96 thoughts on “The Spanish Princess Recap: Episode 1

  1. My understanding is that Catherine of Aragon introduced lacemaking (and saffron, too) to England after she married Henry, so lace on an English costume at this point is probably wrong.

    1. At the time the action takes place, lace was very much a luxury item that would have been worn in small quantities, like at the cuffs and neckline. The lace on Arthur’s garment is way wrong!

  2. Starz was having a special (1 week free trial and then $5 a month for 3 months) so I downloaded this episode last night along with episode 1 of the White Princess. I’m not sure what made me rage more, Elizabeth & Henry VII having hate sex before marriage that lasted 0.5 seconds, or hot, creepy Prince Henry playing writing love letters to Catherine of Aragon as Prince Arthur as some kind of joke. Also, is Laura Carmichael contractually obligated to play all her characters as the world’s biggest drips?

  3. I can’t do the crying laughing emoji about that last screenshot soooo….

    My mom came to visit and told me how excited she was to start watching this show. >_<

  4. At age 10 Henry was destined for the Church. Hence, theoretically celibate.

    It is impossible to list the costume tragedies here. Thank you for watching this so I can follow my instinct: Run Away! RUN AWAY!!!

    1. OMG, I’ve half-heartedly watched an episode of Les Mis & been SO UNDERWHELMED. Gonna make Kendra take on that one at some point, I don’t have it in me. cracks editor-in-chief whip

        1. I don’t know if you’ll go back and edit it, but the voice over at the beginning with the English accent is not Catherine. It’s actually Maggie Pole.

  5. Let’s talk about how Richard Pole’s (Lady Edith/Maggie/Margaret’s husband) hand grew back after it was lopped off in The White Princess. And the weird kiss between Queen Elizabeth and Katherine. And Henry VII’s awful purple cloak returning from TWP. I think I’m going to watch this show just to rag on it and for the fashion recaps.

  6. “Frock Flicks is a family: if I have to suffer, you have to suffer with me.”

    D This made my day : D

    My professional life right now is a real spectacle de merde, and I hate the direction the final season of Game of Thrones is taking, so thank you for this recap which was like a joyful little ray of sunshine in my life!

    1. Amen, amen! I can’t tell you guys how much I appreciate a good snark right now. THANK YOU!!

  7. thank you for your service, lol. :-)

    what the heck is going on here?? Also, can confirm that just chanting a title over and over isn’t a traditional prayer. I mean, repetition fine, but I would expect something like… a request? Lord help me to be a good wife of Prince Arthur and Queen of England, or something like that—I mean, it’s one of the purposes of prayer, asking for help. Just telling God your job title is a little silly.

    Sometimes I’m glad I don’t have the expensive channels. This is one of those times.

    1. Also, it doesn’t really make much sense. Becoming the wife of Prince Arthur is not synonymous with becoming the Queen of England. It only means she may become the Queen of England at some point in the future, provided both her and her husband live long enough. It would make more sense for her to ask the Lord (and Mary, and several assorted saints for good measure) to help her to be a good wife to prince Arthur and to safely bear him children, and to be a good princess to her subjects – princesses also had their duties, you know. All accompanied by the Lord’s Prayer, the Rosary, and probably several litanies.

  8. So many questions!
    How many duvet covers and curtains were sacrificed to make this thing?
    Why are the women wearing bras on their heads?
    Why are there aristos wearing blue? Wasn’t that a servants-only colour? (Find me an actual portrait of a Tudor aristocrat wearing blue cloth. Italian, sure, but English?)
    Why are they lifting their skirts to walk? Their mothers should have tied their hands together to stop them doing it.
    Is this the era of the Great Hairpin Shortage?
    Where are all the biggins?

    What a load of bollocks that looks. I don’t think I’ll be adding to the viewing numbers, but I’ll try and suffer the costumes along with you.
    What. she secretly loved Henry all along? He was very handsome, but he was also an insufferable prig. And ten years old, though I daresay there’ll be some ravishing along the way.

    1. Personally, I thought Rosa was wearing a sleep mask on her head, but now that you mention it, it does look more like a padded bra.

  9. As a child I thought the word was bed raggled which now I realize is probably more accurate anyway.

  10. I’m starting to think that the costume designer is under the impression that Spain is not a real place. Almost none of the outfits the Spanish wear have any bearing whatsoever on the actual fashions of the time, minus the farthingale. Everything they wear looks like it was made for background characters in Game of Thrones, instead of for characters of a time and place that is pretty well-documented.

  11. Looks like Point de Venise lace which is a 17th century thing. To sculptural to be a form of Reticella or other cutwork lace forms (some of which are this period) to my only vaguely trained eye.

    1. It looked a lot like Venise lace to me too. Definitely not period.

      1. THE Kathleen Norvell? If so, small world. Your former camp cook at St Mary’s City muster.

  12. This episode reminds me more of carnival.
    I assume that next are coming some American Indians, Chinese and what ever to make the whole scenery even more colourfull, not to forget the always drinking stupid german knights.
    The chains on poor Lina are looking very rough, more like a work by amateurs.
    To include different characters from different parts of the world and society are a good idea, but not if it just results in an assembly of cliches.
    No surprise: I have to see it to believe it. ;-)

  13. Entirely random point of order, “The Cutty-Uppy Guy” is originally my name for Ramsey Bolton ;)

    I was laughing too hard while editing this post to figure out how to insert that as an editor’s note.

  14. I don’t care if there are no spoilers in history and thus we know Arthur is going to die and Catherine’s going to marry Henry, was it REALLY necessary to make Arthur into milquetoast to get that point across?
    And what was that shoe thing right before the wedding?

    1. AND in PFG’s book, Arthur is fabulous and he and Catherine fall IN LOVE; Catherine marries Henry b/c Arthur makes her promise that she will, not b/c he’s hunky.

      I didn’t mention the shoe removal, you’re right – I foolishly assumed it had some historical reason to be there, but that is probably not a good assumption to make!

      1. So, not only do they fail history, they fail to fail history by failing the way the source material failed history.
        There are not enough o’s in the universe to fill the Wooooooooooooow I want to exhale right now.

      2. I don’t know the historical accuracy of it (because it’s based on a PFG novel) but, in The White Princess, Margaret Plantgenet walked barefoot down the aisle of her wedding to Pole, too. I dunno if “Barefoot Brides” were really a thing.

          1. I wanna say Elizabeth Woodville also walked barefoot to her Coronation in The White Queen.

            Maybe “Barefoot Wimminz in Church” is an inside joke with the folks over at STARZ! ?

  15. I was all set to hate this and — I actually didn’t hate it. I found it pretty to look at, despite the WTF costumes. (I actually really love that inaccurate blue dress. I know. Shoot me.) I know the plot is going to go downhill next week and the hate might set in, but I enjoyed seeing Isabella be badass (she’s not blonde tho) and the flashback with Columbus. Harriet Walter is hilarious in this. She looks at Catherine with brow-raising REALLY? faces that crack me up. The weirdest crap by far was aging Henry VIII up 7 years into a Hot Stalker Guy, Henry VII’s beard (WHY?), and Elizabeth… I guess, sexually dominating Catherine with that forcd kiss? That was just creepy and gross and weird and I wanna know what the hell the writers meant by it.

    Regarding the cross-cultural romances… well, the real Catalina did marry Orviedo, another Moor from Catherine’s entourage, so they’re being “accurate” with their romance.

    1. Yeah, anti-miscegenation was probably de rigeur in reality, so it’s not unexpected, but at the same time, if you’re going to bother to play fast and loose with every other part of history AND claim to be “feminist,” you could be a little braver.

      1. Minus Katharine’s rudeness and Prince Harry being seven years older, a lot was “accurate” in the first episode (regarding Katharine’s arrival, being blown off course, a Moor uprising delaying her departure from Spain, Henry bursting into her room and demanding to see her unveiled), which surprised me. I expect subsequent ones to go downhill, especially when they haul out the “Katharine is lying about consummating her marriage” thing. :P

        1. The Moor uprising did not include a personal attack on Isabella and Catherine as they travelled to the coast. And as I recall Henry VII didn’t actually break into Catherine’s room but simply insisted on seeing her and without a veil. When told this was against Spanish custom he pointed this was England. Both he and Arthur were very pleased with what they saw.

