The loss of another son and heir has caused a rift in King Henry and Queen Catherine’s marriage as Starz’s The Spanish Princess season two episode three, “Grief,” begins. Henry’s cold and distant as Catherine mourns the loss of yet another son as the third episode unfolds.
Maggie Pole (Laura Carmichael) accompanies Catherine (Charlotte Hope) for a celebratory meal with King Henry and his council. When they raise a toast to Catherine’s victory, Henry (Ruairi O’Connor) interjects, “The Queen had a loss.”
Chaplain Thomas Wolsey (Philip Cumbus) briefly acknowledges the loss and then changes the subject to England’s new relationship with France. Despite Catherine’s argument against the idea, Wolsey suggests they need to solidify their peaceful connection to the newly conquered France by having Princess Mary wed King Louis, rather than Catherine’s nephew.
Edward Stafford (Olly Rix) sides with Catherine against Wolsey.
An angry Catherine reminds everyone how hard she’s worked on Mary’s betrothal to Charles. She also reminds the men gathered that Princess Mary isn’t a piece of meat to be tossed around on a whim.
Henry’s heard enough and leaves the room.
That evening, Catherine confesses to Maggie that Wolsey’s only suggesting this now as a way of weakening her standing with Henry. She also admits Henry has difficulty even looking at her. She asks Maggie if she thinks she’s being punished for lying about never sleeping with Arthur, and Maggie reminds her there’s one place where Wolsey can’t intrude.
Catherine decides she will make Henry want her that very evening.
Catherine works her magic and Henry does seem on the verge of forgiving his wife for the loss of their two male heirs. She’s eager to resume lovemaking with her husband but Henry claims to be exhausted. She does everything she can, slipping out of her nightgown and enticing him to bed. When he has difficulties becoming aroused, he asks her to sit on the bed facing away, with her neck exposed. The fact he’s not erect angers Catherine and humiliates Henry, and he blames her for his lack of sexual interest.
She assures him he will make love to her the following night.
Meanwhile, poor Meg (Georgie Henley) is having a difficult time ruling Scotland. She reminds her council she has King Henry’s backing as regent of Scotland until her son’s old enough to sit on the throne. They do not support an English Queen ruling them until Jamie comes of age.
Maggie visits Lina (Stephanie Levi-John) and Oviedo (Aaron Cobham) and learns Lina isn’t producing enough milk to feed both babies. Maggie suggests a wet nurse, but the new parents don’t have the money to pay for that service.
Later, Maggie plays chess with Catherine and gently tells her Lina would love for her to visit. Their conversation’s interrupted when Princess Mary (Sai Bennett) charges up, upset about the rumor she’s now meant to marry King Louis. Catherine tries to calm down the situation, sure that King Henry would never agree to Wolsey’s plan.
Edward Stafford and Charlie Brandon (Jordan Renzo) walk with the Queen to a council meeting, and Edward’s seething over Wolsey’s influence on Henry. Edward calls Wolsey a poisonous weed that twists about their throats. He reveals the council thinks Wolsey’s influence has grown too great.
Catherine’s still convinced Henry won’t listen to Wolsey. However, she quickly learns she’s misjudged the situation. King Henry has decided to make Princess Mary wed King Louis. Edward tries to get King Henry to explain how that benefits England, but Henry refuses to offer an explanation. He’s made up his mind and won’t hear anything further on the matter.
Queen Catherine chases after King Henry as he leaves the meeting, angry he’s allowing Wolsey to attack her this way. When Henry says it’s not personal, she reminds him she went to war and lost a child to stop Scotland and save England. Henry only hears what he wants to hear and seizes on the fact she lost their child because she “tried to be a man.”
“I was a woman fighting to protect our people,” replies Catherine.
Catherine pens a letter to her father informing him the marriage between Mary and Charles is off, blaming it on his actions.
A note arrives from France confirming King Louis has agreed to wed Princess Mary. They’ll use the French prisoner looked up in the tower as a proxy.
Catherine tells Princess Mary she must make the best of this new arrangement. There’s nothing they can do to stop it.
Ursula (Amelia Gething) speaks with her mother and reveals she thinks Princess Mary’s lucky to have a Spanish prince and a French king interested in marrying her. Maggie assures Ursula that Mary isn’t lucky because she has no say in the matter. Maggie tells her daughter marriage should be about respect and love, but Ursula proclaims she’s ready to marry whoever King Henry wants her to. She’s fine with marrying for position and power, not love. Ursula confesses she doesn’t want to end up struggling like her mother.
