In what is becoming one of the longest-in-production sequels of all time, Philippa Gregory has posted yet another update on the Starz adaptation of her novel The White Princess.

It’s now official. A second series, The White Princess, has been green lit with Starz. Director to be announced in the coming weeks and we are working on the scripts now. I’ve been longing to tell you all.

Posted by Philippa Gregory on Sunday, 7 February 2016

Although Starz announced they wanted to work on a sequel almost immediately after the joint Starz/BBC production of The White Queen had aired, there has been two years of vague promises and little else. The BBC bowed out straight after White Queen, which was not nearly as well-received in the UK as in the US. There was also the matter of the BBC wanting to present The White Queen, and Starz wanting to present what the Daily Mail dubbed The Blue Queen. With only a small handful of sex scenes making it to the British version, the American version included plenty of frivolous nude scenes and ramped-up sex scenes. There was clearly little advantage for the BBC working with Starz. Despite a hefty budget (reports seem to range between £10-25 million) it has a distinctly low-budget air, not helped by the costuming, or the “12 guys in a forest” version of the Battle of Bosworth.

Starz has yet to make an official announcement on the project. Judging from the amount of people enthusiastically embracing the alleged incestuous relationship between Richard III and his niece Elizabeth of York portrayed in White Queen and White Princess, dreamily wishing for a return of Aneurin Barnard on Gregory’s Facebook page, let’s hope it stays stuck in development hell.

Update 10/02

Deadline has just confirmed that Starz has greenlit The White Princess. Emma Frost will return as showrunner and it will be a limited 8 episode series. According to the synopsis it charts the rise of the House of Tudor through the tortuous marriage between Princess Elizabeth of York and King Henry Tudor.”

Update the Second 11/02

BBC has announced they are not even going to air The White Princess, further distancing themselves from the project.


About The Author

Olga Hughes is currently pre-occupied with fairy tales, fantasy, misanthropy, medieval history and the long eighteenth century. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently majoring in Literature and History at Deakin. She has contributed to websites such as History behind Game of Thrones, The Anne Boleyn Files and The Tudor Society.

49 Responses

  1. Amazing

    I really think the only people who want this to happen are the people on Gregory’s facebook page. Everyone else internally groaned when they heard the news.
    Either way lets hope it’s in production hell.

      • Amazing

        Idk three years is a long time to be working on a “scripts” (Never heard of a show that’s had this happen to them) either way I think they’re gonna deviate from the original story. Plus a new actress for Elizabeth since, the girl who original played her is rather busy and not big name enough to hold her own Starz show.
        So if it’s a new actress, and they redo Henry and Elizabeth’s story (Like they did with Richard and Anne in TWQ) maybe it won’t be so bad. Bad but maybe not so bad. I mean quite recently Mrs. Gregory has been saying on her facebook page how happy Elizabeth and Henry were, unlike how she wrote them. Maybe it’s because they rewrote the scripts to reflect that.

      • Olga Hughes

        It’s common enough in movies, some of them get shelved for years. Then again she did say the tv series would be based on her ‘next three novels’ which would indicate they might have been waiting for those to be released, especially if she is going to be involved in the actual script-writing. But that seems really odd, jumping from EoY to Margaret Pole and then Kat Parr. It makes no sense.
        If I recall the book followed that route, that Henry and Elizabeth had a good marriage, but only after the rape. If they omitted that I could almost promise not to bag the show. Then we would only have to endure
        -Henry looking suspicious
        -Henry looking over his shoulder
        -Henry counting pennies
        -Henry looking suspicious again
        -Margaret Beaufort being batshit crazy
        -Margaret promises Elizabeth more firewood as a reward for being pregnant
        -Ominous shots of young Henry VIII foretelling the tyrant he will become. Maybe stroking a ferret (they already used rabbits in Wolf Hall)
        -Arthur looking peaky.

