It looks like Philippa Gregory is finally getting her wish for a sequel to The White Queen, only this time the BBC won’t be on board to keep it tasteful. BBC declined to get involved in a sequel, despite pressure from their White Queen partner American production company Starz. Now after two years Starz has finally commenced pre-production on the sequel, which, according to Gregory, will be based on the next three books in Gregory’s Cousins War series. Only two books follow The Kingmaker’s Daughter so it is unclear if they will move on to her Tudor Court series, as another book in that series is to be published shortly.

Starz shot additional scenes during filming of The White Queen so the American version could have extended sex scenes and nudity which did not feature in the BBC adaptation. A spokesman for the BBC said that two versions were created to “meet the broadcasters’ differing requirements”.

The next series will start from The White Princess, which begins Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s relationship with a false account of marital rape. Henry Tudor, now Henry VII after his victory at Bosworth, rapes his bride-to-be by forcing her to straddle him while he is seated, while guests are dining in the next room. Henry insists Elizabeth fall pregnant before he marries her, and has sex with Elizabeth against her will repeatedly with the alleged complicity of her mother Elizabeth Wydeville and the alleged encouragement of Margaret Beaufort. Around the time of publication of The White Queen, Gregory announced she was a Ricardian (an admirer/fan of King Richard III) and she has followed the same vein as other various Ricardian authors, with the unfounded claim that Elizabeth of York was in love with her uncle Richard and that Henry VII was an abusive husband. Viewers will hopefully be spared the incestuous sex scenes that may have followed last season if Starz was responsible for the whole production, unless we hear that Aneurin Barnard is involved again.

Gregory told Radio Times that some actors will be returning to reprise their roles, and although Aneurin’s character Richard III died at the end of last season we can’t rule out flashbacks. The White Princess features Elizabeth of York pining for her supposed lover Richard for the first few chapters of the book. Amanda Hale will probably be back playing her completely insane and outrageously sexist version of Margaret Beaufort. Margaret has some extraordinarily silly scenes in The White Princess, including one where she promises her daughter-in-law, the Queen of England, more firewood as reward for being pregnant.

American television shows typically have many more episodes than British ones, in fact The White Queen was very long at ten episodes for a mini-series for the BBC. Starz other “historical” young adult drama Reign gets 22 episodes per season. Considering the last book in the Cousins War series The King’s Curse covers Margaret Pole’s whole lifetime Starz may make an extra-long season.

If you’d like to brush up on the real Elizabeth of York before this travesty of justice hits the small screen you can check out the articles below:

Elizabeth of York and Her Kings – Henry VII

Elizabeth of York and Her Kings : Richard III

The Red Rose and the White: Elizabeth of York with Arlene Okerlund




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.

