Top Five Ways The White Princess Gets History Wrong

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Oh Philippa Gregory. You have such an interesting view on history. The White Princess (2017) is still on Starz, and I didn’t need to watch more than a few minutes to see that the TV version isn’t any more historically accurate than the fictional novels they’re adapted from. This is history like Reign and The Tudors were history, folks — meaning, it’s NOT ACTUAL HISTORY. The White Princess is a fantasy with historical trappings, closer to Game of Thrones than Wolf Hall. Just because it’s on cable doesn’t mean it’s serious business. And while we all love a good fantasy bodice-ripper, we don’t pretend that’s how shit went down in ye olden times. So ignore the countless articles proclaiming this is some fabulous historical miniseries, and let’s look at just a few of the ways The White Princess gets history wrong (I know, there are so many, but I don’t have all day and I’m not getting paid for this).

Oh, and in case you’re new or just want to rehash all the snark, we’ve already discussed some of The White Princess‘ offenses against historical costume here and here and here, plus other reasons it bugs the shit out of us. Enjoy!

 

1. The White Queen (2013) vs. The White Princess (2017)

The White Queen (2013) & The White Princess (2017)

This has come up in comments on social media and the blog, which is legit because neither Philippa Gregory or Starz make it all that easy to distinguish between the two. The one is essentially a sequel to the other — the ‘white queen’ is supposed to be Elizabeth Woodville (who marries Edward IV; she shows up as a character in the second series but played by a different actress) and her daughter is Elizabeth of York, who is the ‘white princess’ and marries Henry VII. The first TV series takes place during the War of the Roses period in English history, while the second miniseries is supposed to end the war cycle with the marriage of Elizabeth, being of the York house, and Henry VII, being of the Lancaster house. Their heirs are known as the House of Tudor. Not that it matters because Philippa Gregory will screw it all up for you.

 

2. Elizabeth of York’s Romantic Feelings, Part 1

Elizabeth of York & Richard III

In this fantasy world, she starts out in love with (and having had sex with!) her uncle, Richard III. Yeah, no. At best, there was a rumor dating from a century later that Richard considered marrying her, but zero proof. A marriage between Richard and Elizabeth could have been moderately beneficial for him by making sure nobody else could usurp his York claim to the throne. But Richard had already screwed over Elizabeth’s family by accusing her mother of treason, declaring her parents’ marriage invalid and their children (including Elizabeth herself) bastards, and disappearing (if not killing) her brothers, not to mention stealing the throne from her brother, so why would Elizabeth be pining over this dude? And hello, that’s her UNCLE. Fifteenth-century Christian people had serious rules about consanguinity, meaning, you don’t just casually marry blood relatives (fast-forward to Henry VIII; this is why he claimed he could divorce Catherine of Aragon, since she was his sister-in-law). You needed papal dispensations up the wazoo, and those could always be disputed. Uncle-niece fucking was generally uncool.

 

3. Elizabeth of York’s Romantic Feelings, Part 2

Henry VII & Elizabeth of York

Also in this fantasy world, she hates her betrothed, Henry Tudor. While yes, it was an arranged marriage, remember, THAT WAS THE NORM for women of her social status in this time period. Marrying only for love / lust / romance is a very modern concept. Yes, it happened pre-21st-century, but it tended to be the exception, not the rule. Marriage was primarily a matter of social status and economics until very recently. For that matter, there’s plenty proof that Henry Tudor was a considerate and generous husband to Elizabeth, he never took a mistress (unlike many kings of the era), he gave her expensive gifts and paid for her own charitable giving, and he supported her extended family. So while this was, of course, an arranged political marriage, their union wasn’t totally unwanted or unexpected. Sure, historians haven’t found a letter saying she was totally in LURVE with Henry, but neither have they found one saying he raped her on their wedding night (which admittedly was changed from the book to the TV show, but it’s still icky). Yeah, maybe Elizabeth did secretly despise Henry. But she didn’t show it, and she didn’t act on any such hate. Crazy extremes are great for fantasy stories, but real history has nuance.

 

4. Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville’s Battle

Margaret Beaufort & Elizabeth Woodville

I know, I know, conflict makes more exciting TV. But Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville (Elizabeth of York’s mom, see point #1) arranged their children’s marriage in the first place, so they had a vested interest in it turning out OK. Margaret wasn’t going to undermine what she built. Yes, she was a fairly independent woman for the era and enjoyed special privileges as “My Lady, the King’s Mother.” Historians describe her as a woman of “power, piety, and learning.” She is also noted for taking special care of Elizabeth’s sister, Cecily of York, after she married a commoner, which angered the king. Margaret even kept rooms for Cecily at Margaret’s palace of Collyweston. Not exactly the mega-bitch wearing weird shit on her head you’ve seen on the telly. Also, no witchcraft by Woodville, but did I really have to say that? I mean, should have to say any of this???

 

5. Prince Richard Surviving the Tower

White Princess (2017)

Remember, there are no spoilers in history. I don’t know if Starz has gotten to this yet in the series (let’s be honest, I’m not really watching that tripe), but it’s a key plot point in Gregory’s book. She has Elizabeth of York’s (I refuse to call her Lizzie, UGH) older brother Richard alive, having not died in the Tower of London. Sure, there were claimants, much like there were women claiming to be Anastasia, the daughter who supposedly survived the Romanovs’ execution by the Bolsheviks. But historians (I know, I keep using that word in a post discussing The White Princess, hilarious!) are pretty much in agreement that the princes didn’t live, and the contemporary records show that pretenders were not treated well. Elizabeth wasn’t pining for her dead brother to usurp her husband’s throne either.

 

 

Which historical inaccuracies bug the shit out of you about The White Princess? Lay into it!

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About the author

Trystan L. Bass

Twitter Website

A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. When she’s not dressing up in costumes, she can be found traveling the world with her sweetie and, occasionally, Kendra and Sarah. Her costuming and travel adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also maintains a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

83 Responses

  1. MoHub

    But—but—according to The Black Adder, Richard survived and reigned as Richard IV! Which is a piece of fake history I’ll take over Philippa Gregory’s crap any day!

    Reply
      • Sarah M.c

        I enjoy the show as a source of entertainment. I wish they showed the four children (that lived) from the marriage, instead of the three. I understand the focus was on the heirs- Arthur and Henry VIII, but it was wrong not to have any focus on Margaret and Mary. I love history and I do wish more people had a genuine interest in history. I would hope maybe people who watch this program will interested in discovering the real history, and come away with a better understanding of the War of the Roses and the reign of Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth.

        Reply
  2. Becca

    Uncle-niece fucking was generally uncool*

    *Unless you were a Hapsburg :)

    Reply
    • Yvonne

      Uncle-niece marriages were not so uncommon as you’d think in the noble families of Europe (look up Avunculate marriage on Wikipedia) because the bible did not ‘expressly’ forbid it, and papal dispensation could be granted in Catholic countries. The Hapsburgs were the most famous only because they continued to marry among themselves for multiple generations, to the detriment of their genetic line :)

      Reply
      • Trystan L. Bass

        As I noted, papal dispensations were frequently disputed. And the Hapsburgs got their own payback for inbreeding, also fairly well known.

        Reply
    • Susan Pola

      Or, I believe a Sforza, a Borgia (for a Cersei/Jamie bro/sis). But gossips are usually wrong.
      Btw the last pretender Person Warbeck actually had some convincing supporters, like Margaret Plantagenet Dowager Duchess of Burgundy, the Scottish King, James IV, who married his cousin, Lady Katherine Gordon to him.

      Reply
      • MoHub

        I think AutoCorrect got you, Susan. That should be Perkin, not Person, Warbeck.

        There’s a reason I’ve disabled AutoCorrect.

        Reply
  3. Jamie LaMoreaux

    oh boy, you’ve apparently bought the “evil Richard” line put out by the Tudor apologists. Richard didn’t accuse Elizabeth it was done by the bishop that presided Edwards marriage bans (pre-wedding) to another woman. thus making Elizabeth and Edwards children bastards. He didn’t “disappear or kill” her brothers, they were put in a royal castle (the tower) for their own safety. The Woodvilles, Elizabeths family, was attempting to kidnap them and run the country. if anyone killed them it would most logically be Henry Tudor. his claim was VERY tenuous at best and their marriage was needed for him to have any legal claim to the throne. He and his children made it a policy of their reign to slaughter off EVERYONE with a better claim to the throne than he. also when he took over the country after committing regicide, he never charged Richard with their murders. Henry was a sick twisted creep. Richard was known for is compassion, skill and fidelity to his brother and family.

    Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      Not necessarily evil, just not a dreamy romantic partner. Really, it doesn’t make sense for Elizabeth of York to be mooning over the guy who just ruined her family’s lives in countless ways. Totally a stretch on Gregory’s part!

      Reply
    • shellieeyre

      And you have apparently bought the Ricardian revisionist version. The Princes were put in the Tower for their own safety and never seen again after the summer of 1483. If Henry killed them when did he do it? If after Bosworth where were they in the intervening two years? If before then why did Richard not notice that they’d disappeared? Why did he not produce them when rumours of his having killed them were circulating during his lifetime? If Henry killed them he could have produced the bodies when the Tower was searched in September 1486 and laid the deaths at Richard’s door; he didn’t.

      The very best that can be said about Richard and the princes is that he failed to keep them safe as he was honour bound to do. DId someone else kill them while he was king? Possibly- but he did nothing about it if so.

      Henry did not “slaughter” everyone with any claim to the throne; RIII’s heir, the Earl of Lincoln was given a seat on his council; other Yorkists were left alone and several were still alive at Henry’s death. Of the 29 attainders passed after Bosworth most were reversed during the reign.

      “Henry was a sick twisted creep” is not a valid historical viewpoint and puts your opinion on the same level as “Richard III was an evil monster”. Richard was no saint; his supposed loyalty to his family didn’t stop him accusing his own mother of adultery or mislaying his brother’s sons; his apparent compassion isn’t much on evidence in his treatment of the Countess of Oxford whose property he extorted from her; he murdered Hastings, Grey and Rivers. The fact is that he was as much a ruthless medieval king as any other.

      Reply
      • Trystan L. Bass

        See, here’s the problem with Phillipa Gregory — she fucks around with history so much for funsies, that it gets ppl’s knickers in a twist. And the weird thing is, she doesn’t seem to be totally taking sides one way or the other. She’s got a mishmash of both, which is satisfying to neither.

        Reply
      • Char

        THIS

        No matter which way mad Ricardians try to twist it fact remains that the prime suspect in those kids disappearances will always be Richard, that’s not something simply made up by the Tudors when he pretty much brought it on himself. Not to mention that it’s pretty likely that the so called pre-contract was fake, he didn’t even seek the approval of the church (and a supposedly pious man at that!) which was the denomination that judged whether a marriage was null or not, NOT the parliament. And it’s very true that nothing stopped him from being responsible of many executions and shameful acts, like not allowing poor Hastings to have a proper trial, accusing his own mother of adultery and shaming Elizabeth Woodville and her mother Jaquetta as ‘witches’. People trying to romanticize this jerk are something else, he was a man of his time.

        Reply
      • milli

        Exactly and not to mention that Priest who claimed the children bastard didn’t came out of nowhere, he was protected and produced by Richard’s allies. You cannot wash away the fact that this priest comes forward with a document months later by Richard about an unfulfilled betrothal to challenge and invalidate the church performed, god sanctified, well consummated , long standing marriage! and he didn’t even produce this papers to the Church or even Pope but to Parliament which clearly proved that Richard knew his claim to throne is flimsy and would not work.
        Initially his keeping the princes as Lord Protector in tower could be seen as a measure of protection but from whom? those children’s own uncle? Sure lots of men in Edward IV asked him to be Lord Protector but NOT king. the thing is Richard was an elitist and couldn’t stand the fact that some “smaller” nobility like Woodwilles would outclass him in power through bloodline of the future king. Then this whole debacle of Priest and paper came out by Richard himself and he still kept the children locked away instead of giving them to church or lawful imprisonment like any “legal” monarchy should do. He knew that he is wrong and that is what happened.

        The only thing which was ever happened unfairly to him was this slanderous campaign of equating him to some devil just because he has sclerosis. That was very unfair. whether he ever killed his nephews unfortunately could never be determined after so many years even if we somehow confirm that the recently found skeletons under the Tower indeed them( the royal trust or something is refusing permission) . But the rest are just verifiable facts. It is not about who is Richardian or Tudorian or whatever.

        Reply
        • shellieeyre

          The remains were found in 1674 by workmen carrying out alterations to a staircase. Interestingly, More’s account of the murder has them buried … underneath a staircase.

          Richard had scoliosis, not sclerosis.

          Reply
          • hoodedman1

            More’s account also then says THEY WERE LATER MOVED BY A PRIEST. Actually, we have no proof they were found under the staircase, it was 1674, no archaeologists, no attending coroner or police, no photos, not even an in situ drawing. In fact, the bones were dumped on the spoil heap for 2 days. Human remains are frequently found around the Tower; not surprising, because there is a Roman cemetery mere feet away and the Tower in on the site of a Basilica…There has never been modern analysis of the bones (which are mixed with animal bones, suggesting a Roman midden)–so we don’t know WHAT date they are from or WHAT SEX they are. (Several modern osteologists examining photos of the bones think the elder may have female characteristics; only DNA would tell us 100%) BTW a child’s skeleton, same age as the elder 12-13 years approx, turned up in the 70’s–it was dated, & it was 2000 years old. Found a hundred years ago and someone might have been saying it was a ‘prince.’
            As these bones were also found 10 feet down; again, you are into the Roman or even earlier level. This huge excavation was supposed to have been dug in ONE NIGHT? In secret? Yeah, right. There were well over 100 people living at the Tower.
            Whatever happened to the ‘Princes’ it seems unlikely, from an archaeological standpoint, that those bones are theirs.
            Re; Elizabeth and Richard III. Although state documents still existing in Portugal show that Richard planned to marry Princess Joanne and Elizabeth was set to marry Duke Manuel (so the idea of romance is pretty unlikely) , Elizabeth actually did seem to have affection for her uncle. Her rather florid letter to him may have been ‘buttering him up’ if she thought the marriage plans for Manuel weren’t going as swiftly as she’d have liked, but when he gave her some of his books, she doodled in her name and motto under his.

            Reply
    • Robert McIntyre

      Read Alison Weir’s books The Princes in the Tower and Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World. Unlike Philippa Gregory’s trash, Weir’s books are history books complete with sources to back up her research. Weir thoroughly proves that not only did Richard III order his nephews’ murders (who benefited the most and who had the means to get to them in the Tower?) but also that Elizabeth of York WAS NOT attracted to her uncle, neither prince survived (though were pretenders/IMPOSTERS) and pretty much everything else Gregory tries to pass of as fact is a load of bullshit.

      Reply
      • Lynne Connolly

        Weir isn’t any better than Gregory. She employs people to do her research for her, and she is strongly biased toward the Tudors, and lets it show in her books. I don’t know any educational institution that uses her as a source, because her history is shaky and edited. She works from her prejudices rather than coming to the sources with an open mind. The contemporary accounts she cites are post-1485, and we all know how much Henry VII and his henchman Morton twisted history. She doesn’t make that clear, in fact she tries to claim that the sources are contemporary with the Princes’ deaths, which they weren’t.
        It was probably necessary to twist history at the time, to try to stabilise the country, but these days we don’t have to swallow it all. That book, especially The Princes In The Tower, proves nothing.
        If you want an opposing view, which is no more or less accurate than the Weir, read Bertram Fields’ Royal Blood. At least he points out her faults, although he is an unabashed Ricardian.
        Then try to find an unbiased account. Good luck with that!
        Having met Weir, I can’t say my opinion has changed. She doesn’t have the flexibility of the true historian, or the carefully analytical approach. Neither does Fields, for that matter, but at least reading both will give a more balanced view.

        Reply
        • hoodedman1

          Agree about Weir. As far as I’m aware she doesn’t not actually have a historian’s qualifications; she dropped out. She writes well, which is what makes her books compelling. Her research is sometimes slipshod; at one time she listed Richard III as having 7 bastards! What?? One of them, it turns out, was only made Richard’s son in an early 20thc novel! (She did later admit she’d been wrong about this.) In another instance she added an extra child to the children of the Duke of York and Cecily Neville. When queried she admitted she got the information from ‘someone’s own family tree in the 1960’s.’ Again, seriously?

          Reply
      • Becca

        Weir is pretty decent, I agree. But this is he second time I’m reading her book, and she definitely thinks that Elizabeth wanted to marry Richard and had a thing for him shudders

        She believes in the Buck letter (meanwhile I’m of the belief that Elizabeth was referring to her father as her “only joy and maker,” used obviously in affectionate family terms, but that’s another issue).

        I give credit to Weir for bringing up that Arthur was very likely a premature baby. It makes a lot of sense and trashes PG’s belief that Henry raped Elizabeth into the dust (aside from the fact that it’s common sense to realize that’s not true lmao).

        Reply
  4. Abigail Tyrrell

    OK! THREE things…
    1. There is evidence that he princes did not die and were in fact fostered/married into Thomas Moore’s family. There are versions of the sketches in Holbein’s hand with two “mysterious” gentlemen in the doorway at the back. There are other clues – fashionable for the time – that allude to their heritage. (How do I know this? Check the last name. Kids very proud to be able to trace back to 1066.)

    WTF is Margaret wearing on her head from week to week!
    WOULD THEY STOP WEARING THEIR GOWNS BACKWARDS! Recycled obs, but you don’t make it “new” and “edgy” by putting it on backwards!

    /rant
    breathe

    Reply
    • milli

      I think those evidence are so easily dismissed since if her brother was alive then EoY would have never let them languish with some other noble family and would have revolted from her husband if he refused to give them the crown because a) law and b) His claim to the throne is basically zero and EoY wouldn’t want to be seen as a wife of a man whose descent is from a chamberservand of Edward III.
      Why would any noble family would just keep quite if they have real heirs of the throne with them when they could use them and be the top man of the kingdom? just like Neville was doing with Edward IV?
      Those princes being alive like that makes zero sense and frankly requires number of anachronistic explanations to make it float.

      Reply
      • Shellie Eyre

        The More family theory has no credible evidence at all, but that aside, kings didn’t relinquish the crown if a more eligible claimant showed up; also, Henry’s claim was not through his father but through his mother, and, contrary to widely held – and repeated – belief, that line was not barred from the succession, Henry IV’s addition to Richard II’s original act never having been ratified by Parliament (in fact a whole new act would have been required) and therefore having no legal standing at all.

        Reply
  5. Joan

    For the record, in the book and on the show Henry raped Elizabeth before they got married to make sure she was pregnant first before they married. Otherwise you’re spot on.

    Reply
    • Charity

      This.

      There’s articles out there on how it’s not rape, how she turned it around, how feminist empowering it was, etc.

      Yeah. It’s still rape. He locked the door and forced her onto the bed. He told her she had no choice. She consented because it was that or be held down. Sorry, Frost. Still rape.

      Reply
      • milli

        Correct! and can you imagine that they wanted us to swallow the fact that staunch christian Henry and Margaret would sanction out of wed lock sex? last time i checked everyone knew fertility was determined how they used to with breeding animals back in middle ages( i know yuck!) :- if women of the family had lots of children then the daughter will have too. That is why the real Kathyrine of Aragon’s multiple stillbirth and miscarriages was so bewildering since her own mother and sister had multiple healthy children who managed to live past age 5. Elizabeth of Woodwille had some whooping 12 children within her two marriage with 10 alone with Edward IV.
        Gregory can’t even stick true to her own quasi-fake-medieval setting.

        Reply
        • Charity

          Yes, and even leaving the evidence aside (all the children of the Woodvilles, not to mention the DOZENS of cousins in the same family line), Henry could not afford to risk any of his children being deemed a ‘bastard.’ His claim to the throne was tenuous, so he needed legitimacy; knocking up Elizabeth of York outside of wedlock would have further undermined his claims. (This is why the stupid subplot in the book about his affair with Cathy Gordon is also absurd; any affairs might result in illegitimate children to threaten his children’s line of succession. And in case anyone gets inventive about how they could avoid having children, the Church forbade a lot of sexual practices — and Henry was pious. Since the Church preached “HELL” at the time, anyone pious wanted to avoid anything that would gain them extra condemnation after death. This is probably why Henry hesitated so often to execute even his enemies; he handed out a great many pardons that came around to bite him in the butt later, no doubt for “fear for my immortal soul.”) Many non-historian-inclined readers would not realize the complete irrationality of either one of these plot lines; that Gregory chooses to use them shows either a lack of understanding for the period, or a deliberate IGNORING of the morals and beliefs of the period (more likely).

          Someone mentioned below that Gregory seems to use every nasty slander she can find in the history books against the women; but not the men. I think she shows certain strong favoritism toward certain men, but not others — in the case of Richard, she leaves out a lot of his flaws and his scolioisis; but she invents awful things about Henry VII (a rapist, a mamma’s boy, a fool) and King Edward (who also tries to rape Elizabeth Woodville). She goes out of her way to malign Margaret Beaufort — although the ridiculous murder of Jasper Tudor is pure Emma Frost. And have you read her book about Catherine Parr and Henry VIII? Never thought I could feel sorry for the old bastard, but she makes him a driveling, letcherous old slob who literally ‘gets off’ on SPANKING Catherine Parr. So, I think if it’s “there,” she uses it; if not, she invents it.

