46 thoughts on “Catching Up With The Spanish Princess: Season 2

    1. Yes, that’s exactly it. And badly fitted, at that. Young Mary would have been beautifully dressed for such an occasion.

      Two questions: Is that really pregnancy armor? Please say it’s not.

      Maggie and Tom aren’t really flirting with one another, are they? That seems–wrong, although interesting.

      Make that three questions: Is it just me or are modern young Henry VIIIs cast to look all sulky and un-fun, like vapid male models? The real Henry was supposedly charming at that point in his life, and a very cultured man as well.

      Apart from that, the overall costuming looks much improved.

      1. This was the absolute only time Henry was at all charming. And props to this story for at least getting how Henry and Catherine of Aragon’s marriage probably spiraled into narcissism IRL. (not just Anne Boleyn as The Other Woman).
        Everything else… eh. At least the fabrics are less “20% off at Michael’s”.

    1. She might look better, but they did Meg dirty. First, the hopeful meeting she had with her new husband is dashed into mud-splattered Scottish reality, then they make her post widowhood love interest into the biggest dork since before Hadrian built the wall. Plus, it seems like once someone read the line ‘f-ing she wolf,’ they decided the main acting direction would be “bare your teeth and growls your lines as much as possible.”

      1. I really had problems understanding that scene, was the mood they were going for “she tries to be ‘badass’ but utterly fails at it”?

  1. Catherine exclusively wearing French hoods (sans veil, naturally) is just the sartorial equivalent of the show’s attempts to make her interesting by ripping off everything we know about Anne Boleyn.

    It’s pretty depressing how the showrunners clearly do not like the historical CoA and think the only way to make a show about her watchable is by turning her into Spanish Anne Boleyn and putting her in ludicrous battle scenes and having her be awful to every other female character, including little Mary. CoA, in death as in life, deserved better.

    1. I see it more as them thinking a modern audience won’t get how badass it was for her to be regent and in charge of the troops in name, and so need to actually put her into battle — the same way they didn’t think we’d understand her mother was a badass for doing all the behind-the-scenes logistical work for her armies, and instead put her into battle.

      1. Idk I feel like shows like The Crown, The Borgias and the new She-Ra (no seriously it’s awesome- alliances, tactics and resources are a big deal) are able to make you feel how badass strategy and political maneuvering can be regardless of someone being present in combat. But we’re aiming for low fruit with fans of Philippa F***ing Gregory so unless they really wanted to raise the game with historical nuance and possibly alienate an audience (how can she be badass unless she literally uses a sword?) this is what we got.
        Hence the maternity armor.

  2. At least this time the costumes didn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out.It does stick out that they were so committed to a Florentine look for Katherine,including the gorgeous Borgias hairstyles,while it would have been more accurate for her to start dressing visibly ‘Tudor’.Thankfully they kept the Tudor look for the formal event.Looking at the group shots one can easily point out Katherine as the best dressed in the flashiest but modest attire as the Queen might have.
    My heart goes out for the actresses if they weren’t wearing a sturdy shift protecting their skin from the overdress(which is often the case),as this particular style of Indian fabric has a horrifically scratchy wrong side with loose threads.The dresses would have looked more accurate if they used stomachers in the same fabric as the rest of the gown and pinned over the gown like plackets instead of under(which gives off a rather 18C look, not even Elizabethan).

    1. Well the dresses have to be lined, right? And I’ve heard a rumor that the women’s dresses will get more recognizably “Tudor” as the season finishes. I think they’re trying to contrast “happy pretty Florentine” with “dour sad Tudor.”

      1. “dour sad Tudor” = me punching things.

        It can be made pretty, hell, look at Anne of the Thousand Days! SO PRETTY & yes, some of that’s Geneviève Bujold but also Margaret Furse as costume designer knew WTFrock she was doing.

      2. I feel they could have used colourful silks in first half and dark velvets in second half to convey the same idea instead of dropping the anvil by changing the entire silhouette.The powder blue and gold gown actually looks more cutesy than her bold orange outfits.I hope they don’t put her in a literal nun’s attire in the end to hammer the point,but I have full faith in the show to take me down with surprise.
        Last season made the transition gowns look like split front mumus,I agree the Florentine look is partly palatable in comparison to what we have seen.

    2. The dress that Juana wears in the first half is actually recycled from the Borgias. It’s one of Lucrezia’s outfits. They just put a mantle over it to make it look different.

    1. And it appears that someone read a book (or at least googled “16th century women’s clothing”), as opposed to season 1, where it appeared that the research consisted of listening to a drunk person describe the images in Racinet and Norris. So an improvement? I think?

  3. I really appreciate the attempts to give Henry that big, square silhouette, even if the actor doesn’t fit it. That’s a huge part of who he was, and how he presented himself. Much better than leather pants anyway!

