VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Levi-John & Aaron Cobham Explain Importance Of Black Representation In ‘The Spanish Princess’
Stephanie Levi-John and Aaron Cobham, co-stars of The Spanish Princess, explain the importance of portraying black characters in a period piece in a new uInterview.
The Starz series follows Princess Catherine of Spain and her eventual rise to power alongside Prince Harry. Levi-John plays the real-life lady-in-waiting to Princess Catherine, Lina and Cobham plays Lina’s love interest, a soldier named Oviedo.
“Lina is Catherine’s lady in waiting, so she’s come here, she has a duty, she didn’t expect to fall in love with a soldier,” Levi-John told uInterview’s Erik Meers, adding, “I think one of the things that’s sort of a constant for Lina is this constant battle of duty versus heart.”
“And for our two characters there’s a little spark at the beginning, just a little tiny spark, which grows a little bit to be a bit more of a potential fully fledged relationship, which culminates in a very nice moment toward the end of part one,” said Cobham. “And then in part two it just kind of continues really in that kind of vein of them trying to navigate the whole world of being together in this crazy world of Tudors.”
And this “crazy world of Tudors” often included people who weren’t white. Historically, Catherine brought a diverse group of people with her to England from Spain, including Jews, Moors and Muslims. Historians know from art and records from the period that hundreds of black people lived in Tudor England at the time. Plus, they lived at many levels of society, and none were slaves.
“I think it’s very important to be honest,” Levi-John said about her portrayal of Lina. “Before I got The Spanish Princess I didn’t actually realize that there was a presence of people of color in England.”
“Especially with Lina, it’s literally just a line in a history book, ‘She was the lady in waiting and she married Oviedo,’ and it’s incredible how the showrunners have taken that and run with it,” she continued. “Because it is a story that needs to be told and the voices of sort of being an other within being an other in another country is something wonderful that needs to be explored and The Spanish Princess does that beautifully I think.”
“I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to tell a story like this because it’s not always spoken about,” Cobham agreed.
Season 2 of The Spanish Princess premiered on October 11. Check out the trailer below: