V Girls: Charlotte Hope
Known for her role in Game of Thrones, Charlotte Hope is embodying a new role, Catherine of Aragon, in her new TV mini-series The Spanish Princess.
This story first appears in V119, our Music Issue. V119 is available for sale now at vmagazine.myshopify.com.
Charlotte Hope wants to dash your preconceptions of Catherine of Aragon— if you have any, that is. The daughter of Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella and first wife of Henry VIII isn’t as discussed as some of her historical peers, but as a key player in upending the Tudor dynasty, she is worth a reboot.
While the lore alleges that Catherine died of a broken heart, Hope believes she may also be the victim of a historical bias—one that the English actress hopes her new show, The Spanish Princess, premiering May 5, will remedy. “Everyone remembers Catherine as this pious, barren first wife—a precursor to Anne Boleyn,” says Hope. “This is the version they don’t know: the 17-year-old girl who was the product of incredible monarchs— Ferdinand and Isabella were both in love and politically matched, a real rarity at the time. Then she comes to England, her husband dies within six months and she has to forge a life.”
Hope has a varied résumé, logging theater cred and notable screen roles in The Theory of Everything, The Nun as a titular cursed nun, and Game of Thrones. “People are really shocked,” Hope says of the differences between her IRL self and murderous GoT villain Myranda. “They’re like, ‘You’re so smiley!’ I’m like, yep. And awkward. There’s really nothing threatening about me at all.”
Proving her leading-lady bona fides, Hope displays equal tenderness and force as Catherine, sometimes in the same scene. “A lot of the time, I’d read stuff and I’d be like, that’s an amazing part I’d love to play, but millions of people can play it,” she says. “But I read Catherine, and I was like, this is my part; they needed someone age 18 to 30 with red hair and who could speak fluent Spanish. And thank God [they did] because I have really been like hustling for a good eight years.”
Hope drew inspiration from both the original book, which she read voraciously as a girl, and a “brilliant” script, while bringing a certain idiosyncrasy to the character. “I’m obsessed with sugar,” Hope says. “And Catherine had a sweet tooth as well. So I tried to find any opportunity for Catherine to be eating sweets— which also meant I’d be eating them.”
Though she has been most recognized for Game of Thrones, Hope’s stint as a real-life royal is sure to land both the actress and Catherine of Aragon herself a new generation of fans. And what could be sweeter than changing someone’s preconceptions?