STARZ ‘The White Queen’: Elizabeth Woodville

The “common” Queen

Rebecca Ferguson as Queen Elizabeth.
Rebecca Ferguson as Queen Elizabeth.

A young commoner from the House of Lancaster with angelic beauty and high intellect, Elizabeth becomes widowed when her first husband is killed in battle. She is left to fend for herself with two small boys, until fate introduces her to the noble King Edward IV (Max Irons) from the House of York. They both fall madly in love, and after a secret wedding she becomes Queen of England. At the outset of their lives together, Elizabeth’s motives are pure but once she finds herself on the throne, Elizabeth becomes fiercely protective of her family as she sees the dangerous forces surrounding her in the perilous politics of the day. — STARZ

The first in a stunning new series, The Cousins’ War, is set amid the tumult and intrigue of the Wars of the Roses. Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this extraordinary family drama to vivid life through its women – beginning with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

Philippa Gregory's new covers to promote "The White Queen."
Philippa Gregory’s new covers to promote “The White Queen.”

Elizabeth Woodville, of the House of Lancaster, is widowed when her husband [Sir John Grey of Groby, by whom she has issue] is killed in battle. Aided and abetted by the raw ambition and witchcraft skills of her mother Jacquetta, Elizabeth seduces and marries, in secret, reigning king Edward IV, of the family of the white rose, the House of York. As long as there are other claimants to Edward’s throne, the profound rivalries between the two families will never be laid to rest. Violent conflict, shocking betrayal and murder dominate Elizabeth’s life as Queen of England, passionate wife of Edward and devoted mother of their children.

In The White Queen Philippa Gregory brilliantly evokes the life of a common woman who ascends to royalty by virtue of her beauty, a woman who rises to the demands of her position and fights tenaciously for the survival of her family, a woman whose two sons become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower whose fate remains unknown to this day. — Gregory

Philippa Gregory's new covers to promote "The White Queen."
Philippa Gregory’s new covers to promote “The White Queen.”

Elizabeth Woodville’s (Rebecca Ferguson) mother. Jacquetta hails from royalty through the House of Burgundy. She is a kind, caring and loving mother. As the matriarch of the family and a woman who feels she is in tune with the Earth and worldly callings, Jacquetta encourages the romance between Elizabeth and Edward, claiming it to be destiny. Jacquetta wants only the best for her daughter, and in Edward, she has gotten it, along with a proper place for herself and the rest of her family in history. That is, if they all can weather the raging political storm. — STARZ

Jacquetta of Luxembourg portrayed by Janet McTeer.
Jacquetta of Luxembourg portrayed by Janet McTeer.

Elizabeth Woodville was the niece of Queen Katherine’s maternal great-great-grandmother Joan Wydeville [Katherine would have been a first cousin, thrice removed of Queen Elizabeth by her mother, Maud Green]. Joan Wydeville married Sir William Haute/Hawte. Their daughter, Alice, married Sir John Fogge. The Haute family which Joan married into was quite prominent during the reign of Edward IV and Richard III. Fogge had originally been a supporter of the Lancastrian king, but in 1460 Fogge joined the Yorkist earls in Kent. It is obvious however that he was a Yorkist by the families which he married into; Alice Kyriel (daughter of Yorkist Sir Thomas) and Alice Haute c. 1465 who was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. The previous year, Elizabeth Woodville had married Edward. Queen Elizabeth brought her favorite female relatives to court to serve her. Lady Alice Fogge (Haute) would be one of five ladies-in-waiting to her cousin, queen consort Elizabeth Woodville during the 1460s. (Harris) The other ladies included her sister Lady Anne (wife of William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier and George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent) and her sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth Scales (wife of Sir Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers). (Harris)

Katherine Parr was also a descendant of Henry V, Count of Luxembourg and Marguerite de Bar; William II, Baron of Tingry and Blanche de Brienne; Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders; and several other paternal ancestors of Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

Elizabeth Woodville portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson.
Elizabeth Woodville portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson.

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STARZ Official Trailer

The White Queen BBC one commercial – Directors cut from Jamie Childs on Vimeo.

See also —

Starz ‘The White Queen’: The Kingmaker’s Daughters

Starz ‘The White Queen’: Lady Margaret Beaufort


  • Philippa Gregory.The White Queen (the family tree is not correct and has many links missing!)
  • STARZ. “The White Queen,” August 2013.
  • Philippa Gregory. “The New Cousins’ War Series Book Covers,” 9 May 2013.
  • Barbara J. Harris. “English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 : Marriage and Family, Property and Careers: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers,” Oxford University Press, Jul 26, 2002. pg 218.



Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

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