While The Spanish Princess didn’t shy away from the deaths of a central character like Queen-Consort Elizabeth and secondary characters like Sir Richard Pole (Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury’s husband), it truly showed whom this story is about with the death of main figurehead King Henry in episode 8.
With the king dead, Lady Margaret Beaufort-in the throes of shock and despair-endeavors to hide the truth from the privy council and the kingdom. Abusing her privileges as the king’s mother, she does this all in the name of ensuring an easy transition for Harry. One large issue: she lies about everything (legal and otherwise) they did in the service of the king. These lies include the misappropriation of funds from taxpayers and the Church alike. When the paper trail turns to the Crown, Lady Margaret sets up a member of the council and peerage, ordering his execution without trial.
With things crashing down around her, Lady Margaret lashes out. Catherine’s lady-in-waiting Lina is forced to lie about her betrothed’s Oviedo’s involvement in getting La Infanta to Harry. Lady Margaret then orders Oviedo hanged (a major issue for me in this series, seeing as he is one of only two Black characters) based on a lie that he stole her gilded Book of Hours. Blessedly, Harry white savior rescues Oviedo and Lina is saves the horror of seeing her fiancé murdered.
With the chaos circling, one positive was Margaret Pole being released from prison and given her lands and income back. It’s a bittersweet moment-her husband is dead, her children traumatized but Lady Pole is still standing.
In the end, the Spanish princess gets her English king. The new king’s grandmother is not invited to the ceremony and the newly-styled Henry VIII advises her that her presence won’t be tolerated within he and Catherine’s marriage. It’s a harsh blow and the final scenes of Margaret Beaufort show her haunted by ghosts, ill and shut-in within her bedchamber.
As for Catherine and Harry: the road to happily ever after isn’t clear. When Catherine asks him outright if he slept with her sister Juana, Harry’s evasive. And when he insists that she swear she didn’t lose her virginity to his late brother Arthur, she obfuscates. The happy couple indeed…
The Spanish Princess series two has been ordered; fans can expect more Tudor intrigue in Summer 2020.