“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)
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.
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!
“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.
“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.