          Reply
          • milli

            oh i was the one who mentioned the “which sex gets the most unfavorable treatment by gregory”. I actually thought about including Edward and Henry but then i felt like both these men were slandered not especially to make them controversial for themselves but were basically happy accidents of using “hated then loved” trope . Trite. I never heard of this new book of hers but if it paints Henry VIII as anything less than a sociopath then it is inaccurate. Henry was less lecherous and more of a braggart. His mistresses were few and he preferred the my way or highway approach to marriage wherein the doomed wives have to comply with his delusional games of romance like Katheryn of Aragon used to do or get out of his way when they refused him anything whether it was complying with his ideas of romance, religion, ego stroking etc
            here: http://under-these-restless-skies.blogspot.in/p/the-real.html

            Reply
            • Charity

              Henry was delusional, narcissistic, and had psychopathic traits — anyone or anything who threatened the public perception of his delusions was targeted and eliminated, even if it caused a political crisis as a result (such as Sir Thomas More).

              I read your post; I see that someone in the comments mentions the jousting accident. If you study Henry VIII’s younger life, he already had problematic traits. As early as a couple years into his first marriage, he was ‘punishing’ Katharine of Aragon for objecting to his flirtations with other women, by picking out her FAVORITE lady at court and sending her away. The weird thing is… how charismatic he was. And how generous he started out. I guess he gave away all those castles just to earn favor from his courtiers. :P

              Reply
              • Becca

                It’s very common for people with sociopathic tendencies or any other emotional disorder where the person often abuses and manipulates the people around them to be very charismatic and charming. I imagine Henry VIII was no different in this regard.

                I’ve read a lot of things where he started out as a mild mannered King just eager to live up to his father’s wishes of him. Somewhere down the line, he devolved into a monster.

                Reply
        • Dawn

          I believe Arthur was born a month earlier than expected, which is probably the reason for some of the stories about Henry and Elizabeth getting it on early. Not sure if the rumors and stories are contemporary, though, or a later edition.

          Reply
  6. Caroline

    I decided enough was enough when Margaret of Beaufort killed Jasper Tudor. I despise Phillipa Gregory. A novel doesn’t have to be a historical treatise but at least stick to the facts. It’s not hard.

    Reply
    • Val Mccaully

      I have always avoided her material. I sussed her out right away. She stands right beside Dan Brown in my opinion. DB didn’t claim to write history. His biggest problem was not being able to write at all.

      Reply
    • Becca

      Historical fiction novels should put in facts when available and then create scenarios based on what minimal information is left. Writers owe that to history.

      Reply
    • Louise

      As someone mentioned earlier, the killing Jasper Tudor wasn’t Phillippa Gregory. It was Emma Frost’s. I was a little surprised too since it wasn’t in the book.

      Reply
  7. Malena Lannister

    Gregory is fun to read, but despite her claims, she is not much of a historian. You could say she writes historical fantasies with all that magic and goddess Melusine’s intervention.I liked the White Queen better. Characters were nicer, better acting. Here even veteran actors like Michelle Fairley and Essie Davis are annoying but there is one thing I learned in this show, Henry VIII’s weirdness came from his parents. Lizzie was abused, Henry was paranoid, and those scheming grandmothers are the pits.
    The only character I’m investing in this series is Maggie, she is so sweet, and when you think of all she went through afterwards, you hate the Tudors.
    One correction, uncle-niece fucking was uncool in England, not in the continent. Or Colonial America. It was outlawed for the first time in the States in Ohio, the 1850s.
    What historical incoherence bugs the shit out of me? The quasi romance between Jasper Tudor and Margaret of Burgundy. He was never sent to her court so having them make goo-goo eyes at each other was embarrassing. I was so pleased to see Marie of Burgundy, and she did die on a riding accident, but it had nothing to do with the English diplomatic efforts. The whole thing was so idiotic.
    I dn’t mind My Lady, The King’s Mother murdering Jasper. She looks like a black mantis in that kookie headdress, so it was befitting she killed her mate.

    Reply
  8. Clara

    Just saying as a Spaniard that I am still screaming about the inaccurate meeting between Henry VII and EoY and the Catholic Kings complete with a flamenco flash mob lead by Catherine of Aragon. (Like way to ram the point that yes IT IS SPAIN WE KNOW THAT. Despite the fact a courtier wouldn’t be caught dead dancing like that, let alone an Infanta)

    (Then again shame on me because I know what I was getting into)

    Reply
    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      ACK! the fact that Catherine of Aragon like 4 or 5 and Flamenco was not danced until the 1700’s as part of the mantilla movement.

      Reply
      • Clara

        My goodness way to make her ahead of her time XDXDXD

        (I am no dance expert -yeah not all Spaniards- so I thank you for that tidbit! )

        Reply
        • Malena Lannister

          Why it’s so hard for producers to accept that Isabella and Catherine of Aragon were red-headed? Those creatures in “The White Princess ”looked more like Lola Flores’ family than Trastamaras

          Reply
          • Dawn

            Catherine is often depicted as brunette, even borderline swarthy (see Anne of the Thousand Days for example) since the popular notion is that Spaniards are dark/swarthy/brunettes/ How else would she look? /s

            The old BBC Six Wives of Henry VIII had it right, at least.

            Reply
            • Malena Lannister

              Yess, Anette Crosby, she was a strawberry blonde. I remember poor Irene Papas, her Greek looks had nothing to do with the real Catherine. But even in Spanish miniseries they look wrong. In “Isabel”, the queen was blonde. The one that got the right auburn hue was Rachel Weisz in “The Fountain.”