      • Amazing

        See movies yes, a sequel can take this long. But a Starz show, getting a second season usually happens while the show is still airing. I mean the only show which I can think of that took a long time to get a sequel like this was HBO’s Rome and even that had confirmation that a sequel was happening after a year.
        When she said her next three novels I thought she was talking about chronologically which would have meant TWP, TKC and TCP, but Elizabeth of York is only a minor character in the two other books, not at all comparable to how her Cousin War series overlapped.
        They were happy for all of 5 minutes before Henry started to get the hots for Catherine Gordon.
        My thoughts for the show would be it ends with Elizabeth’s death,and her watching as her husband lusts after Catherine of Aragon (Like in TCP) cause you know that went over so well with the viewers of TWQ am I right.

      • Olga Hughes

        You know I don’t remember Constant Princess at all, was Catherine Gordon in it? Technically she spent time with Henry after Elizabeth’s death. Katherine took some time recovering and getting back from Ludlow so I will hold out hope they might leave that out. I can’t even remember what Henry VII was like in it other than him giving her some jewellery.

      • Amazing

        Lol the Constant Princess has Henry VII trying to bang his daughter in law the moment his son dies. It doesn’t happen, but that’s Gregory’s reason for why Henry VII ends up being cruel to Catherine, she would cave to his sexual demands (Cause you know Gregory thinks he’s a rapist) and I don’t think Katherine Gordon was in it but we all know what happened in TWP (He forced Katherine into having sex with him to keep Perkin alive, more rape ya!)
        But yea Gregory’s Henry VII is a rapist to the very core.
        Given how messed TWQ was with accuracy with the lol moments like Elizabeth of York at Bosworth the night of the battle and was able to make it back to her mothers by morning and the snow at Bosworth field, and it being in a forest with like 5 guys. I don’t think Catherine of Aragon not actually being around alot post-Arthur’s death will be too much a big deal for Gregory and Frost.
        I’m telling I’m expecting a redo of the Anne Neville storyline (Maybe if we’re lucky will have Henry and Elizabeth actually get a few nice scenes togethers and no rape) with Elizabeth sitting around moping about how she hates being Queen, how she shouldn’t have wished for it, and watch as her husband either falls for Katherine Gordon, or Catherine of Aragon. I’m thinking they’ll do both, making Katherine the mistress like Jane Shore, then put in Catherine of Aragon as the star of the court who’s stealing Henry VII away from Elizabeth right under her nose. Maybe they’ll even redo the Christmas dance scene stuff like with Anne.
        It’s Gregory’s only plot idea.

    • merlene

      I happen to excited that it will be coming out. since it is only a movie and not one based on actual history I chalk it up to Hollywood folly. it was actually a good series if you compare it to some of the stupid crap that is already out there. looking forward to seeing it.

  2. youffie

    it will be a disaster. Henry and Elizabeth are known for their good and supportive marriage (in TWP, they never found love or trust each other) so yeah… we are doomed to endure this.
    it is very sad to think that it will be the first depiction (The Shadow of The Tower is too old to be taken in consideration) of Henry VII’s reign & character by a mainstream media, and it will be written by Philippa Gregor *ugh* poor Henry & Margaret Beaufort.

    • Olga Hughes

      I don’t think the commercial media is ever going to ‘accept’ Henry, they’ve been depicting Francis Bacon’s ‘dark prince’ for too long.

      • Jo

        No offense, but I doubt that US media, or even non british media, know who Henry VII was, they could show him in any way, they are going to take at face value.

      • Olga Hughes

        That’s true Jo, he is always overshadowed by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Considering his son is generally known as a tyrant people would accept this version of him easily enough.

      • Jo

        The worst is that many people will cheer for Richard – Perkin, as he should be the “good guy” of history and oopps SPOILER,

        he loses and and is killed,

        bitch please! is history, already happened. At least, will be only 8 episodes.

      • Nerdy

        To be fair, I think commercial media is unlikely to “accept” him mostly because he is not “commercial” King, in other words he is unlikely to generate much profit in the eyes of the media. Now Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are cash cows and established brands, not to mention Elizabeth I is pretty much a feminist icon. You simply can’t compete with that. And from another side, there is Richard III, the great villain of English history.

