Can’t wait for the Downton Abbey film to arrive in cinemas? New period drama The Spanish Princess could help to fill the void.
The show, made by the network STARZ, is set to transport audiences back to Tudor England, focusing on the story of Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon, played by Charlotte Hope (who you may recognise from her previous roles in Game of Thrones and The Theory of Everything).
Charlotte plays opposite Elliot Cowan (Lost in Austen, Alexander) in the eight-part mini-series, which follows Spanish-born Catherine as she navigates the complicated lineage of the English monarchy in the 16th century.
For those who need a refresher on their history lessons, Catherine of Aragon was married to Henry’s brother Prince Arthur before she wed the king, with whom she had six children, although only her daughter Mary survived.
Their marriage ended when Catherine failed to produce a male heir and Henry instilled himself as Supreme Head of the Church so that he could marry his next beloved, Anne Boleyn. Catherine was just one of Henry’s six spouses, who famously either were divorced, beheaded, or died (with the last, Katherine Parr eventually outliving her husband).
The Spanish Princess, which is based on the books The King’s Curse and The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, documents the first Catherine’s ongoing attempts to form an allegiance between Spain and England, and her journey through the royal courts.
Look closely at the supporting cast and you’ll even spot a historical TV veteran – Laura Carmichael, Downton‘s own Lady Edith, who plays Countess Maggie Pole in the new programme.
‘Catherine is remembered as a footnote in history books, the older wife Henry VIII divorced because he couldn’t get a kid out of her,’ Laura said of the show in a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar. ‘To see her as this young, passionate, beautiful woman who tries to become Queen of England is really interesting.’
The Spanish Princess will be released on 5 May through Starzplay, which you can access via Amazon Prime. Other STARZ shows include Outlander and American Gods, so you know you’re in good hands!