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 next of many recaps. Frock Flicks is a family: if I have to suffer, you have to suffer with me.
PEOPLE, THERE WILL BE A SEASON 2 OF THIS FIESTA OF HISTORICAL INACCURACY. STRAP IN.
Catherine and Henry are shmoopy, just need her dowry.
News from Spain – the Queen of Castile’s ship has been blow off course, and she is in London! Except, it’s not Queen Isabella, but Queen Juana (or Joanna, as this show anglicizes her). (Side note, this all really happened). And, this is how Catherine supposedly learns of her mother’s death.
Queen Joanna is all fiery “olé!” Spanish-ness.
She’s here with her husband, Philip the Handsome, Archduke of the House of Habsburg, which was currently ruling the Low Countries (Belgium/Netherlands area). Margaret Beaufort is STOKED because of the possibility of negotiating directly with the Hapsburgs for them to turn over rebel Edmund de la Pole.
Catherine arrives at court and is the only one (along with her ladies) dressed in mourning. Joanna is NOT sad about her mother’s death, and not terribly sisterly towards Catherine.
Henry tries to be sympathetic to Catherine, but his father interrupts him angrily, telling him to go make pleasantries with the Spanish royals.
Henry VII is weirdly and randomly hot for Joanna, who forces Catherine to join her for a “Spanish” dance that is an awkward and ungainly sort-of-flamenco number.
Lina tracks down Oviedo and tells him she will marry him, and that Catherine has given her a dowry. He tells her to give it back, and that they will marry when he can support her.
Catherine finally gets Joanna on her own. Joanna is in a crappy situation, with her husband philandering all over the place and both him and her father (Ferdinand of Aragon) trying to take control of the Castilian crown. While Catherine is sad about her mother’s death, Joanna is NOT — her mother used to abuse her in order to try to make her more religious, but Joanna doesn’t believe in god (again, true).
Catherine means to ask Joanna to pay the final half of her dowry, so she can marry Henry, but the two get too busy discussing Joanna’s problems, and Joanna is pretty prickly.
Rosa is stoked, because Stafford has been avoiding her, but has FINALLY asked to meet with her.
The English are inventing reasons why the Spanish ship isn’t ready to leave; Joanna is pissed.
Stafford stands up Rosa, who is destroyed; Lina agrees to hunt him down and talk to him.
Catherine accidentally finds Philip shagging a servant. She’s also remembered her mother abusing Joanna when they were children. She approaches Joanna and confirms her memories, and then asks for her dowry, selling it as a means of Catherine finding her own strength and saying it will mean an ongoing alliance between Spain and England.
Henry VII and Margaret Beaufort are busy negotiating with poncy Philip about Edmund de la Pole, with no sign of Joanna.
Henry VII is pissed at Philip’s arrogance and refusal to really negotiate. He takes it out on Prince Henry, slapping him. Catherine is there to be sympathetic, taking Henry to the kitchens to treat his resulting bruise.
Joanna shows up, is bitchy to Catherine who leaves, then tries to intimidate/seduce Henry.
Henry at first resists, then maybe succumbs, it’s unclear.
Stafford has abandoned Rosa, who has a miscarriage.
Catherine tells Joanna that the English are making up reasons to keep the Spanish royals in England in order to negotiate with Philip. She asks Joanna to agree to pay her dowry, and in return tells her about the negotiations and that the English want de la Pole.
Joanna bursts in on the negotiations, and makes an agreement to turn over de la Pole with Henry VII.
Throughout all of this, Margaret (sorry, “Maggie”) Pole is flat broke. Her tenants can barely pay their wages, and then she’s informed that she owes a gazillion back taxes to the crown. Royal officials strip her house of value, and she can barely feed her children.
She’s summoned to court, and goes because she’s trying to care for her children. Turns out Margaret Beaufort wants to try one more time to get Maggie to say that Arthur and Catherine’s marriage was consummated. Maggie refuses, Margaret throws a shitfit and says her children can starve.
Lina gets some info out of Oviedo.
Margaret Beaufort has had a brainwave, and offscreen has agreed with Joanna to marry Princess Mary* to Joanna and Philip’s son Charles. Joanna shows up in the middle of Catherine and Henry’s shmoopy picnic to announce that she no longer needs Catherine’s support and won’t pay her dowry.
* I was right, new clothes for Mary = she gets to become an actual character!
How many more of these are there?