  3. Nerdy

    If they are adapting 3 books like Constant Princess and King’s Curse into series with giving attention to Catherine of Aragorn and Margaret Pole than I could understand why it took them so long to adapt it all, cause it is again about three different women but with even longer timelines than in TWQ.

    • Olga Hughes

      Yes I had completely forgotten about Constant Princess. I am now not 100% sure how they’re going to fit it all in 8 episodes though, I thought they would give it a longer season being an American production. But if they were doing King’s Curse they would be starting well before Henry VIII was born and to take him into middle age in just eight episodes?

      • Nerdy

        Dunno. Maybe they will try to rush things or they will use only part of Margaret Pole’s story in combination with Catherine of Aragon’s and end up on the times when Anne Boleyn appeared on stage. They obviously would have to use TCP cause TWP by its own is not enough even for 8 episodes.

      • Amazing

        I don’t think they are, I thought this too at first but they’ve said they’re gonna be making only eight episode. And in the newest article all they mentioned was Elizabeth of York and her story. I think if they’re were going “Were doing Margaret Pole but adding in some of TWP” they would have made that clearer, plus I don’t think the title would TWP if that was the case. The announcement made it seem like it was Perkin who was gonna be the focus, not Henry VIII or Margaret Pole. I think maybe they’ll add in some of TCP stuff at the end (I’m assuming they’ll end with Elizabeth’s death)
        To be completely honest, if Starz wanted a huge audience they would have adapted TKC, which probably would have brought in more viewer ship. Henry VIII is always way more popular then Henry VII is and granted how badly the small number of Henry VII fans responded to Gregory’s work I doubt anyone other then her hardcore fanbase will be too interested in it. Whereas TKC could have been quite more intriguing to some people, since they could play up the idea of a Yorkist Princess in the court of Henry VIII.

      • Olga Hughes

        They actually got a huge audience for White Queen, I am sure if this one does well they’ll keep going. Haven’t they made four hundred episodes of Reign already?

      • Amazing

        Yes but remember TWQ aired right after/during the finding of Richard III’s body which led to alot of interest in the moment about Richard’s life. (I find there alot more that watched for him not Elizabeth Woodville). I just don’t think there will be a big audience for TWP, half the Gregory facebook comments are begging for Aneurin to return as Richard. Even though he died at the end of the TWQ.

      • Amazing

        Yes but remember TWQ aired right after/during the finding of Richard III’s body which led to alot of interest in the moment about Richard’s life. (I find there alot more that watched for him not Elizabeth Woodville). I just don’t think there will be a big audience for TWP, half the Gregory facebook comments are begging for Aneurin to return as Richard. Even though he died at the end of the TWQ.

      • Nerdy

        @Amazing, then perhaps they’ll go down with “We’re doing TWP but adding in some of TCP and TKC” up to the moment when Elizabeth dies and both Catherine and Margaret will be there, but with not very huge roles.
        A for TKC I agree with Olga, considering Starz’s approach, they could make series based on TKC then if TWP does ok more or less, continuing Margaret’s story.
        As for why people watched TWQ and how much finding of Richard III’s body contributed to it I honestly don’t know, the promotion around TWQ it seems was mainly based on how it was the story of three different women, waging wars, with pictures of Elizabeth Woodville holding sword or something along the lines.
        As for return of actor who played Richard and who was killed in TWQ, I can’t imagine possibility of return, but that’s the show which had magic and curses, and that’s Starz so I don’t know.

  4. Jo

    I’m resigned, I could not help but laugh at poor Henry counting pennies and looking suspicious., which shows my level of resignation. In spite of all the assassination of Henry and Margaret character, can not forget the own Elizabeth:
    Elizabeth dreaming of having sex with her “dreamy” uncle.
    Elizabeth saying how the York are perfect and superior.
    Elizabeth looking at the top of his moral at Henry and Margaret.
    Elizabeth saying “I don’t know” at least ten times per episode.
    Elizabeth despising his own son Harry, who by all accounts she loved and possibly was his favorite. It is able to make Elizabeth wishing that he had died instead of Arthur.
    Baby Harry with horns and tail, literally.
    Elizabeth wishing Arthur was his incest baby.

