October 11, STARZ will be premiering the second part of The Spanish Princess. The show seeks to recenter Catherine of Aragon not only in the history of her life with King Henry VIII but also restructures the entire understanding of her life as Queen and the women of the English monarchy.
Catherine of Aragon was married to King Henry VII for 23 years. However, her struggle to produce a male heir and the king’s infidelity ultimately led to the deterioration of their marriage. In the early stages of their union, the two ruled as partners, and Catherine was the first female ambassador in European history.
Catherine during her marriage suffered six miscarriages and the show offers visibility to an issue that many women face in silence. Hopefully, the show will allow women to come forward and share their stories of loss and rainbow babies. Though her life was during the sixteenth century her struggles with fertility and her husband’s infidelity resonates with women around the world today.
With the show’s focus on increasing visibility and re-centering women in history, it was also able to highlight that BIPOC were present in the UK during this period and it was something they wanted to bring forward. Actress Stephanie Levi- John was surprised to learn that people of color were a part of society. In her own words: “I genuinely didn’t see myself or any of my ancestry during that time. So it was a beautiful surprise to see my people during that moment of Tudor history.”
History has been traditionally told from the White male perspective instead of women’s and Catherine’s story has been overshadowed by the scandalous history of the King, the five wives that succeeded, and the protestant reformation. In the telling of the history of the English monarchy, Catherine’s political power and influence is a part of history that is often ignored and ultimately forgotten. The show works with the relationship between gender and power and the fact that Catherine ultimately looses her power because of the biological responsibility placed upon her. Even though there is disappointment and anger around Catherine’s fertility, there is a powerful image of her pregnant in armor showcasing the power the young queen had as a woman, a mother, a wife, and as the Spanish Princess.