              Reply
    • NotTHATAshanti

      Lil Catharine of Aragon’s version of the “Coming to America” dance added 10 years to my life! That little girl saved the episode bc she had me doubled-over crying laughing 😂. Whatever part of the witchcraft, wizardry, and medieval motherfuckery game this is…I fully support. That scene was so weirdly wonderful I just gave in to the ridiculousness on display.

      Reply
    • Ardashir

      Spaniard too. and I’m not screaming. I’M FUCKING FURIOUS! Spain in those ages danced salterellos, saltatios, ronderellas, bransles and pavanes. JUST LIKE ANY OTHER EUROPEAN FUCKING COUNTRY( If you go to crica 1650 a new dance begins to appear, called Canarios, the Origin of the jota and other dances alike) I give you a link about a canarios dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh-94sxuduI )

      Reply
  9. Charity

    Thank you for the shout-out about the real Henry Tudor. I’m sick of the rampant modern hatred toward him in favor of romanticizing Richard III.

    Look, both had their issues. Both committed moral crimes. Get over it.

    Also, here’s a radical thought: you can like them both.

    Either way, can we agree Gregory screws them all over? And that she has a serious hatred of the Tudors in general?

    I whined about the historical inaccuracies in the first episode on my blog; but it has gone way beyond the pale, as it progressed. Here’s a handful of LOL WUT? that comes to mind:

    Margaret Beaufort murdered the princes, and then murders Jasper Tudor to keep it quiet. Yes, because smothering a guy is so easy when you weigh 90 pounds. It’s really just leaning over him slightly and applying pressure. Sure.

    Elizabeth Woodville sure looks good for being dead a few years. And yet, she’s still showing up at family events to scream about her lost princes being the true rulers. Nice, Grandma. Real nice. Also, the series conveniently forgets she brokered her daughter’s marriage to Henry Tudor in the first place. So… like, she wouldn’t hate it? Woops.

    Why is Emperor Maximilian’s wife still alive? She’d been dead… awhile…? OH yes, so a stupid competition with the English envoy can kill her (she falls from a horse) and give Margaret of Burgundy yet ANOTHER reason to hate the Tudors!

    So, Perkin Warbeck comes fresh off his wedding (where the King of Scotland is present, because apparently this is Serious Business) and decides to invade England; and Henry is all — but this would be a great time to TRAVEL TO SPAIN AND MEET FERDINAND AND ISABELLA. And so they do, never mind that they’re, you know, leaving their country unguarded and going on a journey that could take weeks; and then when they get there, a little brown-eyed, olive-skinned, dark-haired Katharine of Aragon flash mobs them with a fiery Latin dance (I can’t make this stuff up) and then… walks off with a little flounce. And then Head Bitch!Isabella shames them in public and talks down to them, while Ferdinand is just LOLZ, my wife rules this roost. I can’t even.

    Best part, though, was Margaret Beaufort collecting Perkin Warbeck from the Abbey after the battle because apparently “Yeah, God told me you should give him to us, Sanctuary doesn’t apply” … works?

    My friends keep asking me why, as a 1500’s amateur historian, I watch this crap.

    Because it’s FUN to hate-watch things.

    Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      Maybe we need a “hate-watch” category — we tend to just come down on “yay, this is great bec. it’s historically accurate” or “snark the shit out of everything that’s wrong.” Admittedly, since we’re trying to watch & review, we don’t have as much luxury to hate-watch anymore (I know, woe is us, hahahaha).

      Reply
    • Rocki

      This is the best post ever. I feel like sending it to everyone who thinks TWP is historically accurate.

      Reply
  10. Brandy Loutherback

    In the book(Which I hate!) it was supposed to be ambiguous whether the pretender really was Richard. In the show they gave it away that Richard did survive in the 1st preview! WTF, Starz do you think we’re stupid! It was one of the few things about Philippa’s book that I could respect! Also I will say a positive: The made Elizabeth of York (Fuck that Lizzie shit!) at the very least a little bit less of an all encompassing Twit! Yes I was throwing the White Princess a bone to be nice!

    Reply
  11. indiaedghill

    And while I this is, comparatively speaking, a minor point — is there NO HAIR DYE AVAILABLE to the show-makers? I mean, “Lizzie’s” supposedly blonde hair has constant brunette roots. I also feel that turning one of history’s most famous redheads (the future Henry VIII) into a brown-haired boy is…let’s just say irritating, and leave it at that. As for the “Let’s pop over to Spain” thing, and the Infanta of the most etiquette-bound court in Europe doing a flamenco dance, words are failing me here. (PS: Catharine of Aragon had red-gold hair. Portraits of her indicate this clearly.) (Arrggh!)

    Reply
  12. picasso Manu

    That’s the show where they even get the plants wrong, right?
    Well, the kids are cute, at least.

    But what with the dress fabric and the unfortunate boobage?

    Reply
  13. Sarah

    Point 6. It’s written by Philippa Gregory, which renders points 1-5 superfluous. How she has the stones to call herself a historian boggles my mind.

    Reply
      • shellieeyre

        Philippas Langley and Gregory and John I don’t really have a huge crush on Richard III Ashdown Hill are like an unholy trinity of revisionist horror on anything connected to RIII.

        Reply
      • Casey

        Right? I saw her in some documentary that also had David Starkey and I was like “…how?”

        Reply
        • Sarah

          There’s nothing wrong with historical revisionism – no judgement on a person is set in stone, but Gregory isn’t a historian and Starkey is a Tudor specialist, not a 15th century expert. Gregory suffers very badly from an inability to distinguish between proper history based the considered interpretation of primary sources and the writing of historical fiction, where liberties of interpretation and character are permitted – she’s as bad as Alison Weir in that respect. The one star demolishing of The Other Boleyn Girl on Amazon are highly entertaining.

          Reply
  14. Miss Kitty

    I like King Richard the third I think he was kind to his wife and children maybe the power went to his head a bit but where is the proof that he did in the young princes it is possible that someone else did it Margaret Beaufort didn’t murder her friend Jasper Tudor I know that she owed him for looking after Henry

    Reply
    • milli

      Richard of Gregory’s maybe kind but real one was famous for his temper and rages and he also fathered at least one known bastard so he was not especially faithful to his wife as well. The way i saw it , his sudden production of those betrothal papers which Edward IV never fulfilled and used to declare a church sanctified , consummated marriage as invalid does look like Richard was actively using any loophole he can to climb up the throne. First as a Lord Protector and then as King himself. Maybe he didn’t murder those princes but they were in a position of such vulnerability was because of him and they were out of line for throne and in a tower when their supporters were being killed is really damning for Richard as it is without murder charges on top. I do hate the ableism his reputation suffered though due to tudor propaganda. He didn’t deserve that.

      Reply
    • shellieeyre

      Richard had the means, motive and opportunity; he did not account for them when it was rumoured he’d killed them; if he didn’t order it himself then either he failed to notice they’d been killed or it suited him to keep quiet about it.

      There is nothing at all to suggest that Beaufort was guilty of it, and she’s only really become a suspect as part of the Anyone But Richard movement.

      Reply
  15. shellieeyre

    Philippas Gregory and Langley and John Ashdown Hill show up like the Three Weird Sisters of some revisionist Ricardian nightmare. Ugh.

    Reply
  16. milli

    This article is perfect! but i would also like to add a perspective of a women who comes from a country were arranged marriage is not uncool – You mentioned Elizabeth of York may have possibly hated her husband in real history but i don’t think so the mere possibility of it is even possible. The guy basically saved her life by killing the man who declared her a religious and social pariah and made her a queen she was raised to be and was expecting to be if not her own country then of some other European country for sure. I can see her feeling a little hesitant but not animosity for a man who saved her life from “damnation” due to her supposed bastardy . But i can see why Gregory included the hate element because “lovers starting as enemy” is a dry as a dust but workable trope and using tropes is a sign of a average to poor writer especially if even doesn’t makes sense. blech!
    P.S: have you guys noticed that Gregory as this habit of including every slanderous rumor about famous queens she writes about but none for her kings or male characters? example of EoY and Richard III. EoY slept with her uncle was a slandering rumor while Richard’s bastard, his sclerosis and his temper tantrums which are verifiable facts are all missing! it is like she is determined to paint every one her women as a evil witch to get more readers as possible .

    Reply
  17. Becca

    Y’know, I could deal with nicknames for Elizabeth of York if they got one that would have been more accurate for the time period.

    Like oh, I don’t know….BESS and BESSIE.

    As far as Richard and Elizabeth…I don’t believe it on Elizabeth’s side. Not one bit. She was renowned for her piety, and why the hell would she be pining for a man that screwed the future of her mother and sisters by calling them bastards AND was the chief suspect in the disappearance of her brothers?!

    Richard, however….isn’t it true that untreated sclerosis can warp the brain? And I’ve read that Richard’s advisors had to really fight to get him to announce he wasn’t going to marry Elizabeth.

    There’s a letter that’s based on the mutual incest claim where supposedly Elizabeth calls Richard “her only joy and maker.” Funny thing is, we’ve got no proof that she said such a thing about RICHARD. We just know she’s writing to the intended receiver to speed up something for her and calls someone unknown her, “only joy and maker.”

    I’ve got my own theories on that; I believe she’s referring to her father as her only joy and maker. And she’s asking for the matter of her marriage to whomever (NOT RICHARD), to be sped up to secure her future and her family’s futures.

    And who knows, perhaps she was requesting that her marriage to Henry Tudor himself was sped up and resolved. Because Edward IV DID seriously look into marrying Elizabeth and Henry during his own reign; it was his move to establish an official end to the War of the Roses and bring peace. He looked into it after it was clear Elizabeth wasn’t going to be marrying the Dauphin of France.

    Reply
  18. Lynne Connolly

    Oh yes, I’ve found my sisters!
    Actually, I’m a Ricardian, but having been born in Leicester on August 22nd, I didn’t have much choice. I don’t think he was blameless, but I do think that Buckingham did it, in order to cast aspersions on Richard, and he did it just before his rebellion. Richard didn’t produce the bodies, either because he didn’t know where they were, or because the damage was already done, and he would have been accused of killing them anyway. He had no reason to kill them. He was King by acclamation. Killing them at that time was stupid, and Richard wasn’t stupid. I think that by Bosworth he had a death wish anyway. His wife and son were dead. If he did have a hand in killing the boys, then he might have seen it as retribution. Who knows, since Henry VII’s minions had a lot of bonfires after he got to the throne.
    In any case, I’ve been avoiding Gregory’s version of history since she did That Stuff to Mary Boleyn. Utter nonsense.
    I’ve met people who think Gregory writes real history. For realz. Drives me demented. When you’re writing historical fiction there are things that Could Have Happened, and that’s where we play, and Things That Couldn’t Have Happened, which is crossing the line.
    In this instance, the Carry On team could have done a better job. And it would have been funnier, too.