          1. I remember Henry insisting on entering Katharine’s room and them waking her up from her ‘siesta’ and then asking to see beneath her veil. She removed it, to much joy from the English. ;)

            1. I won’t say you are wrong. The thing I remember clearly is Henry insisting on the veil being removed. Everything else is kind of vague.

    2. Apparently Lina is a conflation of a high ranking and non Moorish lady in waiting and a slave woman also named Catalina who may indeed have been a sub-Saharan African as Thomas More calls Catherine’s slaves Ethiopians instead of Moors.
      Catalina the slave was a very intimate servant, her official job description was bedmaker but it is implied she did other things for Catherine as well, very private and personal things. The possibilities of such a character are obvious. Pity they didn’ti go with them.
      Eventually Catalina,now a free woman, returned to Spain, married and settled in her home town where she was hunted out and deposed by Henry’s agents. Since there is no record of her testimony she probably didn’t say what Henry wanted to hear.

        1. Thank Google. It is interesting isn’t it? Catalina’s relationship with Catherine could make a fascinating story. They were apparently much of an age and the intimacy of Catalina’s services would make her a natural confidant for Catherine.Things she was embarrassed to discuss with her Duenna or her Confessor she could talk about to Catalina.

    3. May I say that Oviedo is totally gorgeous. Probably the best looking man in the show.

  16. Bless you, my child. By watching the episodes of this shitty show, all your sins are forgiven in perpetuity.

    But my question is why did she pair the blue sofa with her farthingale and not a proper underskirt?

    Why doesn’t Starz or some other channel air the Spanish Isabella of Castile series? It’s so much better.

    And where is Theon Greyjoy when you need him to dispose of slutty attendants that no princess would ever have. And where’s Maria de Salinas?

    And what is Saruman’s niece (Harriet Walters is the niece of Chris Lee) doing in this? Did she loose a bet with Olivia Coleman?

    1. I thought the Spanish Isabella of Castile was briefly on Netflix? I could be hallucinating tho (not that I watched it but I feel like I added it to my list & it was taken away maybe?).

  17. What is so difficult about early 16th c. dress? We have paintings, we have statues, we know what these people thought was good taste!
    What is with the flat skirts, varied by windmill hoops? What is with the cra-cray headgear?? And why, why are they wearing all these prints????
    Isabella the Catholic never fought a battle in her life though she was often just behind the lines and busy with the wounded and supplies. I don’t say she never wore armour, she may have on parade or for greater security when she got too close to the front. But she never swung a sword, or scimitar, and she and Catherine certainly weren’t attacked by converted Moors or anybody else on their way to the ship.
    Arthur and Catherine exchanged formal and rather stiff letters whose real purpose was to display the learning and manners of the writer to the parents of the recipient.
    The names of Catherine’s Spanish attendants are known and several of them were interesting people but no, we get phony ladies in waiting with phony stories.
    The Spanish marriage was important to Henry and Elizabeth as it was a powerful alliance and a recognition of their dynasty. The last thing Elizabeth would do is be rude to her daughter in law. In fact she was very kind and welcoming. It’s true that Warwick’s execution was related to Catherine’s coming, her new throne had to be completely secure. There is no indication that Margaret Pole resented Catherine for it. In fact the two women became fast friends. Margaret understood dynastic politics all too well to place blame on an innocent bystander.
    Catherine undoubtedly came to England determined to be a good wife and a good Queen. She hoped to grow to love Arthur who was young and reasonably attractive making it easy for her to develop feelings for him. But love was definitely something that happened after marriage. It had happened to her parents and she probably expected it to happen for her too.

    1. I totally agree. These costumes are an absolute disaster. They bear as much resemblance to early 16th century garments as blue jeans and T-shirts. The things on the ladies’ heads are an utter mess and the whole diversity theme making a major character Out of an African servant and her boyfriend is so jarringly disconcerting it reminds me of the mess of Mary Queen of Scots. Everything is wrong with this series.