The French prisoner’s brought in as a proxy and Wolsey conducts the wedding ceremony. When asked if she’ll take King Louis as her husband, Princess Mary firmly replies, “No.” King Henry notices Queen Catherine smiling at this response and storms out of the ceremony.
Alone, Henry confronts Catherine and accuses her of being a traitor. He believes she instructed Mary to say no, but Catherine claims she did no such thing. She promises him she had nothing to do with Mary’s behavior.
Henry demands to know how it’s possible that he doesn’t have any sons, given that God is on his side. Catherine swears she’ll give him an heir. Henry instructs Catherine to tell Mary she will agree to this new arrangement or else.
Catherine’s still upset when Maggie hands her a note from Lina. Lina desperately wants Catherine to visit, but Catherine isn’t capable of doing so just yet. Maggie changes the subject and confesses Ursula wants to marry for politics and status. Catherine believes that’s wise and Maggie wonders if she’ll ask Henry to find a good match for Ursula. Catherine thinks Maggie should ask for her land and money back first. However, she warns Maggie now isn’t the time since Henry’s in a foul mood.
Meg writes to Catherine asking for advice on how to make her people accept her.
Maggie arrives at Lina’s home accompanied by two wet nurses. She announces the wet nurses were sent by Catherine. When Lina asks about Catherine visiting, Maggie reminds her it’s hard for her since Lina has what Catherine desires the most – healthy baby boys.
King Henry rewards Chaplain Wolsey’s counsel by appointing him Archbishop of York.
Catherine meets with Mary and advises her she must bend to Henry’s will. Princess Mary admits she’s grown up hating France, and Catherine confesses she’d always thought ill of the English until she wed Henry. Her opinion’s changed and now she’s found her family in England.
Catherine makes a deal with Mary. If she agrees to wed King Louis, when he dies she can then choose to wed whoever she wants. Mary’s initially not pleased with the idea, reminding Catherine that King Louis is old and fat. Catherine thinks that’s exactly why she should make this deal. Louis won’t be around that many more years, given his age and health.
Catherine delivers the news that Princess Mary will marry King Louis if she can select her second husband for herself. Henry’s still in a rotten mood and doesn’t receive this as good news. Instead, he replies, “The only good news would be a son.”
Catherine responds to Meg’s letter, admitting Wolsey has taken over her position as Henry’s most trusted advisor. Catherine confesses she’s fallen from Henry’s grace and can’t really offer any helpful advice at this time. “I know one day I will return from this. In the meantime, I must play at being a Queen. I must play at living an enviable life,” she writes. “There are times I want to scream but if I did, I know I would never stop. I would rage against God, against my own body, and against my own helplessness.”
Meg receives the letter and decides her next step will be to take Angus’ advice. (Angus is the one who rode with her to the battlefield to tell King James about her dream of Scottish blood being shed.) Angus had explained that when he wants to feel close to the people, he performs charity work and helps distribute food to the poor. Meg asks him to show her what that’s like. “Take me to my people, Angus. Let us do charity together,” she says.
Meg and Angus walk among the people at night and Meg feels firsthand what her people are experiencing.
Princess Mary renounces her betrothal to Prince Charles and declares she will marry King Louis the 12th of France. Thomas Boleyn’s daughters Mary and Anne are chosen by King Henry to serve as Mary’s ladies on the journey to France.
King Henry places Edward Stafford in charge while he’s gone.
Princess Mary’s shocked to learn Charlie Brandon won’t be traveling with her to France. Instead, he’s to be betrothed to his eight-year-old ward. Mary laughs at the news and reminds him she’s also marrying someone of the wrong age. It’s obvious there’s a strong attraction between the two that neither is allowed to act on.
In Scotland, crowds gather outside the palace and the council warns Meg a riot is imminent. She wishes to speak with them, against the advice of her council.
Meg addresses her people as they chant, “Where’s our King?” She reminds them she’s now head of state and explains she understands their anger and their grief. Meg admits she’s also grieving and beseeches the clan leaders gathered to go home to their people and organize feasts to honor those who’ve been lost. She also advises them they shouldn’t be ashamed of their grief but to weep openly if they wish.
The crowd’s silent as she sings “The Battle of Otterburn” in a sweet, strong, angelic voice. When she’s finished, she’s won over those assembled.
Meanwhile, Queen Catherine comforts Princess Mary as the ship is tossed around by the waves.