36 Responses

  1. Amazing

    Calling Philippa Gregory a “Ricardian” does a great disservice to what a Ricardian truly is. A person who believes Richard III name is in of restoration. These fiction writers who believe in the “Buck Letter” aren’t going at all on what we know about Richard, and even what we know historically about Richard.
    Gregory understands nothing, absolutely nothing about who Richard was as a person. Richard was horrified about the rumors he was going to marry her alone. He denied them, Kings don’t deny rumors, I’m sorry. No medieval monarch denied rumors. It was a politically nightmare to do so, plus Kings were above it by them being divine beings.
    And as for him having an affair on his wife, Richard spoke out against “immorality”, “open adultery” and wanted a “moral court” the idea that he would have been ok with cheating on his wife doesn’t make sense when we look at his character.
    Plus Richard was still sleeping in the bed of his wife up until January of 1485, at the very least for the majority of the time. So this whole “affair” doesn’t make much sense.
    And as for the Buck Letter, there is no evidence at all that this letter existed. What we have today is a filled in version by someone who didn’t even see the letter. Even if you believe the letter to be truth all we have are a few lines which George Buck could have misinterpreted. It easily could have been about the marriages to Portugal. Elizabeth might have wanted Richard to have arranged Portuguese rather then a Spanish one. The Portuguese was the only one who was offering a match for Elizabeth as well.
    We then have the fact the Buck Letter, even if it did exist, proves Elizabeth and Richard weren’t that close. Why would Elizabeth need to write to John Howard, one of Richard’s closest advisors, if she was having all this incestuous sex. Couldn’t she have just spoken to Richard if she was on this good of terms with him.
    What we know historically is Richard had a seemly happy marriage with Anne Neville, was very upset when she died, and began planning a match to Portugal soon after. This is the facts of the case.
    What we know about Elizabeth is she becomes happy quite easily with Henry VII after Bosworth. Which indicates to me she didn’t really care about Richard. She probably didn’t hate him, but I doubt she was in love with him. Lets remember all that Richard did to her and her family, I even like Richard but I understand that Elizabeth would have had cause for compliant against him.
    That being said, I still don’t think the “White Princess” will happen, one the actors are (I think all but Henry VII) are booked up for this year, meaning the closest filming date would be in mid to late 2016, meaning closest release date is in late 2016 to anytime in 2017. This would be 4 to 3 years since the release of the TWQ, leading to very little audience from that remaining. It just doesn’t take this long to get a sequel or a second season.
    Plus if were going with a 2017/2018 (It having a seconding season)release date were gonna have to remember that the finale seasons of Game of Thrones will be airing. Starz is gonna need something big in order to draw viewers from that. Lets be honest they only picked up TWQ to began with to compete with Game of Thrones and it didn’t work. People saw TWQ and thought “This is game of thrones, with lower production and without dragons” and they switched the station back to GOT. So I doubt they’ll retry this.
    Starz just canned Da Vinci’s Demons, which was suppose to compete with, GOT and are looking for something for 2017/2018. I really think that’s what going on right now. TWP is on the table because of that, but I have serious doubts it will be what Starz actually does for 2017/2018. If they do they’ll be foolish.
    I think though they might cut out the rape, given all the trouble GOT went through this year. Or at the very least they’ll tone it down. I really can’t see though the guy who played Henry VII from TWQ being the Henry from TWP. He isn’t menacing looking at all. He doesn’t have what the actor of Ramsay Bolton has. So I think a recasting for him is definitely in store.
    I would be shocked in Aneurin was in it, given how much negative press was seen over the said incest scene alone (The BBC didn’t even put it in, cause they knew better) . I think if there gonna do this, it will be toned down, if there smart at least. They’ll forget about the “incest scenes” and just play it that Elizabeth was in love with Richard, nothing happening and have Henry just be cold, not cruel.
    I think that would be the only saving for it.
    That being said I still don’t think it will do good.
    It’s a shame, but I’m just gonna go back and rewatch the Shadow in the Tower and pretend the BBC is remaking that and go and read my historically accurate fan fiction, cause that’s apparently the only place people can write kindly towards Henry and Elizabeth.

    • Dale

      (Amazing) I totally agree, a great post. I don’t understand how PG can be called a Ricardian by the way!

    • Olga Hughes

      If they did cut the rape out it would be a more acceptable story – but I can’t see them doing that. It is used as a plot device all too often.

      You know I never saw the Starz version of White Queen, they had a kissing scene between Elizabeth and Richard in the BBC version but nothing more. I had no idea they went that far (and yuck)

      Iwan Rheon is very funny in “Vicious” by the way, he is a bit demented but not a psychopath.

      • Amazing

        All I have to say on the Scene that shall not be named, is it took away from Bosworth. I literally wanted to kill Richard myself after watching that scene. It was down right horrible, took away all of the emotional impact of Richard’s death.
        Plus it wasn’t even a “love scene” the guy who played Richard looked like he wanted to kill himself and it was just too forced.

    • Vicki Hittson

      I’m a Ricardian. I’m also a multiple 1st cousin 14 generations removed of Richard III. I read about 3 pages of Gregory’s “The White Queen” and through the book in the bin. I find the series tasteless and lacking true history. I won’t be watching the sequel. Find a real author, not a fiction writer for such a series. And throw out your sex scenes. If it takes sex and fiction to sell history I pity our next generations. BTW, I am not a prude. Just pick up a real history book to make your movies.

      • Amy Peterson

        You mean a real historian? Real authors do write fiction, and actually real historians often do the same when filling in information that we don’t possess, though they call it speculating. The series (even without the sex) is not meant to be historical fact any more than Starz was even remotely trying to capture the essence of the person that was Spartacus when making the series, or Shakespeare was trying to capture the actual personalities and factual histories in any of his plays about monarchs (he usually edited the characters to fit Elizabeth I’s expectations according to several historians). If you don’t like the series, the author, or historical fictions is it making disparaging comments that you do enjoy? I can’t think of one other reason for your post.

