‘The Spanish Princess’ Episode 5 Recap: “Heart Versus Duty”

The Spanish Princess Episode 5
Harriet Walter, Elliot Cowan, and Ruairi O’Connor in ‘The Spanish Princess’ episode 5 (Photo Credit: Starz)

Starz’s The Spanish Princess episode four ended with King Henry Tudor (Elliot Cowan) making the surprise declaration that he intends to marry Princess Catherine of Aragon. The aftermath of that stunning announcement plays out in episode five, “Heart Versus Duty.”

The episode opens with Catherine of Aragon (Charlotte Hope) praying. She asks God if she should marry King Henry.

King Henry and Prince Harry (Ruairi O’Connor) argue over Henry’s decision to marry Catherine. Harry doesn’t believe his recently deceased dear mother would have wanted Henry to marry Catherine. Harry assumes his father’s doing this because he’s jealous and wants to take away the only thing his son desires.

After Harry storms away, Lady Margaret (Harriet Walter) joins her son and admits she believes Queen Elizabeth’s final wish is actually the only solution to their problems. Surprisingly, she agrees with King Henry’s decision to marry Princess Catherine. Lady Margaret also reveals she’s received a note from Richard Pole asking that his wife’s exile be lifted. Lady Margaret won’t even consider it.

Meanwhile, Princess Catherine – accompanied by her ladies – arrives for a dinner with King Henry. The long table is set for just two, and the King explains he’s used to eating with many more people as part of his royal duties. He comments the chilly atmosphere makes the table grow longer and the food less tasty, and Princess Catherine immediately apologizes for taking away his appetite. It’s a strained meal and neither is comfortable in their present situation.

The mood lightens when they discuss Arthur’s preference for eating outdoors. The Queen also enjoyed eating outside, and King Henry recounts how he would arrange picnics for her. He admits he was deeply in love from the start, but she was initially cold to him. He only realized he won her over when one day he felt peace in his heart.

Lady Margaret gathers Princess Catherine’s ladies to inform them she’s in charge of selecting their husbands. When Lina (Stephanie Levi-John) speaks up and says she was told she would have a say in her marriage, Lady Margaret confirms that might have happened if Prince Arthur was still alive. With Catherine marrying King Henry, the circumstances have changed.

Rosa (Nadia Parkes) races from the room, obviously nauseous. Lina catches up with Rosa after she vomits and calms her down. Rosa’s convinced she’s caught the plague.

Lina and Rosa join Princess Catherine as she’s sitting for her official portrait. Once again Rosa flees the room to vomit. Lina’s also upset but it has nothing to do with any illness. She’s angry she can’t follow her heart and instead will be forced to marry someone Lady Margaret chooses. Princess Catherine confesses she doesn’t feel as though she’s been blessed since coming to Spain, even though King Henry wants to marry her and make her his Queen. Lina’s had enough and reminds Princess Catherine that at least she has the choice of marrying a king, returning to Spain, or following her heart. Lina doesn’t have any of those options.

Lina, who’s always been loyal and supportive, dreams of love – not of marriage to a fool. She confesses she’s in love with Oviedo, and Catherine’s shocked because he worships Islam. The discussion continues and Lina wants to know what Catherine will do if she chooses love. Catherine doesn’t believe Lina and Oviedo can afford to marry because Oviedo isn’t paid a wage. Catherine stands firm, commanding Lina to do her duty. Lina’s only choice is to take a Tudor husband or leave Catherine of Aragon’s household.

Sir Richard Pole (Alan McKenna) arrives home to his exiled wife, Maggie (Laura Carmichael). He informs her Lady Margaret is convinced she’s a traitor and won’t allow her to return to court. However, it turns out Maggie’s fine with her situation. She can be with her children in the country, away from all the politics and backstabbing.

Richard remains convinced Maggie needs to lie and say she knows Princess Catherine and Prince Arthur consummated their marriage. If she doesn’t, then Lady Margaret will continue to make her life a living hell.

Maggie realizes the dangerous game she’s playing but refuses to say she witnessed something she didn’t. She has to stay true to her conscience.

Princess Catherine has just finished praying when Prince Harry arrives to assure her they’ll fight his father. He asks Catherine to tell her mother to refuse the match. Catherine’s unsure of how her mother will react. She also believes if she insults the king, he won’t allow her to ever marry his son. It would wound his pride.