  18. The correspondence between two people who are about to enter an arranged marriage is a splendid idea for character interactions, besides a thing that actually happened. Pity they botched it with soapy “Henry and Catherine are meant for each other” bullshit.

    1. I agree. Add in the fact that the letters aren’t private and you have two young people trying to learn a little about each other under formidable handicaps. Imagine the scenes of painful composition and the even more painful analysis at the other end as the recipient tries to read between the lines.

  19. So much wrong. So much. Isabella of Castille – a pale-complexioned reddish BLONDE. As one of the most powerful monarchs of the time, her appearance was documented extensively. No excuse. Oh, Isabella went out and fought with a sword- “Ur ur ur women are fierce, ur ur ur.”. Catherine – NOT A skinny virulent redhead. Strawberry blonde, and plump. Henry Tudor- as you have said, was a 10 -year old CHILD. The costumes are hideous, the “history” is so, horribly, badly wrong, and they didn’t even follow the story in the damn book upon which this excrable excuse for a program is based. And all the Maggies and Charlies. Ugh. UGH UGH UGH! It is the Reignification of history and I, for one, am not here for it! And the worst thing of all – many people will watch this piece of garbage and believe it for the truth. I can’t even laugh about it, I’m so angry.

  20. Gawd, I love you sooooo much. The only thing I was left wondering about was Lady Edith–er, Margaret Pole’s lack of petticoats/hoop/anything to keep that skirt from hanging like sad living room curtains from her bum roll.

  21. I’m certain that I read that Catherine & Arthur wrote to each other in Latin because she didn’t speak English & he didn’t speak Spanish. So why did she interrupt Lady Margaret Beaufort to brag that she could speak English. Right before she childishly demanded a bath & a siesta. A properly raised princess of Spain would not be so RUDE!

    1. Yeah, I think they were trying to show Catherine as being regal and having high standards, but she just sounded spoiled.

  22. How the fuck did is Henry supposed to have sent her letters in the first place without either of their parents noticing?

  23. In Spain, Muslims who converted to Catholicism were called “Moriscos” rather than “Conversos”. “Converso” could be appropriate, but it’s more used with the Jews who converted to Catholicism. When talking about converted Muslims, Spanish Historiography prefers the term “Moriscos”, I think

    1. That was my first thought too. I am descended from Jewish conversos and I’ve never heard the name applied to former Muslims before.

    2. Thank you! Not only were conversos Jews, but many of them continued to practice Judaism in secret.

      1. Mr ancestors did. Eventually they fled to the Netherlands where they could practice their religion freely.

  24. Glad I’m not the only one having issues because of Myranda in “Game of Thrones”.

  25. About baths. They were extremely labor intense due the the amount of work involved in heating enough water to fill one of those hot tub sized wooden baths, but they were a luxury highly valued by the wealthy and especially kings and great nobles. Catherine’s desire for a bath wouldn’t have surprised Margaret Pole at all. In all likelihood Catherine would find one all prepared for her.

    1. One of my pet peeves.
      People used to bathe a lot less often than we do not because they just loooved being dirty. They didn’t have freaking plumbing. Water for a bath had to be drawn from a well (several times over), carried over to the house, heated in the kitchen, carried over to the bath, poured in, and after the proceedings were completed, carried out again. It was a time and resource consuming process (which was also the reason why several people bathed in the same tub – just imagine how long it would take to make up several fresh baths).
      Even if the work was being done by servants, it still took up time and resources. Servant busy with running back and forth to fetch enough water isn’t doing anything else that needs to be done, and place and fuel are used for heating water instead of cooking (fuel wasn’t free).
      Of course, at a royal court there were plenty of hands available (although Henry VII was notoriously plagued by cash problems, if I remember correctly). But with these logistics involved, one bath a week seems quite reasonable to me. Bath is not the only method of keeping clean.

      1. There were ewers and washbasins and clean linen was worn to protect heavy, unwashable outer garments.

          1. Immersion bathing also tends to less popular in climates where getting naked and wet all over is an invitation to pneumonia.

