The White Queen – The White Princess – what is it with all these references to white? Well, Google away and take another history lesson on the fall of Richard III (you know, the last Plantaganet king they found buried under a Leicester car park) and the rise of Henry VII, ending the War of Roses.
Fought between the House of Lancaster and the House of York comes the infamous author Philippa Gregory, who writes historical fiction. These two tales are her fictional works wrapped around the historical occurrences, focusing on the two houses and the exchange of power.
The White Queen (review at this link), is the first of the installment of this historical tale. If you have not watched these episodes, then The White Princess may be sending you to the history books to catch up on the historical facts before diving into the new series on Starz. Since I do not have extended cable, it was far cheaper for me to add Starz for $8.99 a month on Amazon than to run over to Comcast to add one channel for an additional $19.99 a month.
Today the first episode was posted, which I dove into at 6:30 a.m., eating breakfast and sitting in my PJ’s on a cloudy Easter morning (yes, I have no life). The series begins with the following:
August 1485. It is two days since King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. Princess Elizabeth was in love with him but is promised in marriage to the new Tudor King Henry VII. She has never met him.
The new regime takes no time in rounding up those loyal to Richard, as well as the former White Queen’s family, along with Elizabeth who is betrothed to Henry. Brought to Westminster from Woodville Manor, Princess Elizabeth is not happy. Headstrong and defiant, she does not wish to marry Henry nor does Henry wish to marry her. He is convinced to keep his promise to unite the warring houses of Lancaster and York through the marriage, otherwise, his enemies may rise up against him. Of course, his mother, extremely religious, tells him that it’s the will of God and a sacrifice he must make. After all, suffering is divine and God has given Henry the throne. It’s the least he can do to bed the young lady for an heir to continue the Tudor dynasty.
Elizabeth on the other hand, hates him to the core, especially when he takes her before marriage to make sure she is fertile. Pregnant, she marries him, at her mother’s encouragement rather than attempting to abort the baby. Headstrong and filled with hatred, Elizabeth decides to use her position for revenge.
My first impression of the new series brings about a disappointment that many who starred in The White Queen are no longer cast in this series. All of the cast has changed so do not expect continuity, which may be problematic for most. The former white queen is now played by Essie Davis and Lady Margaret by Michelle Fairley. Jodie Comer makes a formidable and angry Elizabeth of York. Jacob Collins-Levy is King Henry VII, the mothered monarch. For more cast information, check out the Starz – The White Princess website for pictures and info.
This particular series will have eight episodes. From watching the first at the wee hours of Easter morning, I can attest that the same historical costumes and underlying religious tone remain. As the exchange of power occurs, episode one keeps your interest enough to want to continue watching the remainder of the series and wish you could wear one of the gowns on Elizabeth Woodville.
Whether or not we are actually seeing what occurred behind closed doors (no nudity yet – just a quickie under the skirts), is another matter altogether. These fictionalized peeks into monarchs of the past are interesting enough, but always hit your history books for the tale of the true stories behind these lavish productions. As the ending credits state, “Some historical events and characters have been altered in the film for dramatic purposes.”