on time.
Margaret Beaufort wants to know where the rest of Catherine’s dowry is and plans to send her back to Spain when it arrives. She is rocking the sticky-uppy French hood and sideless surcoat.
Catherine refuses the litter arranged for her to attend Arthur’s funeral and instead rides a donkey, irritating Margaret Beaufort.
Catherine wears a quilted dress to the funeral and some questionable veils.
Prince Henry has gotten a haircut, feels bad about having been a shit to his brother, is polite to Catherine.
Queen Elizabeth wears her smallest crown to the funeral.
Lina and Rosa start wailing at the funeral, confusing all the English, who don’t quite say it but imply that the Spanish are weird and savage.
Margaret Beaufort confuses everyone by wearing historically accurate headwear.
Mags sent her children away when she learned there was sweating sickness, so Queen Lizzie thinks Arthur’s death is somehow her fault.
Catherine’s had her period, but hasn’t told anyone because she’s trying to stall being sent back to Spain (if she’s pregnant she gets to stay). Wait, I thought they just bled on themselves and it was erotic? ;)
Lina thinks this is a bad plan.
Mags’ husband warns her she needs to make up with Queen Lizzie, because otherwise the royals will go after their kids, the Poles having a claim to the throne.
Catherine busts out the non-mourning wear and heads out to seduce Henry.
I’m sorry to admit that I really liked her outfit on a pure fantasy level. I did however scoff at her years-too-soon and overly-schemey attempt to seduce Henry.
Princess Margaret is still pissed that she has to marry the Scottish King. Hey, maybe he’ll buy you a non-dumpy dress?
Margaret Beaufort finally takes the time to explain what Princess Margaret would have been taught her whole life, that royals marry for duty, pointing out that she was married at 13.
Catherine gets all super flirty with Henry via sword-fighting. I scoff at how overtly flirtatious she is, as well as her undergown having a stomacher front (i.e., front opening) as well as back opening *headdesk*.
Margaret Beaufort interrupts them and tells them off. She gets Catherine alone and insists on being told if she’s pregnant, even going so far as to grope Catherine’s boobs. Catherine stalls, trying to seem like she’s fuzzy on pregnancy symptoms and saying she didn’t get her period for months when her brother died.
Oviedo thinks these English men are gits, Lina is starting to think her marrying an Englishman isn’t so certain.
The two make out and it is HOT.
Lina’s dress is split in the back, which is more ridiculous than just about anything.
Catherine has “concerns about her household” and so wants to marry Henry and stay in England. Sure, Catherine was very conscious of her responsibility to her household and even ended up selling some her goods to pay her servants, but she stayed in England because her father and Henry VII couldn’t agree about who got her dowry money! Catherine announces she’ll say her marriage with Arthur wasn’t consummated. Lina has her doubts, but at least she’s got hand-sewn eyelets!
Henry is all dreamy about Catherine.
He runs into Lina and Rosa who are carrying hot water for Catherine’s bath. He does this SUPER GROSS THING where he sticks two fingers in the water…
…as though he’s metaphorically fingering Catherine. Lina and I are dubious.
Henry wears a RED SHIRT with LUDICROUS not-fooling-anyone-faux-blackwork. NO.
Lina has dinner with Oviedo in a tavern. He tells her the Inquisition has come to Spain and he can never go back. Some rough soldiers he has befriended come in; Lina realizes these are not the kind of guys she should be hanging with and leaves.
Catherine lures Henry out to the courtyard, not-so-casually informing Henry that she and Arthur never did the deed. Henry, who apparently is unclear on how any of this works, proposes, as though his future and any marriage plans being up to his parents wouldn’t have been drilled into him from birth.
Queen “Lizzie” (retch) is in confinement, but apparently no one at Starz understands what this means because she is outside. She starts going into labor.
Catherine tries to sell “Maggie” about the whole no-sex thing.
Mags isn’t buying any of it, says if asked she’ll tell the truth. Nonetheless Catherine writes her mom asking for permission to marry Henry, who, she says, IS KEEN ON IT AS THOUGH IT WOULDN’T BE ENTIRELY UP TO HIS FATHER.
Queen Lizzie’s labor isn’t going well. Princess Margaret is traumatized.
Lizzie gives birth to a stillborn girl, dies in the throes of lots of “the Tudors are cursed!” bullshit. Starz seems to think we actually gave two shits about The White Princess, as Henry tells her repeatedly that she’s the only woman he’s loved.
IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: The next recap will be late! I’ll be swanning about at the Versailles fetes galantes next Monday, so both episode 4 and 5’s recaps will be posted two weeks from now! Désolé (but not really)!
