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Series / The White Princess

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One big happy family!

A British-American historical fiction miniseries that aired on Starz for eight episodes in 2017. It is based off of Philippa Gregory's 2013 novel of the same name, and is also a sequel to The BBC's 2013 miniseries The White Queen.

In this series, the Wars of the Roses is effectively ended by the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, which unites the houses of York and Lancaster... which wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact that said houses aren't exactly on good terms with each other, threatening to ruin both their marriage and the kingdom.


The White Princess provides examples of:

  • Altar Diplomacy: Henry and Elizabeth are married to unite the houses of Lancaster and York, thus ending the Wars of the Roses. The birth of their son Arthur further cements this.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Though Richard of Shrewsbury is clearly shown escaping at the start, one can never be sure if the man who turns up in Burgundy is really him. Gregory wrote in the epilogue to the novel that she believed Warbeck's claim was genuine, but this view is rejected by most historians.
  • Arranged Marriage: Several marriages are arranged in order to snuff out any signs of unrest, the most notable being Henry and Elizabeth.
  • Ascended Extra: The central characters of this series are King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Henry was a small child when The White Queen started and appeared only sporadically until the later episodes. Elizabeth wasn't even born until the second episode, and doesn't get a major speaking role until the eighth.
    • Teddy Warwick is introduced as the main rival to Henry's rule. His execution is the climactic moment of the finale. In the first series he was briefly seen as a baby then pretty much forgotten. His sister Margaret had barely been mentioned.
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    • Richard of Shrewsbury, Edward IV's second son, was a baby in the sixth episode and still a child by the end, having very few lines when he is seen. He is briefly seen at the opening of this series, then disappears until the end of episode 4, from which point he becomes the driving force behind most of the remaining plot.
  • Casting Gag: It may be hilarious to realize that Lady Margaret Beaufort is played by Catelyn Stark and Queen Mother Elizabeth Woodville by Lady Crane/Play!Cersei Lannister—characters from Game of Thrones whose lives and actions are pretty much lifted of their own historical record (albeit in reverse).
  • The Chains of Commanding: In the first episode, Henry states to Elizabeth that even a king does not have freedom of choice.
  • Downer Ending: Elizabeth secures her position and that of her children, but at the cost of having Perkin note  and Teddy beheaded.
  • Egocentrically Religious: Margaret Beaufort is ALL about this. Anything she does, including murdering two innocent boys, is always "God's Will."
  • Fan Vid: If you look for this series online, be prepared to sift through a lot of musical montages.
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: Ultimately, even when both Teddy and Richard are imprisoned, one made a slave and the other made impotent, their very existence still provides a rallying cry for Henry VII's enemies. At Lizzie's behest, he executes them both, as their continued living was in itself a threat.
  • Foreshadowing: The death of Arthur, Prince of Wales
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Henry VII keeps two York boys, Edward & Richard, locked in the Tower of London and eventually has them quietly executed to eliminate rival claims to the throne—exactly the complaint he made of Richard III. His mother even lampshades this.
  • Get Thee to a Nunnery: Happens to Elizabeth of York's mother, Elizabeth Woodville after she is usurped by Margaret.
  • He Knows Too Much: Margaret kills Jasper after he threatens to tell Henry that she ordered the Princes in the Tower killed.
  • History Repeats: Henry makes note of the fact that once again, two York heirs, potential threats to the throne, are trapped in the same tower, in the same room, as was done one generation hence, as seen in the previous series. Margaret Beaufort's insistence for Henry Tudor to execute them this time tips him off on the truth as to what happened to the two York boys last time.
  • In-Series Nickname: Several, if only for disambiguation:
    • Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick, is called "Teddy" throughout to differentiate him from numerous other Edwards. The same nickname was also used once in the previous series to refer to his double-cousin Edward of Middleham.
    • Perkin Warbeck, even into his twenties, is often referred to as "The Boy", by those who are unsure of his real identity.
  • Last of His Kind: Teddy Warwick is the last man standing for the House of York. His execution extinguishes the agnatic line not only for York but also for the whole Plantagenet dynasty.
    • Perkin claims to be another, so he gets the chop as well.
  • Manchild: As a result of being locked in a single room through most of his formative years, Teddy has the same ideas, vocabulary, and likes as he was when he was eight years old.
  • Marital Rape Licence: In the first episode, Henry VII extends this to pre-marital. He forcibly impregnates his fiance to assure that she is fecund before he commits to making her queen.
  • Might Makes Right: Invoked by Lizzy in the finale. She tells Henry that the right of kings is taken and held by force.
