Charlotte Hope returns as Catherine of Aragon in The Spanish Princess Part Two / Picture Credit: Starz
Charlotte Hope returns as Catherine of Aragon in The Spanish Princess Part Two / Picture Credit: Starz

This weekend (October 11th), fans of The Spanish Princess will finally be able to see how Catherine of Aragon's story continues following the critically-acclaimed first season. Ahead of the premiere on Starzplay, we got the opportunity to put some questions to Charlotte Hope who plays Catherine, all about the history of the Tudor monarch, what we should expect from the new episodes, and what she's been up to in lockdown...

For those unfamiliar, can you tell us a little bit about The Spanish Princess and where we find your character, Catherine of Aragon in Part Two of the miniseries?

So, I guess in the first series, Catherine is pretty headstrong and focused on achieving her destiny. When we get to meet her in the second series, she’s a queen, she’s got absolutely everything she wants; she’s got her six-month-old son; she’s got her super handsome king, and she’s quite entitled, but really excited. Our showrunners were like, ‘They need to feel like rockstars at the beginning of Series 2, because they’ve got everything they’ve ever wanted and they’re the total centre of the whole court’. Yet, as a viewer, we know how this bit of the story ends so, there’s a real sense of boding as you’re watching these people who are so high on their own supply, but who you know are gonna lose everything throughout the course of the next few years, which I think is really satisfying for a viewer.

The second part of the series really delves even deeper into the relationship between Catherine and Henry VIII; what can audiences expect from all of that?

A heartbreak. It’s a really sad story, because it’s two people who really, really loved each other, and who, if weren’t for the external circumstance, would’ve had this incredible power relationship, and yet they’re two people that, because of these outside circumstances just start tearing each other to pieces and ultimately, start falling out of love with each other.

Picture Credit: Starz
Picture Credit: Starz

Catherine is an instantly-recognisable name for anybody who grew up in England, but not much is taught about her in schools other than she was Henry VIII’s first wife and she got away without being beheaded! How do you feel The Spanish Princess has helped to teach audiences about who she was and what she was about?

Yeah, I guess the thing about Catherine is that, I personally, the only thing I knew about her was in relation to Henry VIII and in relation to Anne Boleyn; the woman that stole her husband from her, and I think that that’s pretty rubbish! She had a full story before those two things happened; an identity that was her own; she’s not just the cuckold and the divorced wife, I guess. So, I think it’s really important that we get to tell the first part of her story, knowing where she’s going to end, but there’s really a whole version of that story that existed 20 years before the story that we know.

Following the premiere of Part 1 on Starz, how did you find the response from audiences and the demand for concluding episodes?

I was really touched by it. We’ve got a really amazing, supportive fan group who are kind of in love with these characters. I’m really excited to get to go into Season 2. Obviously we had an inbuilt fanbase from the amazing work they did on The White Princess and this time, we get to go in with fans who really love these characters. Even when I’m looking at my Instagram feed and people are like, ‘Catherine is so badass!’; that really warms my heart because she’s been really inspiring for me, and the thought that she might also inspire other young girls is really special.

Being a period drama, the costuming, set designs and outfitting is very extravagant. What was it like working on a set that took you back to such a different era to the one we’re living in today?

I really loved it. It’s so transformative, to be able to go into work and put on these incredible, elaborate costumes that make you almost feel quite caged, but in a good way. Then to go to these amazing locations and castles, it’s kind of like half of your acting job’s done for you. Then also like, I found Catherine’s costumes really interesting this year because a lot of it is so restricted and so tied in, yet she gets to go to war and wear this incredible armour and feel so free and so badass, because it’s the first time she’s not in a corset. That duality I really loved; getting to be all of these different versions of a woman just from the clothes she wears.

Great television has been an absolute lifesaver in the current pandemic and during lockdown. Have you been binge-watching anything while you’ve been stuck inside, and how have you personally dealt with everything that’s going on?

I have watched quite a lot of television; I’ve read a lot of books more, to be honest. I really love documentary series. There’s this documentary series called Drive to Survive about Formula 1 that I got obsessed with, I loved that, I loved Cheer, I even loved Selling Sunset because I’m basic! Yeah, TV is great, and especially escapist television. I think I watch documentaries more because I find it more difficult to escape with drama, because I’m basically just sitting watching it thinking, ‘I wish I could be in that show!’ I’m too much of a jealous person to be able to properly enjoy good drama! (laughs) But I’ve watched a lot of documentaries, read a lot of books and done a lot of workouts, while trying not to lose my sanity, but I haven’t been entirely successful! 

I found lockdown pretty hard. The first couple of months I think were really important because I needed a chance to reset after doing such a traumatic job, but the last few months, being so filled with uncertainty, I found really difficult.

How do you think the entertainment industry is going to have to change and adapt in the immediate future to combat the challenges posed by covid-19?

I guess just on a basic level, production has to be… there needs to be so much rigorous testing. I’m hopeful that there are so many productions that are back up and running that have these strict safety protocols, they’ll be able to set an example for more shows going into production, because it can be done, it’s just a different landscape. I think we’d all rather be making stuff than not making stuff. I don’t mind how many masks I have to wear and how distanced I need to be, I’m just desperate to go back to work.

What else should we expect from you in the coming months leading into 2021?

The coming months I have no plans! I’m just going to try and keep my head above water and pray for this year to be over. I’ll just hopefully get some auditions and book a job, that’s my dream scenario, but I don’t have anything going on, so mostly I’m just trying to survive.

Picture Credit: Starz
Picture Credit: Starz

The Spanish Princess Part Two, Sunday October 11th, Starzplay.

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