      • Olga Hughes

        ‘Starz’ did not write The White Queen (and actually BBC produced it), Philippa Gregory wrote it. Gregory not only calls herself a historian, she also alleges that much of her work is accurate, and the series is meant to have plenty of historical facts in it.
        And why should Shakespeare escape censure? He’s responsible for the spreading of more old wives tales than anyone else in history.

      • Amy Peterson

        Please cite a source for Philippa Gregory saying that , her website says she writes “novels”, that word alone indicates a work of fiction. Why would you respond to a question addressed to another person? Did I state that starz wrote anything, or make a series comparison to a second series that aired on Starz? The question still stands that if you don’t like the series and don’t like the author (who by the way has no obligation to answer to you at all) why are you reading articles about and making comments to something you acknowledgedly don’t like (unless it is strictly a format to brag about who is whose great great 50 times removed relative which really belongs on an ancestry forum)

      • Olga Hughes

        It’s my website and I write the majority of the articles, including this one Amy, I will comment where I please. And for that matter readers can comment where they like without being directly addressed first, no one requires your permission to comment.

        Furthermore Philippa Gregory’s website biography describes her as an ‘established historian’ prior to her writing novels, she has studied history and has a doctorate in Lit and she has appeared as a guest historian on various documentaries. No one is demanding she ‘answer’ anything, nor does that exclude anyone from sharing their opinions.

  2. Liz

    Great post, that sums up my feelings on this exactly. I am so disgusted that this awful book may be made into a series and that the beautiful relationship that Henry and Elizabeth were able to build will be destroyed with rape, emotional abuse and adultery. I actually don’t know what Gregory was thinking with this but she clearly loves the “pairing” of Richard III and Elizabeth and thinks that completely changing the historical Henry into a sociopath will make people root for them as a couple (even though there is no good evidence for them being a couple). Gregory did a recent Q and A on goodreads and her comments as to this marriage were a bit disturbing as she flat out lied to promote her agenda. I can’t understand why anyone would hate a historical pairing so much. I hope this doesn’t happen.
    Your articles are great!

  3. Liz

    I also can’t understand why Ricardian novels always have to take the POV that Henry was abusive and that Elizabeth pined after Richard for the rest of her life. Ridiculous and regardless of how she felt about her uncle, she clearly was devoted to Henry. It really bugs me. And don’t get me started on said books’ sexist attacks on Margaret Beaufort. SMH.

    • Olga Hughes

      I think the ‘pining Elizabeth’ business is probably based on the whole idea that she had an unrequited crush on Richard really. And I think that Sunne in Splendour has been influential there – although there is a bit of a ‘silly girl’ angle some historians take. As if it was Elizabeth’s fault for allegedly flirting with her uncle.

  4. youffie

    i agree with every word you wrote. PG hates Henry (because as you pointed it, she is a Ricardian) and so, she ruins his character just for the hell of it… i really hope that STARZ will open their eyes and refuse the script/project. as long as there is nothing official from STARZ, i still have small hope

    • Amazing

      I don’t think PG’s a real “Ricardian” you can be a Ricardian and not hate Henry VII.
      Plus PG doesn’t even understand anything about Richard. So she’s about as much of a “Ricardian” as she is a “Historian”

    • Olga Hughes

      I am not sure she would announce it now if it hadn’t gone ahead, there have been rumours about it since White Queen ended. Starz always said they wanted to make the sequel.

      • Amazing

        They’ve been saying for years though they are “working on the scripts”
        I’m still not buying it until Starz says something.
        Right now Starz cut Da Vinci’s Demons and is needing something for 2017/2018 to compete with GOT (Which is what Da Vinci’s Demons and TWQ were suppose to do). There gonna need something big to compete with the finale season of that TV show, and I just highly doubt there gonna go with the TWP. If they do there fools. TWP won’t draw away from GOT viewers.
        I think Starz is looking at there options for 2017/2018 and TWP is on the table but I doubt it will make the finale cut.
        It does not take 3 to 4 years to make a sequel to a TV show. Not one that did as poorly as the TWQ did originally. The only person who would draw viewers in would be Rebecca and she wouldn’t be in it enough to make people enjoy it.
        TWP would also have to compete with Wolf Hall (Which is a bit better) and Shameless from Showtime. It just wouldn’t make Starz alot of money.
        I could see them doing The Kings Curse though, that is Henry VIII and he’s a hot topic.
        So until we hear something from Starz I would say don’t worry about it too much.