            1. And heating was rather inefficient back then (also expensive). Plus medicine was not exactly what it is now. People were so afraid of catchig a chill because a minor cold could develop into something deadly.

    2. Does Catherine bath frequently or sometimes? If I recalled, her mother Isabel only bath twice in her entire time.

      1. If it’s true about Isabella it would have been motivated by religious asceticism. Bathing was a pleasure. Henry VIII had baths with running water installed in his palaces. It’s reasonable to assume Catherine made use of the facilities.

      2. I think it was probably in reality more than twice, despite her claim, but Isabella was famous for abstaining from bathing for the most part.

  26. So…apparently, if you have Starz On Demand or the Starz app, you can watch the episodes early. I can’t wait to see what y’all have to say about episode 2, which I am currently watching and facepalming to! It’s…slightly more accurate to its original source material (PFG), but just barely. And the historical inaccuracy/unproven claims…Oh it makes my head hurt.

    1. I’m watching it now and the costumes are even worse. The fabric looks like it came from Joann’s

  27. WOW. This looks so, so bad I almost want to watch an episode so I can fall off the bed laughing. I mean, it sounds worse than “The Tudors,” which has been my television-historical-romance-badness benchmark for several years. Arthur’s hair! (Even less becoming than the portraits, and that’s not easy.) Henry’s age! The waste of Harriet Walters, plus the Thai thing on her head. Real people and real relationships mucked around with in hopes of making those weird olden times more “relatable” and “relevant.”

    (My favorite history discussion board had a thread titled “Philippa Gregory–should she be shot?” until someone made them change it. Damn.)

    1. I say again; What’s with all the prints!!!!! Damask, brocade and embroidery were big in the 16th c. Prints not so much as far as I can recall.

  28. They look like they have a low budget and are trying too hard to create colour and variety. Hence why some of the costumes have weird design shapes and gaudy colour splashing.

  29. I HATE HATE HATE the childish use of “let’s stick the aggressive queen in straight up armour and sword to represent the fact that she’s F I E R C E” in so many things. I doubt many queens actually fought, and when MQoS and Elizabeth I did the armour, it was stylised addition to their gowns and not intended to mimic men’s armour. Women weren’t allowed to fight.
    Also the Henry VII actor looks absolutely nothing like Henry VII. He was dark brown hair, only middle-aged a this time, he died in his fifties, he had longer hair, no beard, sharper features with cheekbones for days. Who even is this character? None of his distinctive personality traits, e.g. obsessed with finance, S P I E S, seem well captured. Do they even know who Henry VII is, or is he just a generic king? Also why are all the shitty historical shows obsessed with crowns to make sure you know who the king/queen is? They mostly just wore fancy hats, and the main royal symbology was with livery like tudor roses or garter collars or something.

  30. I cannot express my absolute adoration for the OLYMPIC LEVEL Snark in this piece!! You have another follower!!

    I waited some serious time (as is my M.O.) to watch this show….and..how shall I put this….
    After 27 minutes of the first episode, I am migraine-indusing confused by the lack of cohesiveness in the costumes.
    I am but a modest costumer of community theatre and I saw the oddities!
    What has me bamboozled enough to internet research a topic (which happily led me here) is the removal of shoes by “they call me Prince Harry” (said in voice of Pumba from Lion King “They call me MR PIG”).
    I can find no historical basis and only a hint of a mention throughout the entire interwebs.
    I am unsure I can return to viewing this possible travesty….but I will be back to read more on here!!
    Trixie The Magical Unicorn

    1. Welcome, Trixie–I liked your post so much that I read it aloud to my husband, who is usually above such frivolity (although any mention of Philippa Fucking Gregory makes him giggle). Frock Flicks is wonderful that way: its deep and abiding appreciation of the truly fine and the truly dreadful in film costuming brings pleasure to all sorts of folk, even snobbish Yorkshire gents.

  31. So they couldn’t cast a kid or teen as young Henry? That’s what made me nope out of this show. I can only suspend my belief so much. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  32. Sorry, this migh have been answered elsewhere – why are her shoes removed at the church door before she walks down the ailse?

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