    • Olga Hughes

      Oh I forgot about superior York 🙂 I suspect we will see her mooning about Richard for the first episode, for sure, and wishing Arthur was his baby. Yuck.

      • Mrs Eyre

        Henry sulking
        Henry unable to speak Latin
        Henry sulking
        Henry having a tantrum
        Henry being a classless crybaby
        Henry sulking about “the boy”.
        Rape, rape and more rape.
        Me being sick into a bucket.

  5. Liz

    UGH I hope not. Jo all of that is so true, I hated this book so much. Besides all of Olga and Jo’s examples, I also hate how the book portrays Henry as an unfaithful husband when he was known for his good behavior and fidelity to his queen-an ambassador even commented in 1498 how “he lives a good life” and he was said to have “faithful love” for his Queen. He was a medievil King and ruthless as they had to be but he was also a good man in many ways and there was no need for PG to take such an absolute sledgehammer to him-even his son came off better in other books by her! Besides the book’s disgusting rape of a princess he was to marry, it really disturbed me how Henry was portayed as sexually harassing and ultimately forcing Perkin’s wife to sleep with him. It was so gross. I’m really still hoping this stays in what was awesomely called “development hell”

    • Olga Hughes

      That’s another one I had forgotten about, it was horrible wasn’t it? But as I have said before, she’s not even the first author to portray Henry this way. I have not read many Ricardian fiction novels but I saw one being discussed (can’t remember the name) where Henry did the same thing, forced her to sleep with him before they were married so he could ‘test if she was a virgin’ or something ridiculous.

      • Liz

        Yeah there were several like that..he tests her fertility, her virginity, etc. Disgusting isn’t ir? Arthur’s early birth is just another way for them to malign henry in their novels.

      • Mrs Eyre

        What if she hadn’t obligingly got pregnant so quickly? Would he have worked his way through her sisters until one got up the duff?

      • Amazing

        Apparently that’s what Philippa Gregory thinks. I mean in her book she has Elizabeth of York sleeping with Richard III for like 18 months and no pregnancy scare at all is mentioned, yet Henry VII rapes her few times and she’s pregnant all of a sudden. Her books hold no logic at all, and 18 months no mention of contraception and no pregnancy scare. You would think Henry VII would already be thinking this girl isn’t fertile since she hasn’t gotten pregnant yet.

      • Olga Hughes

        There is a novel about Elizabeth’s younger sister Cecily sleeping with both Richard III and Henry VII apparently.
        They must have been tired seducing and abducting all those women between all the plotting.

      • Amazing

        I’ve heard about that one. That one is beyond hilarious. I mean when look at the personal lives of Richard III and Henry VII they both seem like beyond boring, Richard had two children prior to his marriage, but we never know who the mothers are and after he’s married he’s like this straight laced dude, and Henry who the hell knows with him. He may have had an illegitimate son, but some historians aren’t even sure about that.
        I just don’t get why these two clearly committed to there wives men get around so much in fiction.

  6. myrna smith

    For goodness’ sake, we don’t have to endure anything. Just don’t watch it – if it is ever produced. I didn’t watch White Queen, mainly because it was pay-per-view, and I was too poor/too thrifty (pick one) at the time.

    • Nerdy

      Well, you have a point. The easiest way to escape something you don’t like is to ignore it.

  7. Olga Hughes

    Starz has finally made the announcement, it’s confirmed, but just for 8 episodes. So I’m not sure how many books it is going to cover.

    • Amazing

      They still haven’t given any actors or a set date yet. This could easily be tied up in pre-production. There are plenty of shows that this happens too.

  8. Liz

    “tortuous marriage”???? Pllleasee show me the evidence that it was, I am curious. I can think of very few to no historians who would agree with this. This cannot be the case unless you want to ignore all contemporary documents. I can’t believe this distortion of history, it’s all such delusion!!

    • Karen

      You are asking the wrong people, TV series like “TWQ” or “The Tudors” are not about historical evidence anymore, they are about easy entertainment and being flashy.

