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The White Queen: romance, sex, magic, scowling, social snobbery and battles

“The White Queen: romance, sex, magic, scowling, social snobbery and battles” by Amy Licence

How important is authenticity when filming historical dramas?
Terribly important! You should see the notes I sent to the series producers waxing lyrical about the use of horses, clothes, how people travelled, and so on. That sort of thing really matters. However, there are a number of compromises you do have to make when working in film, which can be  very frustrating – that’s why I’m a novelist, I suppose.

Historical fiction, when written well, can teach you these things without you having to study it. (Philippa Gregory, BBC History Magazine Interview)

“It is a little more Romeo and Juliet than accurate medieval protocol.” (Licence)

cecily_1

Elizabeth and her mother Lady Rivers meet the King’s mother in ‘The White Queen’, episode 1.

Sunday nights episode of ‘The White Queen’ in my opinion was great. Put a woman screenwriter together with the BBC and bam! However there was something that really made me angry about the episode and surprise, surprise — I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE who had a problem with it.

Lady Cecily, Duchess of York portrayed by Caroline Goodall.

Lady Cecily, Duchess of York portrayed by Caroline Goodall.

Amy Licence, author of the latest biography of Queen Anne Neville and Elizabeth of York reviewed the first episode. Licence and I agree on this both — she basically sums up that they (screenwriter or Gregory herself) REALLY screwed up on behalf of Lady Cecily Neville, Duchess of York (grandaunt of Anne Neville); thank you Lord!

Jacquetta Rivers portrayed by Janet McTeer and Lady Cecily portrayed by Caroline Goodall

Jacquetta Rivers portrayed by Janet McTeer and Lady Cecily portrayed by Caroline Goodall

“It was in the exchange with Duchess Cecily (Caroline Goodall) however, that Jacquetta, as her daughter’s mouthpiece, really overstepped the historical mark. The disapproving Duchess, who was known in real life as “proud Cis,” is too easily overcome by her social inferiors when they whip out her apparent “secret” affair with a French archer. Lost for words, she is silenced within minutes, almost cowed by them. While contemporary notions of “courtesy” dictated extreme forms of submission to the queen, this is a Cecily straight from the pages of a novel rather than the actual proud aristocrat who asserted her own right to rule.”

I’m going to be brutally honest here — are you kidding me?? I don’t like Jacquetta’s “holier than thou” attitude that is emerging. This was obviously a horrid and tasteless attempt to boost Jacquetta’s influence and “power” over the Duchess. It’s more than obvious that Gregory has become obsessed with Jacquetta and her daughter. In my opinion, if they REALLY wanted to boost Jacquetta SO much — they could have done it in a different way. They didn’t have to insult the King’s mother, the daughter of a powerful Earl and Countess Lady Joan Beaufort, granddaughter of a royal Duke of Lancaster and titular King of Castile [son of King Edward III of England], and widow of the Duke of York [double descendant of Edward III]! I know it didn’t happen in history, but still — that scene should have been cut or done differently. If they had been at court and the Duchess had been sitting with her son, I do not think the two would have addressed each other as such and Elizabeth wouldn’t have pulled the Queen card after letting her mother b***h out her mother-in-law. It’s rather ironic that Elizabeth comes in flabbergasted, but after her mother calls her mother-in-law a whore she has the nerve and guts to demand the Duchess bow down to her; then gloats to her husband how everyone is “great friend’s” now. Yeah, sure — Elizabeth is now best friends with “Duchess Cecily”. I don’t think Gregory thought about court etiquette when writing these books and whoever approved the scene has not read any history books lately.

Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale and Lord Warwick portrayed by James Frain

Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale and Lord Warwick portrayed by James Frain

“James Frain, recently lauded for his performance as Thomas Cromwell in The Tudors, may well emerge to steal the show alongside Margaret Beaufort and the other York brothers…” Even Licence applauds Lady Margaret Beaufort early on.

For the complete review — http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/06/white-queen-romance-sex-magic-scowling-social-snobbery-and-battles

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About tudorqueen6 (139 Articles)
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."

5 Comments on The White Queen: romance, sex, magic, scowling, social snobbery and battles

  1. Amanda hale’s distorted, exaggerated facial expressions and messed-up mouth have almost caused me to stop watching. s

    seriously.

    • Yeah. I had serious issues with the series. Did you watch tonight or did you watch it through BBC?

      • I had a problem with Elizabeths actress too. I’m not trying to be rude but she just isn’t a good actress and she doesn’t resemble the Elizabeth Woodville.

    • Same here, I was curious to see if anybody felt the same way. Thank you!

    • I liked Amanda Hale well enough and thought she did the best with what the show’s producers and writers gave her, having a strong presence in TWQ and having her powerful, emotional, and/or poignant moments at times, but my main issue with it was the characterization of Margaret Beaufort as a scheming, ruthless religious fanatic who appears to have had an affair with Jasper Tudor, her brother-in-law. I just don’t buy it because historically, there’s no good evidence that she really was a religious fanatic. She may have been more pious and devout compared to some other people, but that doesn’t immediately mean she was like “OMG!!! Insane Christian Fanatic!”. Things like her taking a vow of chastity and being often depicted with a gable hood/looking like a nun doesn’t also suddenly equate to her being a scheming religious fanatic — plenty of women both before and during her time took vows of chastity and became nuns and yet that doesn’t mean they were necessarily fanatics with personalities like that. Is it because she was a relatively powerful and politically/religiously influential that Margaret is often depicted as this? *shakes head*

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