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

Advertisements

STARZ ‘The White Queen’: Lady Margaret Beaufort

1beaufort_1

The Red Queen

Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale.

Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale.

A loyal Lancastrian and cousin to the deposed King Henry VI (David Shelley). Margaret suffered a difficult childhood, raised by a loveless and vindictive mother (Lady Beauchamp – Frances Tomelty). In her darkest hour, she turned to God for comfort. She now believes she has been sent a sign that her young son Henry Tudor is destined to be King. Margaret’s terrifying determination to see her son take the throne, leaves her enduring loveless marriages solely to improve her political standing. She is willing to lay down her own life or even kill, so that her son Henry can be fitted for the crown. Her world is filled with cold, calculated maneuvering strictly for her and her son’s gain. — STARZ

Lady Margaret portrayed by Amanda Hale.

Lady Margaret portrayed by Amanda Hale.

Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort fervently believes that her house is the true ruler of England. Ignored by her sainted cousin Henry VI, mocked by her mother, married at age twelve, and endangered by childbirth, she vows to put her son on the throne. Naming him Henry, she sends him into exile and pledges him in marriage to the daughter of her sworn enemy. 

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

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

Margaret charts her own way through loveless marriages, treacherous alliances, and secret plots. Finally, she gambles her life to mastermind one of the greatest rebellions of all time – all the while knowing that her grown son and his army await the opportunity to win the greatest prize. (Gregory)

The White Queen BBC one commercial - Directors cut from Jamie Childs.

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

Sir Thomas Parr’s father, William, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal, had once been Lady Margaret Beaufort’s revisionary heir to her substantial lands in Westmoreland, known as the “Richmond fee.” Lord Parr married to Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, daughter of Henry, 5th Baron FitzHugh and Lady Alice Neville (sister of Warwick). Lady Margaret Beaufort was a double second cousin to Elizabeth FitzHugh, Lady Parr [so she would have been a double second cousin, thrice removed of Katherine]. After the death of Lord Parr, his widow made a marriage with the Lancastrian family, the Vauxs’ of Harrowden. The Vaux family was close to Margaret, enjoying a long-term relationship with her. The previous Lady Vaux, mother of Thomas Parr’s step-father Nicholas, had been lady and friend to the Lancastrian queen Margaret of Anjou. Katherine, Lady Vaux served the queen during her exile. Nicholas Vaux (later 1st Baron Vaux) was a protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort. The young Thomas Parr [Katherine’s father and Margaret’s cousin] most likely studied under Maurice Westbury of Oxford who had been installed as a teacher by Lady Margaret Beaufort at her estate of Colyweston. It was at Colyweston that certain gentlemen, including the son of the Earl of Westmoreland [cousin of Sir Thomas], not only received an education but also gained political connections that would prove useful in their future careers.[1][2]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

STARZ Official Trailer


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


See also —

STARZ ‘The White Queen’: Elizabeth Woodville

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

Sources

  1. Linda Porter. “Katherine the Queen; The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII.” Macmillan, 2010.
  2. 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.

Links