Henry VIII or Elizabeth I usually take center stage in stories about the Tudor era in England. But The Spanish Princess focuses on a different character: a young Catherine of Aragon, who eventually became the first wife of Henry VIII.
The lavish Starz costume drama is a must-see for anyone who loves royal intrigue, historical romance, and elaborate costumes. But what if you’re in the mood for more fictionalized royal history? We’ve rounded up nine other TV shows about English royals that you need to watch.
The Last Kingdom
Head back to 9th century England in this Netflix series, in which Alfred the Great defends the Kingdom of Wessex from Viking invaders while Uhtred, a Saxon warrior with conflicted loyalties, fights to regain control of own kingdom. The medieval setting and elaborate battle sequences make it perfect if you’re feeling Game of Thrones withdrawal. Three seasons are currently streaming.
The Pillars of the Earth
This Starz miniseries is adapted from a novel by Ken Follett and concerns the construction of a cathedral in an English town in the 12th century, which plays out as the Empress Matilda (Alison Pill) and Stephen of Blois (Tony Curran) fight for the throne after the death of Henry I. A sequel, World Without End, is set during the Hundred Years War. Both are streaming on Starz.
The Hollow Crown
Get Shakespeare’s take on the Wars of the Roses in this series of BBC adaptations of his history plays. Season 1 covers Richard II, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV, Part II, and Henry V. The second season is based on all three parts of Henry VI, plus Richard III. A star-studded cast includes Jeremy Irons as Henry IV, Tom Hiddleston as Henry V, Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III, and Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret. It’s available for purchase on Amazon Prime.
The White Queen and The White Princess
The Spanish Princess is actually the third miniseries Starz has produced based on the novels of Philippa Gregory. The first, The White Queen, is set during the Wars of the Roses and focuses on Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV, and other women who played a role as the Lancasters and Yorks battled for control of England.
The White Princess deals with the life of Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV, wife of Henry VI, and mother of Henry VIII. Both are streaming on Starz.
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers plays the notorious Henry VIII in this soapy Showtime series, which premiered in 2007 and ran for four seasons. It’s not the most historically accurate show, but it captures the deadly drama and complicated politics of the Tudor court. All 38 episodes are streaming on Netflix.
For a different take on Henry VIII, try Wolf Hall. This limited series, which is based on the novel by Hilary Mantel, focuses on the life of the king’s advisor Thomas Cromwell. Mark Rylance plays Cromwell, Damian Lewis is Henry, and Claire Foy is Anne Boleyn. Critics loved the series, and it has a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime.
Jenna Coleman plays Queen Victoria and Tom Hughes is Prince Albert in this show about the life of the young monarch. In addition to the drama involving the royals, it makes time to tell the stories of the servants below stairs, giving this a bit of a Downton Abbey feel. PBS members can stream all three seasons for free with Passport; Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Amazon Prime.
Claire Foy plays another queen in this popular Netflix show about Queen Elizabeth II. The first two seasons are currently streaming. The third — with Oscar-winner Olivia Colman taking over as Elizabeth — will premiere later this year.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!