After they arrive in France, Maggie Pole and Thomas More (Andrew Buchan) discuss marriage on their shared carriage ride to meet King Louis. Maggie believes you should marry for love and Thomas admits his own second marriage is loveless. He wonders if a true union’s possible more than once and Maggie confesses she believes it is. He hints at his feeling for Maggie and she smiles in acknowledgment at the truth of his words.
Princess Mary gets her first real look at King Louis and quietly comments to Catherine that he appears to be 500 years old.
King Henry presents Mary to the French King, and King Louis compliments Mary’s looks.
King Henry’s still out of sorts when he allows Queen Catherine to take his hand as they enter the palace.
Maggie interrupts Henry speaking to a few of his men to ask if he would consider returning some of her land and titles. She admits Catherine told her now wasn’t the best time because he’s unhappy, and Henry seems to scoff at the very idea he’s upset. He agrees to return the land taken by his father and will give her a modest income. However, he also declares she needs to remarry. He’ll give her back the Earldom if she’s safe from fortune hunters, and that can only be accomplished via marriage.
Maggie doesn’t want to remarry and then confesses Ursula requested the King’s suggestion on who to marry. Henry spots Henry Stafford and immediately announces that’s who Ursula shall marry. Henry’s set to inherit Buckinghamshire and would make a fine match.
King Henry then suggests his Groom of the Stool, William Compton, for Maggie. She doesn’t have any feelings toward him, but Henry reveals William often speaks fondly of her. Henry also declares he’ll pay for her son Reggie’s education and will send him away to Oxford.
After Henry walks away, Ursula runs up to her mom. Maggie tells her Henry wants her to marry Henry Stafford and Ursula’s immediately on board with the idea.
Thomas More watches as William Compton bows at Maggie’s feet. William’s already aware she’s been given back her land and congratulates her, using her title of Countess of Salisbury. William asks her to accompany him as they look at the paneling in the Great Hall. Maggie really has no choice but to accept the invitation.
Queen Catherine’s standing alone as the celebration of Princess Mary and King Louis’ marriage continues. Henry joins her and asks if it’s possible to recover their relationship. “I want it to be as it was before,” confesses Henry. Catherine confesses she feels the same but also feels the void in the middle of her body. She believes Henry thinks God is punishing her, and Henry asks her to join him as they walk.
Henry explains that if he doesn’t have an heir, it’s a sign God hasn’t blessed him. He believes it empowers his enemies but the fact he needs to make another child makes him feel choked. Again, Catherine admits she has similar feelings.
“I don’t want to make love to you because it’s sad…so sad. It used to be my greatest joy on earth,” says Henry. (He looks absolutely devastated.) Seeing his baby on the ground, dead, has deeply affected him. Catherine reveals she felt in her soul this baby would be just as strong as his father. Henry again places all the blame on Catherine, angry that she fought like a man while with child.
Catherine reminds her husband that’s who she is and that’s why he loves her. When she says he’s always wanted her, Henry disagrees and says he no longer does. Catherine doesn’t let him get away with that and, finally, Henry takes her head in his hands and delivers a passionate kiss, proving her right.
King Louis and his new bride retire to his chambers and Mary looks a little lost. He promises not to hurt her since it’s her first time. The scene cuts away to show Catherine and Henry lost in each other’s bodies.
The mood in King Louis’ chamber turns playful and Princess Mary runs around the room with Louis chasing her. She hits him lightly with pillows until he plops down in a chair. It momentarily appears as if he’s died of a heart attack…but Mary’s not that lucky.
Over in Scotland, Angus assures Meg she’s healed the country with her song. Meg credits him with showing her what needed to be done, and he calls her the greatest Queen Scotland’s ever known. The sparks fly and they kiss.
The trip to France is over and Queen Catherine arrives home. Oviedo’s waiting to speak with her and begins by acknowledging her bravery. Catherine understands what he’s getting at without Oviedo needing to ask, and she assures him she will pay Lina a visit.
A short while later, Oviedo is home when Queen Catherine arrives. Lina asks Catherine if she did something wrong to keep her away and Oviedo interrupts to remind her Catherine is there now. Lina thanks her friend for sending the wet nurses and hands a baby to Catherine. Catherine calls him a little angel and then apologizes for not making it sooner. Lina understands and is sorry about Catherine’s loss.
Catherine confesses everything in her died for a while and her marriage soured, but she believes they’ve found each other again.
That renewed connection is confirmed when we see Queen Catherine joining King Henry for a council meeting. Wolsey stands by Henry’s side and looks on with disdain as King Henry takes Catherine’s hand and gently kisses it. After King Henry rises, Catherine warns Wolsey no one will come between them.
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