This is so atrocious. Everyone involved needs remedial history classes. You need to be canonised for watching this sh*t. Philippa Fucking Gregory needs to be sent to Kingslanding right before Drogon torches it.
Just think tonight – Tuesday- we get a new episode of Gentleman Jack. Huzzah.
It’s moot since I don’t have Starz, but your descriptions of the plots and characters would be enough to put me off watching, never mind the “creative” costumes.
Jealous of the swanning about Versailles – hope you have a wonderful time!!
LOL LOL LOL, but that is the “scissor crossing” of Wells Cathedral in the first photo. They sure knew how to make keep-the-building-from-falling-down things look pretty.
Yes they did. Lovely.
BTW Arthur is actually buried in Worcester Cathedral. It would have killed them to use the right Cathedral?
Speaking of architecture, do I detect Queen Isabella’s window embrasure in the background of Henry and Elizabeth’s scene?
No it isn’t.
ugh. Why yes I think in a culture that takes oaths seriously everyone will be fine with a huge lie under oath.
I think after this you probably really, really need that Versailles trip! Enjoy and don’t think about this shit show at all.
Have a wonderful time in Versailles! May the hall of mirrors and lovely gowns wash your brain of this atrocity.
Oh God. You totally deserve a vacation. Enjoy!
Firstly, Neither ten year old Henry nor sixteen year old Catherine had much say in what would happen to them, or expected to. Henry VII wanted to hang on to that dowry and suggested – after Elizabeth’s death, marrying Catherine himself. That went over like a lead balloon so Henry became the expectant bridegroom. Then Isabella died and Catherine’s value on the marriage market took a dive. Ferdinand was now only King of Aragon, the smaller of the two Spains, and the Hapsburgs had their sticky fingers on Castile. To say Ferdie had more important concerns than Catherine would be an understatement. Both Dads argued over who was responsible for her support and because both were distinguished misers neither would pay. However Catherine did at one point get officially appointed representative of Spain, not the first female diplomat by any stretch but the first to be official. I don’t think she got a salary.
Meanwhile Henry is growing up, developing a strong resentment towards his father and a romantic fixation on ‘his’ princess who desperately needs rescuing. Of course so does Henry himself as Dad is sitting on him like a hen on an egg. According to contemporary accounts young Henry’s chamber opened off his father’s and had no other egress. Henry Sr. doesn’t seem to have thought much of his younger son. Probably reminded him too much of Edward IV.
Elizabeth and Margaret Beaufort were totally on board for the Scottish marriage but both were concerned about premature consummation doubting twelve year old Margaret could be trusted to James IV. Margaret didn’t go North til she was fourteen and James seems to have behaved like a perfect knight, their first child was born four years later. The proxy marriage had taken place and Margaret was officially a married woman and Queen of Scots when her mother died. It is highly unlikely she was in the birth chamber during labor. If she was called in to say good-bye the attendants would have made an effort to clean up make the visit as un-distressing as possible. BTW Margaret Tudor was Margaret Beaufort’s favorite grandchild and she would have been extremely supportive to any concerns the girl had while teaching her that marriage was her duty.
Catherine of Aragon could not use a sword.
The confusion over the consummation or non-consummation was genuine. The two people who should have known, Catherine’s Duenna and her confessor told opposing stories. Either they were too delicate to question Catherine herself or Catherine was confused too. The final dispensation for the marriage to Henry covered both eventualities but the text was somewhat confusing and could have been made grounds for annulment.
What’s Oviedo talking about? The Inquisition was established by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1478. 1502 was way to late to be panicking about it. Also the real Oviedo and his wife Catalina seem to have lived perfectly comfortably under the Inquisition.
Elizabeth of York’s last child survived long enough to be baptized Catherine in honor of guess who. She was obviously not stillborn dying a few days after birth. Elizabeth herself did not die in messy labor but expired from puerperal fever a week after the birth, on her own birthday in fact. Henry and her children were devastated, and probably Catherine too. It must have seemed to her like every friendly member of her new family was being taken from her.
My hand cramped from writing down all the inaccuracies in this episode. I wound up laughing a lot since crying with annoyance sounded like too much work.
That being said, though that blue dress Catherine wears is highly inaccurate — it’s pretty and I love it. I want to see more of it. :P
If Catherine was confused about the status of her hymen it’s probably because she was getting contradictory advice from the two authority figures in her life; her Duenna and her Priest. You could make a good scene, even an entire episode, out of a grieving and somewhat frightened sixteen year old girl struggling with conflicting advice from her two authority figures not to mention her sense of destiny and homesickness, the former urging her to marry young Henry (or old one for that matter) and become Queen and the latter whinging ‘I want to go home!’ Then Queen Elizabeth dies, and shortly afterward Isabella dies and neither father seems to care about her any more. There’s no money and every question whether her marriage will ever take place… Poor Catherine!