Harry reminds her she’s a fighter and then realizes perhaps this is an act and a marriage to the king has been her goal all along. Princess Catherine assures Harry that’s not true, but Harry deduces she’s not certain what she actually wants. “Well damn you then if your love is so fickle it can blow away like dust,” he says before leaving her alone in the chapel.

Princess Meg arrives at Dalkeith Castle in Scotland. She seems pleased by her future husband as recalled in a letter to Maggie Pole.

Lina and Rosa rest on a bed, and Rosa’s stomach is still upset. Lina realizes Rosa is pregnant and she’s concerned about what Rosa’s planning to do next. Rosa insists Stafford loves her and would never abandon her. Lina’s equally insistent that Stafford will deny he’s the father and cast Rosa out, given the fact he’s married.

A privy council meeting is held to discuss Maximillian’s refusal to hand over the traitor Edmund De La Pool. King Henry knows Edmund is coming for him and asks the gathering of nobles about his army. The meeting’s interrupted with the arrival of Prince Harry. Harry takes charge, voicing his opinion that the people should not be taxed to pay for the army but instead men belonging to the nobles at the table should be used to fight any upcoming battles. Centralizing the military would mean King Henry doesn’t have to beg for money.

King Henry, realizing Prince Harry’s underlying meaning, tells the group Harry’s angry because Catherine prefers him. King Henry yells at his son, telling the prince he already pulls men from the nobles. Henry thinks Harry has nothing to contribute to the council. Before tempers rise further, Lady Margaret calls an end to the meeting.

As they’re leaving, Prince Harry reveals he’s discovered De La Pool is in London. Lady Margaret and King Henry chase after Harry’s retreating back. Harry taunts his father, saying, “It’s not difficult to rule if the people love you.”

Harry finally discloses Edmund is hiding in a nearby apothecary.

Lina meets with Oviedo (Aaron Cobham) and asks for his help in finding someone to abort Rosa’s pregnancy. Oviedo reveals he’s been promoted and when she asks if he earns wages, he says there are things more important than money. He adds that the women at a nearby whorehouse will help Rosa.

That evening Lady Margaret confronts Harry. De La Pool had already sailed away by the time the King’s men arrived, and she believes it’s Harry’s fault for not coming to them sooner with De La Pool’s location. She reminds him De La Pool would murder him if he could and that all this nonsense is because Catherine’s going to marry King Henry. She believes Harry needs to be with other women to satisfy his appetite. On cue, a bevy of women arrive to help satisfy those needs.

Shortly thereafter, Harry sinks to his knees next to his grandmother who’s deep in prayer. He thanks her for trying to appease his appetite but reiterates that he loves only Catherine. However, if Catherine wants his father he’ll step aside. But if Catherine wants him, he’ll fight his father to the death.

Lina returns to Rosa with the herbs she purchased at the whorehouse. She instructs Rosa on what to do if she doesn’t want the baby and Rosa confesses she’s afraid.

The Spanish Princess Episode 5
Ruairi O’Connor (Prince Harry) and Charlotte Hope (Princess Catherine) in ‘The Spanish Princess’ episode 5 (Photo Credit: Starz)

Prince Harry visits Princess Catherine and she guesses he’s there to tell her he’ll fight for her. In a roundabout way she tells Harry she believes she must marry Henry because he demands it. Harry confesses his love and that he fell for her while they exchanged letters. It’s her mind he admires so much, and he doesn’t want other women. He believes love leaves duty in the shadows. He yearns to be king so he can be a better man for her. They kiss…a long, slow, passionate kiss.

He leaves but not before telling her he needs an answer.

Catherine dreams she’s visited by her mother who demands she guard herself against betrayal or else the enemy will know where to strike. The vision concludes with Harry thrusting a knife in her side.

Catherine rises and finds Lina staring out a window. Lina informs Princess Catherine that Maggie Pole has been banished from court because she lied for her. Princess Catherine demands they leave right away to visit Maggie.

Richard Pole receives a message from the King stating they need to send him all their men. He thinks it’s punishment because other nobles are able to keep some of their men. The men must leave immediately, which means Richard has to fix the broken wheel on their cart himself.