      • Amazing

        Yea but you have responsibility to at least be truthful as you can be. You know it would be like the Tudors not making Anne Boleyn and Henry VII’s marriage dissolve.
        Historically fiction is a mix between the author being as truthful as they can be and being entertaining. Gregory didn’t need to make Henry VII a rapist who hated his wife. There is no reason to make the couple so far removed from who they actually were.
        If she wants to do something like that, then she write purely fiction like GRRM and say she was inspired by this era, nobody would have problem with her then.

      • Karen

        That’s already irrelevant, because such TV shows pretty much throw this to be truthful at least as you can be thing out of the window when they like to, it’s obviously not their top priority, they aim for different things . We can all talk how it should be in the ideal world, but then this is reality we have. We may hate this reality, but it doesn’t change the fact that it still exists as it is.

        In the ideal world historical fiction is indeed a mix between the author being as truthful as they can be and being entertaining, in reality it sadly doesn’t always turn out to be like this. There are many reasons for fictional authors not to do different things the way they do in their books, including Gregory and her absurd choices, but they still do. The answer to it should be other authors producing good historical fiction. That’s the only reasonable way.

  9. Pam

    It’ll be boring af I’m sure.

    It makes me wonder though, since there are some people who have a bit of masochistic weird obsession with Gregory. They don’t like her which is fine, but at the same time they constantly talk about her, follow her on twitter or facebook, over-analyse her every post or interview, they don’t like her books which is also fine but then they reread them for some reasons, they don’t like TWQ series for its obvious glaring inaccuracies, but then they still rewatch it repeatedly. It’s funny, because of that they make Gregory seem more important than she actually is.

    I won’t be surprised that such people will be watching this TV series as well if it’s indeed ever made, masochisticly twitching at the same time.

    • Amazing

      I’ll stop talking about her when she stops claiming her work is 100% accurate. Those are Gregory’s words not mine.
      And these are my favorite historical figures, they are no other visual representation of them on screen (Expect a 1970s outdated series) so clearly people who like these figures are going to be interested in a series that claims to be about them. We want a show about them, that tells there story as truthfully as possible.
      And don’t you sound just as fucking obsessed with people who hate Gregory, how do you know they stalk her accounts? Little bit of the pot calling the kettle black right.

  10. Pam

    Perhaps I need to elborate and write a long post.
    By saying that you would stop talking about her when she stops claiming her works are that and this, you mean that you are actually one of those obsessed people I was talking above? Interesting. As for Gregory, again that’s what I was saying, you make her, what she says and what she does far more important and meaningful than it actually is. She obviously talks often, probably she likes attention and apparantely she says all kinds of things , from being 100% accurate in her works to being not exactly historical and doing her own take on the events. She is obviously not Methuselah, so taking her that serious is a bit too much in my opinion. You seem too overly invested in her though and that’s quite peculiar since you dislike her that much, meaning you’re constanly brewing in very strong negative emotions.
    1970s series is still visual representation of those historical figures , outdated or not, frankly speaking some historical figures don’t have even that. Let’s be honest here.
    Surely you can’t seriously blame Gregory or anybody else for that matter, that your favourite historical figures didn’t get much representation in media or that media choses Gregory’s take on some historical figures to represent them.
    For me it’s a big mystery why they adapt Gregory’s works tbh, I would wish otherwise, but here it’s not her fault at least.

    I understand that people who like these figures are going to be interested in series about them, that’s natural, but if those very people know at the same time that it’s sequel to TWQ, that it is Gregory’s and they dislike all of these factors already, than it means they can easily escape watching TWP as they were duly warned in advance. Problem is solved.
    I understand what you mean, but with this sequel it’s already obvious that you won’t get a show about your favs, that tells their story as truthfully as possible because it deals with weird magic, family curse, and clearcut verdict on who did in the Princes, not to mention many, many other things.

    I know that those obsessed people stalk her accounts because they post or brag about it themselves and then tag it with Gregory’s name or the name of her books, or it comes up with the name of some historical figures, so that’s how I found about it. I suspect, even crazier stuff is going on with them, but at least they don’t tag it and hide it better.

