TBT: The White Queen (2013), Ep. 2


Episode 2 of The White Queen (2013) begins with Elizabeth Woodville’s coronation as Queen of England. This was an historic moment, as it also represented the first time in English history where a commoner was crowned queen. In fact, Elizabeth’s coronation would go on to add legitimacy to another commoner queen, Anne Boleyn, who married Elizabeth’s great-grandson Henry VIII to much controversy and outcry.

The White Queen (2013-)

Elizabeth’s coronation robe is an interesting theatrical take. Gold lace is laid over a matching gold fabric and embellished with pearls to create texture.


Of course, I’m contractually obligated to point out that Elizabeth actually wore a robe of purple velvet trimmed in ermine, as depicted in this illumination from c. 1472 that shows the queen in her coronation robes. And yes, I’m aware that the robes look red here, but the written description of her coronation calls them “purple,” so take it up with the illuminators.


Jaquetta’s hair just bugs me to no end, but that butterfly hennin is really nice and appropriate for the occasion.


The dresses that Elizabeth’s younger sisters are wearing are all identical, and I guess they’re ok. I wish they had more character, but I get it … they’re only seen onscreen for a split-second.


I was wondering when we would be treated to our first head necklace.


The Warwick ladies are in attendance, albeit reluctantly. Here’s where we start to see a weirder range of styles on the secondary female characters. Isabel (right) is wearing a vaguely appropriate silhouette for the 1460s. Her sister Anne (middle) is wearing something that looks more like it belongs in Italy in the 1480s, while their mother, the Countess of Warwick is wearing something that is more in line with the contemporary fashion for 1465.


I’m restraining myself from making a joke about wearing a Burger King crown.


Gloucester, Warwick, and Clarence all have pretty good outfits for the coronation. Now, will someone please tell me if these horses are period or not?


I thought this set of extras had pretty good costumes. The lady, in particular, looks pretty close to what you’d expect a fashionable woman at court to be wearing in the 1460s. It’s too bad you only glimpse them for a hot second.


Another great outfit, this time on Charles, Duke of Burgundy. He’s Jaquetta’s kinsman, I can’t remember exactly how they were related. I haven’t found any sources that document him at Elizabeth’s coronation, but within a couple of years, Edward’s sister, Margaret of York, was married off to him, so ok. Whatever. His clothes are fantastic.




Like her dress, hate his pants. I think they’re quilted velvet…?


Finally! We get some scene-chewing time with Margaret Beaufort, who has just learned that the king has stripped her son, Henry Tudor, of his title as Earl of Richmond and given it to his brother, the Duke of Clarence, for the hell of it.


Meanwhile, in Castle Warwick … The Warwick ladies are pissy about the queen effing with their total way of life. I’d like to take a moment here to point out that the Countess’ dress is great. The girls’ dresses are not bad. But what is that lady-in-waiting wearing? It’s a full-on Elizabethan gown, that’s what. And it’s probably a really nice frock … for the 1560s. Why are we all over the map with women’s wear in this show?


Elizabeth has her youngest sister, Catherine, married to the 11-year-old Duke of Buckingham. Buckingham apparently resented the hell out of being forced to marry so far beneath himself, but the marriage proved successful from the standpoint that they ultimately had four children together. Many years on down the road, of course.

The episode wraps up, fast-forwarding three years in the future, when Edward IV is captured by Warwick and Clarence in their attempt to depose him and reinstate Henry VI to the throne. Elizabeth vows vengeance on Edward’s treasonous cousin and brother after she learns that her father and brother have been summarily executed without charges laid against them. Overall, this episode was a little tough to follow with the time skipping ahead from 1465 to 1466 to 1469/1470. I get that they have to cram a lot of history into an hour, but it made events hard to keep track of.

As far as the costumes go, there were a lot of pretty good examples of 1460s fashion and a lot of examples where it’s clear we are not supposed to notice that there’s a 100-year difference between eras in a single scene. Sorry, it’s my job to notice these things. I give it a 4/10.

What did you think of episode two of The White Queen (2013)? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

14 Responses

  1. Scarlett45

    So as far as Starz historical dramas go, The White Queen was my favorite, I rewatched it several times. I think they reused costumes from other movies etc and that’s why!

    • M.E. Lawrence

      That’s Philippa Fucking Gregory, thank you! (No snark intended to you, Katie, although plenty to PFG.) Gosh, those are bad crowns. Although I kind of like the gold wedding dress, especially all the texture, however inaccurate. Now if only they had cast someone convincing to play England’s greatest warrior-king.

      • ED

        Well OF COURSE the Burgundian is dressed to impress – they more or less dictated High Fashion for the late medieval period, so their man in Westminster would probably be condemned to something suitably gruesome were he to let the side down (Even when the rest of France doesn’t seem to have shown up to offer some properly exacting scrutiny!).😄

        • Coco

          I’d like Margaret of York to get some small or big screen attention at some point. I know she’s a side character in ‘White Princess’ and also plays a supporting role in a French/German language series called ‘Maximilian and Marie de Bourgogne,’ a project focused on her would be great.

  2. Saraquill

    I’m a gemologist. I’d love to do an analysis of jewelry and/or gems used in frock flicks. The ones used in Elizabeth’s crown are so obviously costume gems it’s painful.

  3. Roxana

    Margaret Beaufort trying to get her son’s land and titles back from Clarence is factual and quite understandable. The numerous Woodwille daughters snatching up all the good matches in England caused a great deal of annoyance among aristocrats with eligible daughters. Not all grooms were as resentful as Buckingham, the girls were famously beautiful and a connection to the queen was not to be sneezed at.

  4. Ewa

    I am not a horse expert but to me these particular horses seem to be either pureblood arabian, or with very high percentage of arabian blood. Not very probable in late medieval England. I mean there was some import of oriental horses to England (crusades and all that jazz) but it was on a very small scale. The bridles on these horses look to my, again, unexpertly eye like they are fancy Baroque ones, few centuries to early. But, as I said, I am no expert, so I can be wrong.

  5. Senhorita F.

    I LOVED this series when it came out, and I got into historical fashion some time later, so I was kinda of expecting a lot worse for the costumes, it makes me kinda glad they are ok haha Richard’s costume in this episode always struck me as particularly good. Elizabeth always seemed well dressed to me, but the Neville sisters were wearing ALWAYS the same dresses to the point it got annoying, especially since Anne has a bigger role later. I’m curious about the crowns, what would be a good example of a crown from this period?


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