    1. The actor has a quiet, willowy “Boy Next Door” vibe at odds with Henry VIII’s “Larger Than Life” physicality and persona. If they can’t manage the personality, at least they’re trying with the look!

    2. Yes! I’m hoping they recast the role with a different, bulkier actor for next season, because this guy in no way will be able to pull off middle-aged Henry.

  4. Queen Claude’s dress looks like it was made from curtains (and they weren’t born in time to channel Scarlett O’Hara). The crown Henry wears at the Field-of-Cloth-of-Gold looks much too big for him. (the young man who plays him seems to be on the lean side; he’s a handsome fellow, but does not project anything close to the real Henry VIII’s charisma or dominance, more like he’s either yapping at Catherine or sulking).

  5. In my mind’s ear, you injured your throat from all the yelling. You deserve all the Pink Drinks you like.

  6. Thank you for writing about Season 2 of The Adventures of Mary Sue of Aragon. Do you know just how special Queen Catherine is? Well if you don’t, never fear, at least three characters will extol her virtues per episode.

    This pretty but dumb, dumb show is my favorite unintentional comedy. The first few episodes gave me one of the best ways to turn off my brain from worrying about the election.

    Its treatment of history is so… pathetic, I guess? But in the true sense of pathos, like I actually feel sorry for it? Whatever it is, I can’t be mad at it.

    I like to think that Laura Carmichael, tired of playing the physical embodiment of a sad trombone noise, demanded something interesting happen for her character this season. LP and behold, the Last and Blandest Plantagenet (did anyone already come up with Bland-agenet last season), has two live interests, including Thomas Freaking More. I fully expect later seasons to reveal that ‘Utopia’ is secretly inspired by Lady Pole, and that his last words before the axe fell were, “Maggie! Maggie!”

    1. I wonder if Lady Salisbury and Sir Thomas ever actually spoke to each other? They moved in fairly different circles of the court. More was a councillor and government officer. Maggie was a member of the Princess Mary’s household. They probably knew each other by sight but no more.

  7. Well, at least we can say they are pretty. It is more the first season. Personally, I don’t know why they insist on dressing KoA in oranges and pinks when greens and blues are more flattering for the actress, but there are so many things that I don’t understand about this series. Turning Katherine into a baby stealer who hates her beloved daughter, who is nasty to Lina and Bessy for no reason? It’s like they’re trying to make us hate her. Lina and Oviedo are the only that worth the watch.

    Also, isn’t France supposed to be the top of fashion during the time? Why is poor Queen Claude wearing a generic medieval dress bought on the internet for twenty bucks?

  8. I was wondering if you all would circle back to Spanish Princess because I’ve definitely noticed the costuming improvement this season, particularly in this last episode where we started to get the correct sleeve shape. Definitely the Most Improved Player award goes to Margaret Tudor–her costumes last season were sooo dumpy and imo were the result of costumers that didn’t know what to do with a shape that wasn’t straight stick-shaped like CoA or Elizabeth of York. This season they’re actually giving Georgie Henley well-tailored, shaped gowns and the difference is staggering.

  9. I wasn’t expecting many Hoods I think they’re more Anne Boleyn Times and I actually think they made a lot more effort this season but again after seeing Catherine wearing a windmill nothing can shock me in this show that much

    1. There would definitely have been hoods, but they would have been gable hoods, which are quite angular and cover the hair entirely. Anne Boleyn famously popularised French hoods in England, which have that smooth, round look and scandalously leave the front section of hair exposed.

      But this is Starz, and they want KoA to have beach waves in every scene, so whatever.

      1. I’m rather partial to the kennel hood, you can see an example on Cecily More Heron, the pregnant sister to the left. The lady in the gable hood on the right is the famous Margaret More Roper.

  10. What is that on Harry’s head? And I though Henry VII had a bad crown! It doesn’t fit and are those turquoise.

  11. Seriously, what is so bleeding hard about authentic Tudor costume? We have innumerable pictures and statues, we know what people wore and when they wore it. Why won’t designers follow the bloody research?

    1. Honestly I don’t think it’s a research problem. It’s probably more that they don’t consider authentic Tudor fashion to be “pretty”, “sexy” and colorful enough for the target audience’s princess fantasies (we are talking about Phillipa Gregory adaptions after all)
      I also suspect that all the Starz Phillipa Gregory adaption form White Queen to this are trying to copy Game of Thrones’ fantasy fashion, which netted that show endless costuming awards and free internet advertising.

  12. Does it drive anyone else crazy that Henry keeps calling Lady Salisbury “Aunt”? She wasn’t his aunt, she was his first cousin. Since this is will established in both prequel shows it’s pretty annoying.

  13. Holy crap! In the final episode of the season, “Maggie” Pole’s French hood is actually a French hood! I’ve never ever seen that on this show! Lol

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