  • Momma's Boy: Henry VII is in his mother's palm. She has higher status than either his wife or the Dowager Elizabeth, even getting the Queen's suite of rooms in the first few episodes. Certainly justified given the lengths to which she went in order to install her son on the throne.
    • Lampshaded in the premiere by Elizabeth, who wonders if Henry intends to ignore her and wed his mother instead.
    • This changes rather abruptly in the finale, when Henry discovers that Margaret was responsible for killing the Princes in the Tower. He almost strangles her to death on the spot, and orders the rest of the court to abandon their deference to her.
  • Never My Fault: Margaret Beaufort. Anything bad she does like ordering the Princes in the Tower killed is simply God's Will.
    • Lord Strange is this in a way. During the peace talks in Burgundy, he couldn't accept that the young Prince Phillip and Princess Margaret were constantly one upping him in their games. This caused their mother, Duchess Mary of Burgundy, to challenge him to a horse race out of pity (where he had an actual chance to win). This inadvertently led to her early death. When they returned to England, he shifts the blame to Jasper Tudor and the recently deceased Duchess.
  • No-Sell: Hoping to extinguish a Yorkist rebellion, Henry VII forces Perkin Warbeck to publicly confess that he is a Flemish peasant and not the son of Edward IV. His supporters do not believe the confession, which was obviously made under duress, and stay loyal to the pretender. The only effect the confession does have is that it means Warbeck is legally a foreigner not an English subject so Henry can't charge him with treason.
  • Not So Different: Maragert says this to Elizabeth at the end of the series in regard for how far both of them will go for their children's benefit.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Margaret Beaufort, who constantly moves to impose her will on the two Queens Elizabeth. note 
  • Out-Gambitted: Margaret attempts to assert her authority by arranging marriages for the York girls and telling Elizabeth how she is settled in rooms Henry personally gave her. Elizabeth responds by arranging a marriage for Jasper Tudor with her aunt Kate Woodville under the guise of her immense fortune that will benefit Henry's cause.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Cecily, Dowager Duchess of York, complains of this when it looks as if Perkin note  is heading off to war. She eventually died in 1495 at the very impressive age of 80, having outlived ten of her twelve children and several of her grandchildren.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Henry and Elizabeth eventually bond as they are both dissatisfied with being used as pawns by their families as well as the birth of their son Arthur. Also, Richard Pole manages to win over his wife Maggie with his kindness, promising to be a worthy husband to her as well as visiting her imprisoned brother and whatever else she may need. She then expresses a liking to her new surname, Pole and tells Richard that everyone calls her Maggie, prompting a smile from him.
  • Rightful King Returns: Attempted by the York faction, but their champion, Perkin Warbeck, is captured and beheaded.
  • Retcon: Several details are changed between 'Queen' and 'Princess
    • The first episode begins with a flashback to the Battle of Bosworth, which bears almost no resemblance to how it was depicted in 'Queen.
      • Richard III has different hair and body composition to Aneurin Barnard.
      • The crown is a different design.
      • The crown falls from Richard's head, rather than being grabbed from his corpse.
      • It's actually in a field this time, whereas 'Queen set it in a forest for some reason. The battle was also moved from winter to a more accurate summer.
    • Elizabeth of York changes from ginger to blonde.
    • Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort both age about thirty years in one jump to make up for lost time.
    • An in-universe example occurs when Henry VII has his reign legally backdated to the 21st August 1985—the day ''before the Battle of Bosworth—so that he was the king on the field and so Richard's supporters were the traitors.
  • Sore Loser: George Stanley, Lord Strange. His agitation at losing to young Prince Phillip and Princess Margaret of Burgundy was very obvious, despite the fact that they were children and have more experience with the games they've been playing.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Jasper and Margaret are never able to be together due to the political circumstances they are in. Both instead settle on marriages arranged for them. And she is eventually forced to kill him when he threatens to reveal to Henry that she had the York princes murdered.
  • Succession Crisis: Ongoing throughout the series as the Lancasters and Yorks both rush to birth potential heirs to hold onto power.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Many character roles are handed down a generation:
    • Both series begin with a newly-victorious king marrying a woman from the rival faction. In 'Queen this was Edward IV marrying Elizabeth Woodville, in 'Princess it was Henry VII marrying her daughter, Elizabeth of York.
    • The elder Elizabeth in turn spends most of the series casting spells in secret, as her own mother Jacquetta had done years before. note 
    • The story arc of Margaret Plantagenet—small, shy woman who eventually learns to stand up to the men around her—is much like that of her double-aunt Anne Neville.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Margaret does this after she suffocates Jasper.


Example of: