How the Cast of "The Spanish Princess" Compares to the Real Historical Figures

Photo credit: Starz / Getty
From Oprah Magazine
The second season of The Spanish Princess will premiere on Sunday October 11th in Starz.
The eight-episode season follows the tumultuous marriage of Catherine of Aragon (Charlotte Hope) and King Henry VIII (Ruari O'Connor).
The cast of The Spanish Princess compares to their real colleagues, from Catherine to Margaret Pole.
The cast of the second season of The Spanish Princess will look mostly familiar to fans of the historical drama. Of course, Charlotte Hope and Ruairi O'Connor return as Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII, the angry central couple in the series.
But there have been some significant sales among the Spanish princess' supporting characters. At the end of the first season, King Henry VII (Elliot Cowan), Queen Elizabeth of York (Alexandra Moen) and the impressive Margaret Beaufort (Harriet Walter) died. The amber duo in the series rule as King and Queen of England without much adult supervision.
In essence, Season 2 of The Spanish Princess is a high-stakes coming-of-age story. "At the start of season two, Catherine and Henry are a bunch of cocky teenagers. They took over the castle. They're having a party in the center of the world. What could possibly go wrong?" Creator Sarah Frost tells "You learn the hard way that a hell of a lot can go wrong - and quickly."
Photo credit: Jason Bell
Season 2 of The Spanish Princess is often painful to watch when it comes to describing everything that goes wrong for Catherine and Henry. Catherine struggles to produce an heir to the throne and loses several children. "Sometimes trauma brings a couple together. Sometimes it brings them apart. It could destroy them," says Frost of the couple's challenges of the second season.
Like Catherine and Henry, most of the other characters of the Spanish princess are based on real historical figures. Here's how the cast of The Spanish Princess season two compares to their real-world counterparts.
Charlotte Hope as Catherine of Aragon

Photo credit: Starz / Getty
Charlotte Hope, known for Myranda in Game of Thrones, embodies the title character of the period drama. Desiring to become Queen of England, Catherine marries Prince Arthur (Angus Imrie) - and then his younger brother Henry - before eventually ascending to the throne. She was the first of King Henry VIII's six wives.
Speaking to, Hope warns that the second season of The Spanish Princess will be especially dark, especially if her character miscarries. "It's pretty hard for me to see. I know it doesn't really act. I know I was in a pretty dark place in those scenes," says Hope.
Like the show's season two poster, Catherine actually wore bespoke battlefield armor in Scotland built for her pregnant belly. "There wasn't even a discussion - Matthew just said, 'I know what the poster is," recalled Frost. Graham tells that the image was inspired by Demi Moore's Vanity Fair cover, in which she posed nude while pregnant.
Ruari O'Connor as King Henry VIII
Photo credit: Starz / Getty
Irish actor Ruari O'Connor plays Henry VIII, one of the most notorious characters in history. "Everyone sees him as a psychopath who cuts the heads off women," says Graham. King Henry VIII, who ruled from 1491 to 1547, is best known for marrying six women and ushering in the Protestant Reformation.
Although Season 2 features flashes of Henry VIII's character-defining paranoia, the creators of The Spanish Princess wanted to give the Mad King a more nuanced perspective. "We want to show that there is a young man behind all of this. A man with great passion, love and education," says Graham.
Laura Carmichael as Margaret Pole
Photo credit: Starz / Getty
You probably know Laura Carmichael as Edith in Downton Abbey - but in The Spanish Princess she is Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, a noblewoman trying to navigate the treacherous place that is the Tudor court. A small list of Margaret's misfortunes: she was orphaned at the age of 5, and her brother was executed for posing a threat to the Tudor king, and finally her own end to unnatural causes at the age of 67.
An advice? Google Margaret Pole only when you are ready to be sad. Let's just say that the noblewoman meets a fate similar to that of two wives of Henry VIII.
Georgie Henley as Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots

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As a girl, Georgie Henley became famous as Lucy Pevensie in the films The Chronicles of Narnia. The 25-year-old Henley has gone from playing fictional princesses to real queens. Margaret Tudor was the sister of King Henry VIII and ruled as Queen of Scots from 1503 to 1513. Fun fact: She was the grandmother of Mary the Queen of Scots and Mary's second husband, Lord Darnley.
Sai Bennett as Mary Tudor, Queen of France

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Season 2 of The Spanish Princess expands its scope to focus on the sisters of Henry VIII who are slated to become monarchs themselves through marriage. Although Meg was featured in season one, Mary Tudor is new to the show. Watch out for her flirtation with Charles Brandon (Jordan Renzo) - in real life, they married after Mary's first husband, King Louis XII. From France who had died.
Phillip Cumbus as Thomas Wolsey

Photo credit: Starz / Getty
If you read Hilary Mantel's Wolfshalle, you are already familiar with the power that Thomas Wolsey wielded as close advisor to Henry VIII and as a high-ranking figure in the Catholic Church. Eventually Wolsey would try - and fail - to negotiate a break for Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. But when the second season of The Spanish Princess begins, he's still figuring out how to orient himself in court.
Stephanie Levi-John as Lina de Cardonnes

Photo credit: Jason Bell
Not much is known about the real Lina, Katharina von Aragon's waiting lady - but she definitely existed. Through the characters of Lina and her husband Oviedo, the Spanish princess gives an insight into the life of colored people in Tudor England.
"It is a great honor to be able to play a black woman, and not just a submissive black woman, but a black woman who has her place at court. Because during this time I have never seen black people I didn't do that I don't think we had a place in that part of the story, "says Levi-John. "It inspired me to learn more about my story."
Aaron Cobham as Oviedo

Photo credit: Jason Bell
The historical figure who inspired Oviedo was a crossbowman and practicing Muslim. In the second season of The Spanish Princess, Oviedo rises up as the loyal solder to King Henry VIII.
Lina and Oviedo are an objectively adorable couple - especially when compared to Catherine and Henry VIII, whose marriage is developing this season. "Lina knows she has a good one. Oviedo is a pretty modern man. He has the greatest respect for Lina. People everywhere would like to find a partner who loves, respects and listens to her," Levi-John tells OprahMag. com.
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