The Spanish Princess: A medieval fanfic | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:07 AM, July 11, 2019

TV SERIES REVIEW

The Spanish Princess: A medieval fanfic

The Spanish Princess is so fictional that it could be passed off as fanfiction written by some teenage girl whose namesake is the youngest daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, two of the most powerful monarchs in Europe in 15th century. Even though it makes quite the soap opera for that very reason, it does not make a bad one.

Anyone who knows about the Tudor dynasty, which in its rather short reign made some of the biggest reformations in England, knows of the notorious King Henry VIII. The man went on to marry six women; two of whom he divorced, two of whom he had beheaded, one of whom died in childbirth, and the last of whom survived. Every adaption we have seen concerning their lives starts off with King Henry in his mid-thirties, unceremoniously bewitched by the much younger Anne Boleyn. His first wife, Queen Catherine, is portrayed as this faded beauty, who has lost the king’s affection due to failing to give him a son. She is always the grief-stricken queen who fights for her much-deserved place till her very last breath. However, The Spanish Princess shows us Catherine of Aragon who is not forty but only sixteen, having only just arrived in England to wed the heir apparent to the English throne. The Spanish Princess portrays her struggles with the foreign environment, culture clash, and the disregard she was most often treated with.

The show exhibits historic events that shape England even today in much distorted fashion. For those who avidly study British royal history, this show may be quite disappointing. When I had first learnt of it, I was intrigued despite my personal favourite of the six wives being Anne Boleyn (the infamous home-wrecker).  However, when I learnt of all the historical incongruence, I lost every regard for it instantly. Surprisingly, my interests were reignited. All I can say is, for someone who is impatient with television shows, finishing an eight-episode-series in less than a day is quite a feat. All the credits surely go to the show itself.

The concocted dissensions make the show much more dramatic than anticipated. Almost all the actors are British despite more than half the characters being Spanish. However, it is undeniable that Charlotte Hope as the young Catherine is beautiful. The show is also graced by Laura Carmichael who plays Margaret Pole, one of the most significant figures in the series and history itself. Rising Irish actor Ruairi O’Connor successfully portrays the charm and zeal King Henry VIII had possessed as a young prince. Harriet Walter as Lady Margaret Beaufort was absolutely splendid. However, what really keeps viewers glued to the show till the very end is the electrifying chemistry between Hope and O’Connor. They wholeheartedly devote themselves to playing two rather lovelorn teenagers. I preferred the atmosphere of this show in comparison to other shows that are set in the same timeline. From the very beginning to end of the first season, the show manages to deliver as much excitement and intricate suspense as it possibly can.

Thus, my suggestion would be to watch this show if you cannot care less about accurate history. Again, if you love history but also enjoy alterations here and there, then watching this series would mean no harm whatsoever.

 

Aysha likes her coffee bitter and her tea sweet. Send her prayers at zaheenaysha@gmail.com

 

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