Maggie’s oldest son runs up to deliver the news Princess Catherine has arrived for a visit. Richard demands his wife remember her cause is at home with the children, not with the Spanish princess.

Princess Catherine, Lina, and Maggie meet and Catherine explains she knows Maggie is suffering because of her. She wants to make amends, but Maggie doesn’t think that’s possible. Maggie explains she’s happy away from court, and that she understands they’re united by the fact Lady Margaret hates them both.

Catherine asks Maggie about King Henry, wondering what kind of husband he’d be. Maggie replies she was close to Arthur but not Henry or Harry. She thinks Harry is clever and has a wide-ranging appetite. She also thinks he’s not constant in his interests. And, he wasn’t sired to be king.

Catherine calls him passionate, poetic, and like a knight of Camelot. “You clearly know your mind about him, so why ask me?” replies Maggie. “Catherine, if you wish to be Queen then take the King. But I think you rode here not just to ask forgiveness but to speak Prince Harry’s name aloud. I think you love Harry. May god help you if you do.”

Maggie joins her children and Richard outside. She grudgingly confesses she admires Catherine and thinks she’s brave.

On the ride back to court, Princess Catherine admits to Lina she can’t think of life without her by her side. However, she won’t cause Lina unhappiness by denying her a life with Oviedo. Lina has her blessing to marry Oviedo and she’ll bestow upon her a dowry of three gold plates. Lina can melt them down and use them to start a life with the man she loves.

Lina returns to find Rosa upset as she admits she’s going to keep the baby. Princess Catherine interrupts their talk and Lina informs her Rosa’s with child. Catherine orders Lina to prepare her bath. Lina does, however the bath is for Rosa. Catherine softly cleans her back as they talk. Catherine learns the father is married, but Rosa’s still convinced if she tells him he’ll help her.

An ambassador arrives with a letter from Queen Isabella. The letter informs Catherine she’s to marry King Henry and consider herself lucky. Queen Isabella also reveals she’s been helping Catherine’s sister with her baby and it’s made her very tired.

Princess Catherine asks the ambassador to inform Prince Harry she wants to see him.

Catherine and Harry meet and she confesses she listened to her heart and wants to be with him.

Next, Princess Catherine meets with King Henry. They both received the letter from Queen Isabella giving her consent. Catherine asks if she’d make him as happy as Queen Elizabeth did, and King Henry admits he still loves his wife. But he would attempt to be a good husband to Catherine, if they wed.

Catherine, however, has an argument prepared against their marriage. If King Henry marries her, it won’t secure the relationship between England and Spain. Their children won’t inherit the throne; Prince Harry will be king followed by his sons. The treaty with Spain would end with King Henry’s passing, leaving England vulnerable.

King Henry realizes Catherine wants to marry Harry, but Queen Elizabeth told him she’d had a vision that if Harry married Catherine, they wouldn’t have any sons. Catherine believes Queen Elizabeth said that so her husband wouldn’t be lonely. She reveals Queen Elizabeth told her she’d do anything to save her sons. “Give Harry the alliance. Keep him safe…for her,” begs Catherine.

King Henry holds Catherine’s face in his hands and kisses her forehead. He leaves without replying.

Lina accompanies Rosa to see Lord Edward Stafford (Olly Rix). He seems uneasy to be seen with her in public and is shocked to learn Rosa’s pregnant. When she asks for him to give her a small amount of money to live on and occasionally visit their child, he agrees it sounds like a good idea.

With Lady Margaret and Prince Harry at this side, King Henry formally informs Princess Catherine he’s withdrawing his proposal. Instead, she’ll be betrothed to Prince Harry ensuring the alliance between England and Spain continues. He’s going to write to the Pope asking for his dispensation. If he grants it, Catherine and Harry can marry as soon as Queen Isabella sends Catherine’s dowry.

Richard Pole and his children are working on the wagon when Maggie takes most of the children inside for meat pies. She hears but doesn’t witness the wagon falling on her husband. Racing back, she finds Richard trapped under the full weight of the wagon. The children attempt to help her lift the wagon and finally do so with a jack. He’s grievously injured and blood flows from his mouth. Maggie tells him she loves him as he dies.