The Spanish Princess: Episode 7’s Hot Mess

I feel a little bitcher today than usual, so you’re gonna get more than the regular amount of snark.

Putting plot exposition into a story is tough. Really tough. So tough, it has given me endless sleepless nights as a historical novelist, but the one thing you don’t do is put it into the mouth of someone, going to the ear of someone, who should already know these things. Having Margaret Beaufort explain to Catherine of Aragon, of all people, “what it is to be a monarch” is ridiculous. If the audience needed told that you put duty before love as a monarch, always in service of your kingdom, someone should have told a know-nothing servant that, not someone raised by a monarch who would have had those beliefs and lessons drilled into her head from infancy. If anyone knew that about the throne, it was Catherine.

I have never yelled “what the hell” so loud as when everyone acted like Prince Harry, of all people, was going to get on a ship and sail to Spain to get married. So, the cunning and fearful King Henry is going to send his one and only male heir to a foreign country? When his enemy is still on the loose? I think not. The bride always goes to the husband in these matters, not the other way around, so them talking about him setting sail, leaving the country, being away from England, left giant frustrated question marks hovering over my head, because that is 100% nonsensical, no matter what time period you place it in. That is so utterly ridiculous, it makes my brain hurt.

I’m not sure when, exactly, this is supposed to be, time-wise, maybe around 1507, which means Harry’s young bride Eleanor of Castile is 9 years old. A little young to get married immediately. Not that age matters in this sh!t!show.

Personal irritating nitpick: why are the women all riding astride? That was considered indecent; women of the period rode sidesaddle, and the Spaniards rode on a different side from the English, which caused some brow-raising. But I guess it makes sense for a show that has its characters wearing necklaces on their heads and Spanish farthingales outside their clothes.

I’m all for seeing Catherine acting as the ambassador to England, but her father didn’t appoint her out of the blue. Catherine got tired of her Spanish envoy’s “incompetence” and demanded the position, which her father gladly granted to her, knowing she’d be more pro-Spain in their negotiations with England. Removing her campaigning for the role takes away from her historical tendency to be a total badass. Also, her statement of “I can dress myself” cracked me up. In a Tudor dress? No, you can’t dress yourself. Good luck lacing your own stays, woman. Good luck putting on that farthingale by yourself. Good luck lacing up the back of your own dress. Good luck… eh, never mind. No one cares.

This whole “where is Edmund de la Pole / the Duke of Suffolk?” thing is a flat out lie. Philip and Juana negotiated a trade with Henry to give up Suffolk provided Henry did not execute him. They left for Spain, Suffolk arrived, he went into jail. The end. There was no threatened invasion, no secret arrival on English shores, and certainly no Margaret Pole scheming with him against the Tudors. They’re setting her up to deserve her later beheading for treason, which is totally not okay with me, because she was innocent. Her execution was one of the most unjust things Henry VIII ever did, and justifying it with her being anti-Tudor pisses me off.

The stuff about her being penniless and having to put her son into a religious order is true, though I’m not sure they were Silent. I haven’t read about Cardinal Reginald Pole in awhile, but I do know he was mad at his mother forever for leaving him in the abbey, and never saying another word to another living soul is as good a reason as any.

There’s no law against Islam in England, but I’m not sure Margaret Beaufort would be all that “tolerant” of it. And the fact that Orviedo and Catalina never have had any discussion whatsoever about faith until they are about to get married baffles me. Isn’t marriage to a “heathen” against her Catholic beliefs? Why does her faith only matter when it comes to the wedding ceremony? What does her faith have to say about those premarital sexual shenanigans they’ve been up to? To borrow a phrase from a friend, “I have questions. :P”

Oh, apparently the girls that run out of court in those shapeless sack-dresses Catherine interrogates about the prince’s whereabouts are supposed to be Mary and Anne Boleyn. That’s a bit of Ominous Foreshadowing that could have used a tad more emphasis.

So, the preview for next week looks flat out nuts, and like it will continue this writer’s annual tradition of taking the piss out of Margaret Beaufort. I am not a drinker, but given how annoyed that makes me, maybe between then and now I should start.

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