Thank you for the facts, though I don’t think that Philipa Fucking Gregory ever let facts confuse a good yarn. Though the status of Catherine’s hymen might not been even an issue. Since she was a royal born girl who was expected to ride in royal processions with her family, she might have already ruptured the hymen. So there could have been no blood on the sheets of either marriage.
That is highly probable. later when Catherine’s virginity became an issue there was no talk of bloody sheets. Apparently it was understood that she might not bleed.
PS, I’d mind the inaccuracies less if PFG actually did write a good yarn!
Guys, They’re “Saving Catherine’s story from the patriarchal lens of history!” or whatever Horseshit they’re marketing this complete GARBAGE as!
That veil Catherine wears on Arthur’s funeral reminds me of veils seen in this:
I’ve definitely seen peaked headresses like that in a historical context but about a century earlier and French. What I want to knows is why heavy black fishing net is suddenly fashionable at court.
I kind of think they might be leaving a backdoor so that when their next series rolls around and a certain pair of Boleyn girls come to court, their audience doesn’t feel too bad about Henry leaving Catherine.
Never marry Henry VIII. On the other hand feel free to have an affair with him. He seems to have treated his mistresses better than his wives, he had no high expectations of them and when done with them he provided for their future with a good husband of suitable rank as a gentleman was suppose to.
I once had a dream in which I was Henry VIII’s mistress. We were sitting together in the hall of one of his manors watching some kind of entertainment and Henry was being perfectly charming. I believe I thought how lucky I was I wasn’t his wife.
Hahhaha! Yeah, mistresses got a much better deal from him.
Henry followed the rules where mistresses were concerned. He was notably discreet, the only two mistresses we can be sure of are Bessie Blount who bore his only known illegitimate child, and Mary Boleyn whose affair is only on record because Henry needed a dispensation to marry her sister. There were undoubtedly others but from these two cases we know that Henry tried to avoid creating open scandal – which was good for the lady’s future repute – and pensioned her off by making a good match for her. There is no reason to believe any relationship previous to Anne Boleyn lasted very long. Everybody seemed to think Henry would tire of Anne and dismiss her as he had all the others. As we know he didn’t.
Weirdly enough, his grumpy daddy seems to be absolutely great husband. I have a feeling the character of Tywin Lannister was slightly inspired by him – both were kind of assholes who were all about money, prestige and power, but loved their wives and were really great husbands.
Henry VII’s character disintegrated visibly after Elizabeth’s death. Something similar happened to Ferdinant the Catholic after losing Isabella. Basically Catherine was dealing with two men who’d just lost their moral anchor, were emotionally devastated and whose worst instincts were in full charge.
As far as I know, these two have always been dicks, but you’re right, Elizabeth would vouch for Catherine. On the other hand, Margaret Beaufort was alive and she still wasn’t much help, so I doubt Elizabeth, who was less influential, would really make a change. Meanwhile Ferdinand was kind of occupied at the time screwing over his OTHER daughter, so there’s that. (And it’s really fucking sad, to read about poor Joanne being screwed over by both her husband and father, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Both Henry and Ferdinand had their Dickish side but Elizabeth and Isabella seem to have successfully kept them reined in. Elizabeth was the most invisible of royal wives but judging by the way Henry’s behavior nosedived after her death her love and support was vital to keeping him on an even keel.
I am horrified in ways I cannot express.
OH.DEAR.GOD – I’ve only watched up to this ep, & I’m questioning how I lasted this long- when I started, I thought I was only going to be eye-rolling & grinding my teeth… but no, I’ve also ended up bursting into hysterical giggles, too – but seriously, is there any reason why this trash gets made into movies/ series, when well-written, well-researched, & equally fascinating works don’t?
I actually like Margaret’s green dress, I just wish she had a pair of stays on- obviously, corsets didn’t exist, yet but the girl needs some kind of support.
“Maggie” would have been called Meg or Meggie, not Maggie. “Lizzie” would have been called Bess or Bessie, not Lizzie. Also, I’m pretty sure Prince Arthur died of Tuberculosis. It was reported that Henry VII had it too but didn’t die until it came back later, which wasn’t uncommon. About 25% of people who had TB went into “remission” and then it came back in full fury, killing the person.
How did Henry’s hair go from curly to straight suddenly?