If The Spanish Princess, which premieres on Starz on May 5, was designed to be completely and totally accurate to history, then modern audiences would certainly be squirming. Technically, it's about the arranged marriage between a 15- and 16-year-old. Fear not, though — this isn't a show about child brides. The historical figures' counterparts in The Spanish Princess are well into their 20s.
The union between Princess Catherine of Aragon (Charlotte Hope) and Arthur, Prince of Wales (Angus Imrie) is not based on mutual connection — love marriages like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's weren't afforded to royals for much of history. Instead, it was arranged to forge an alliance between Spain, an incredibly wealthy world power, and England, comparably weaker.
What ensues in The Spanish Princess, based on Philippa Gregory's book The Constant Princess, is a bit of a fish-out-of-water comedy (the English weather isn't to Catherine's liking), but mostly a series of Machiavellian ministrations from the women of the court. It's a blast.
Years later, Catherine is best remembered for being the first of Henry VIII's six wives. Henry's desire to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn ends up plunging England into a period of religious and political turmoil. But The Spanish Princess catch Catherine and Henry back when they were just kids, literally — and when Catherine was fierce.