A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Spanish Princess is a historical drama based on the real life of Catherine of Aragon, a Spanish princess who married into British royalty in the early 1500s and eventually became the Queen of England. It's based on books by historical novelist Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl). The show follows Catherine (Charlotte Hope) and her coterie as they travel to England and acclimate to a rigid culture that's very different from their own. Set at a time when the countries of Europe were involved in many conflicts, it features swordplay and battles that often contain bloody violence. Families with teens who enjoy a PBS-style costume drama should enjoy this still-relevant story of blended cultures.
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What's the story?
THE SPANISH PRINCESS, Catherine of Aragon (Charlotte Hope), has been betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales (Angus Imrie), since she was a child, in order to create an alliance between Spain and England. Seen off by her mother, she embarks on a journey to England to meet her husband and new family. When she arrives, she and her coterie of soldiers and attendants must learn to acclimate to English culture without sacrificing their connection to Spain.
Is it any good?
The mark of a good historical drama is whether it has anything relevant to say to modern viewers, and this sensitive series has relevance in spades. At heart, The Spanish Princess is a story about two cultures that must merge for practical purposes, and the way those cultures interact and learn to respect one another while each maintaining their own sense of identity. Looking at the story from Catherine's point of view, as a person who's both royalty and an outsider, is a strong choice -- it's a subversive way to allow viewers to experience the difficulties and rewards of becoming a part of another culture while staying true to yourself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Catherine of Aragon's experience in becoming British royalty. What is expected of Catherine by her family? By the royal family? How do these expectations inform her actions? What obstacles does she encounter?
How do Catherine of Aragon's experiences make you feel? How does she handle herself when she arrives in England? Do you agree with her choices and how she presents herself? Why or why not?
Families can talk about historical fiction. How can you tell which parts of The Spanish Princess are real and which are made up? Does it matter?
Themes & Topics
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