    Reply
    • Shellie Eyre

      He didn’t have sclerosis, he had scoliosis; it does not affect the brain or mental capacity.

      Reply
  19. Dawn

    What happened to the Tudor red with those kids? We can keep Elizabeth I as a redhead and she was passionately proud of looking like her father (ie, red hair and fair skin). I’m guessing the boy next to the little girl is Henry, right?

    I really hope you talk about this dress: http://qweenmakers.tumblr.com/post/160885633181. I couldn’t make head nor tails of it!

    Reply
  20. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    Am I the only person who does not blame either Richard III or Henry VII for the death of the princes?! look at the times and the lack of medical care. My personal belief is simply that the boys died of plague or sweating sickness both which were prevalent at the time. To prevent their deaths being used against Richard, they were buried in secret.

    Reply
    • Lynne Connolly

      That’s interesting! It’s known from a brief contemporary reference that the older boy had a “diseased” jaw, though whether it was a bad tooth or cancer or something else is not known.

      Reply
      • B. Durbin

        Abscesses are a very real danger in the absence of dental care. If someone didn’t get a rotten tooth pulled in time, there was (is!) a real danger of death.

        I like Josephine Tey’s take on the Richard III thing, where she presents the evidence at hand, but while she comes to the conclusion that he was innocent of their murders, she spends the whole book talking about how it’s really easy to accept the lies about history and hard to find the truth because of lack of real evidence. (That book also has the protagonist claim the (1950s) medical “knowledge” that “All outsized women are sexually cold. Ask any doctor.” It makes me snicker “Any male doctor raised in a generation immediately following one in which female sexuality was seen as a medical disorder; of course they’d believe that.”)

        Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      I am friends with a couple that cannot talk about who was responsible for the death of the Princes in the Tower without getting into a MASSIVE fight. We all know to steer clear of the topic when they’re around (because, yes, we all do sit around talking about history almost all the time) unless all sharp objects are put away.

      As for me, I don’t have a pet theory one way or the other.

      Reply
  21. Francisco José Torres España

    Please, may you write about the mistakes they did regarding Spain?? Firstly. They showed The Royal Alcazar of Seville as the Alhambra of Granada. Later, the entrance of Katherine of Aragon dancing a weird kind of flamenco is just outrageous. Finally, Queen Isabella the Catholic dressed as a queen of cards is extremely funny. If you want to find an accurate representation of her, look for the series “Isabel”.

    Reply
    • Malena

      And in the finale, Señor de Puebla’s hat! Was he an envoy of the Sultan? Right, Natalia Rodriguez had the correct coloring, but Michelle Jenner was a bit too blonde. Isabel de Castilla had red hair.

      Reply
  22. JW

    If you knew anything about the Tudors and Yorks, you would know that Elizabeth of York was the older than her York brothers. She was 4 years older than her brother Edward and 7 years older than Richard. Also, if you knew the story behind the names of White Princess and White Queen you would know that Elizabeth of York was called the “White Rose of York” for her beauty and her family name. Also, the white rose was the York Symbol. Her mother was the York Queen and there for the White Queen.

    I will agree about issue with regards to Richard III.

    However, with Henry the VII, their marriage we can not say it started out happily. What we do know is, Elizabeth of York was pregnant when she and Henry married. Their son Arthur was born less than 9 months after they were married. We also know thanks to records, that Henry and Elizabeth were, at least by the time she died, deeply in love.

    Can’t say about the feud between Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort as there are no published diaries or similar papers.

    Reply
    • Louise

      I don’t think we “know” that Elizabeth was pregnant when she and Henry were married. A lot of babies were (and are) born early. It is a rumor that she was pregnant. As someone pointed out earlier, I can’t see pious Henry or his mother going for that.

      Reply
  23. grey 123

    Lot’s of minor details, apart from the obvious historic inaccuracies.

    Women of that time would not be swanning about in their night clothes, nor have their hair down. Depending on the circumstances it would either be covered with a cloth, or be sewn into a style.
    ‘Lizzie” would not have checked for pregnancy a day after the rape, women at the time would not known they were pregnant until the baby “quickened” ie they felt it move.

    The former Queen would not be readily offering to pour Henry a drink regardless of their feud, and she would still have had the status albeit mentally to expect others to cater to her.

    Margaret, Henry’s mother was only 12-13 years older than her son, but here they have made her appear far older than him.

    The “witch craft” thing is greatly overplayed, and was more accurately used as a means to discredit the former Queen rather than actually being something she did, or as the series suggests was successful in manipulating and traumatising people.

    “Lizzie” did not sleep or love the slain Richard, once again another attempt to smear the Yorkists that is taken as historical fact.

    The two younger sons of Elizabeth Woodville are generally said to have been murdered in the tower, either on the orders ofRichard who disinherited then and of which there are confessions from the supposed man who helped smother them , or Henry, nothing to do with Margaret.

    The idea that one escaped and became the imposter “Perkin” is pure fantasy.

    The whole sulky, envious sister depicted by Suki Waterhouse is also just nonsense.

    Reply
    • Shellie Eyre

      I don’t believe there’s any credible evidence to suggest that Henry did away with the boys. The went missing in 1483 when Henry was a penniless exile with no access to them and no means of getting anyone else to do the deed. Margaret’s husband is often cited as being Constable of the Tower as a way to explain how the Tudors could have done it, but he was in fact Constable of England, a purely ceremonial position.

      Reply

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