    • Underdogge

      Pam, I don’t know where you are based but in the UK there was a certain amount of Mrs Gregory turning up on TV shows a lot as a bona fide historian and I think it got up some folks’ noses that she touted herself as the real deal which is why she comes in for a certain amount of flack. Well, I believe her first degree was history so if one considers a historian as a person who has studied history maybe she does not so much lie about her status as fudge the actuality (and I will concede that there would be a certain amount of crossover between history and her Masters subject of 18th-century literature). Life is short and I don’t spend my life “trolling” Mrs G – though I will admit I had a great laugh at the time TWQ was on TV in 2013 reading a thread on a different website with links to critics who had pointed out some of the bloopers (Elizabeth Woodville’s dress having a zip fastener – that sort of thing, though I don’t think even Mrs G ever said Plantagenet ladies had zips in their frocks!).

      I tried to watch TWQ and thought much of it did not ring true so stopped watching and I tried to read one PG book and again stopped as it wasn’t my cuppa. If people write stuff which is phoney they must know they run the risk of being called out on it though. I certainly will not watch this show. Mrs Gregory seems to be a writer whose work really irritates folk or whose work really appeals to them (though I guess those who have no opinion either way just stay silent).

      She may be a nice lady in real life – I have no idea as I’ve never met her but having had to visit my dentist for a filling earlier this week I’m glad that stronger rules for accuracy are applied to dentists than to (some) historical novelists.

      • Pam

        Underdogge, trust me I think it is perfectly fine when people don’t like Gregory or her works or as you said the fact that those TV shows invite her as some kind of bona fide top rate historian. LOL at that. I don’t get why those shows or documentaries invite fictional writers and give them such platforms and encourage them, probably for PR. It goes for Gregory, for Hilary Mantel, for anyone, btw and those writers being nice people or not is not even the point. I wish they didn’t invite fictional writers at all as it seems the creators of such shows and documentaries try to “sell history” better to the public that way, and choose the cheapest way.
        But there is a big difference between not liking something, calling it out, criticize it and the obsessive, fixated and repeated trolling and over involvement with something that you obviously dislike. I’m talking about the later.
        As you say yourself, you watched, you read, you didn’t like it, you laughed at the stupid moments and you moved on, you won’t be returning to it over and over again, talking about it to death and you won’t watch the sequel,and these are perfectly normal and rational actions. Also indeed lol at those costumes, they were so not historically accurate and cheap. Zipped Plantagenets. TWQ is indeed very funny at times, like all this Harry Potter magic! But that’s also another reason why I think some of those obsessive people are really being obsessive, cause how can you really treat seriously a show or be surprised why the sequel is not historically accurate as well, when they practice witchcraft and all that water goddess BS in it.

        Glad to hear about your dentist, nice comparison, but as you understand since he is dealing with a living breathing person right here and now, in case he or she screws up, the liabiity for him or her would be harsher as per law, while there is no legislation and penalties for historical novelists. Maybe there will be someday and we’ll be able to put all bad historical novelists on trial or something like that, but until then the rules would be indeed different.

  11. Esther

    Kudos to the BBC for distancing themselves from this. Seriously, Madame Gregory routinely makes accusations without any evidence — not only is there nothing to show that Henry VII was a rapist, there is also no evidence supporting her accusation that Elizabeth I had Amy Robsart Dudley murdered (“The Virgin’s Lover”), not to mention the absence of any evidence supporting her view of Anne Boleyn (Warnicke, who Gregory claims supports her theory has denounces Gregory’s book).

    • Plus Heureuse

      BBC bolted long ago cause TWQ was a flop. TWP’s budget would be probably even less.
      As for Anne Boleyn Retha Warnicke was indeed the first and I think only historian who said that Anne Boleyn did it with her brother. Gregory took it from Warnicke’s studies on Anne.

    • Olga Hughes

      Warnicke may have denounced Gregory’s book but her last book Wicked Tudor Women repeated the same dubious theory that George Boleyn was sleeping with Mark Smeaton because he gave him a book.