      • Olga Hughes

        The White Queen did not do poorly for Starz, and it was so well received in America it received three Golden Globe nominations.

      • Amazing

        Those nominations were mainly bought by Starz and nearly everyone knows that. (The industry is much more corrupt then people realize) And it didn’t make Starz alot of money, nor did it have good ratings. Decent ratings but compared to Game of Thrones, it didn’t do nearly as good. (Nothing can do good compared to that show, though so it might not be there fault). It also didn’t receive nearly as many good reviews GOT does and it’s production team was noted for alot mistakes. TWQ was purchased by Starz to compete with Game of Thrones, which it failed to do, they then picked up Da Vinci’s Demons, to compete with it, and it failed to do so. If TWQ had been able to compete with GOT, they would have had the second season right away. So while Starz has always said they would want something they haven’t been pushing for it and picked something up as soon as they were done with it too replace it. That isn’t a good sign in the industry.
        I just have a hard to believing Starz would invest money in something they know won’t take viewers away from GOT. This is what Starz and Showtime have been trying to do since 2012, and they’ve been failing miserable at it. Especially Starz, the only good program Starz has picked up since is Outlander and that can barely keep up with GOT ratings.
        So I still say until we hear a Starz official say something this is still up in the air. Both Emma Frost and Gregory have been saying they been working on the script for two years now. It does not take that long to write a script. If it was really in demand for Starz they would be pushing for it to be complete by now, the fact that haven’t shows it isn’t something Starz is begging for them to finish.
        It could be that Starz is desperate right now and wants something to compete with GOT, but I’ve been expecting them to line something up ever since they cut Da Vinci’s Demons. I think they’re just keeping there options open.
        Either way due to actors schedules we wouldn’t be seeing this project come to screen till at the very least 2017. (They have the finale season of Da Vinci’s Demons for 2016). We’re talking about the finale seasons of GOT, when Starz is gonna be desperate to draw viewers from that show. I just don’t see TWP realistic being able to do that and I’m pretty sure Starz will see that as well.
        If Starz wanted a second season for the TWQ they would have done so right away, not picked up two other historical dramas.

  5. Underdogge

    I seem to remember seeing a play written by Rosemary Anne Sisson about the marriage of Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor which was at least believable (this would be decades ago) but I have just looked her up on Wikipedia and can’t any mention of the said piece although Ms Sisson apparently wrote the Catherine of Aragon episode of the 1970s series “The Sixth Wives of Henry VIII” (and although he was Australian Keith Michell made a formidable Henry). I enjoyed Ms Sisson’s work even if the details have blurred somewhat over the years. Somehow I just can’t warm to Mrs G’s writing – it’s not just the fact she is often less than historically correct. I enjoy the film with Charles Lawton from 1933 (even before my time) “The Private Life of Henry VIII” but I don’t take it as a true account. At least I can have a laugh at that. Slightly off topic, though somebody above alluded to many of the actors being busy, Rebecca Ferguson (TWQ herself) has quite a substantial part in the latest “Mission Impossible” so it’s possible she may be making a habit of making big movies soon – so would she be available for the “Queen Mum” role?

  6. Liz

    Would you be referring to “Shadow of the Tower?” It was a miniseries on the reign of Henry VII and quite a good depiction of it as well as their marriage. it is quite realistic (unlikely anything by PG). It is performed like a play and believe said writer was involved.

    • Underdogge

      Might well be, Liz. As well as sexist attacks on Margaret Beaufort I’m not to fond of the “nutty as a fruitcake” depictions of her.

      • Underdogge

        Should have clarified in my previous post that it’s some “Ricardians” (I would never blithely state that all Ricardians are thus inclined) showing Margaret B as having bats in the belfry that gets my goat.

    • Olga Hughes

      Thanks for the tip guys, I haven’t seen that yet.

  7. Esther

    Most Ricardians that I am familiar with take their history seriously. That Ms. Gregory calls herself a “Ricardian” doesn’t make the statement true; after all, she calls herself a “historian”. IMO, she wouldn’t know historical truth if it slapped her in the face.

    • Amazing

      Slow Clapping this, calling her a Ricardian is utterly ridiculous.

      • Myrna Smith

        My chief complaint against P. Gregory is that she is not even consistent on her own terms. In White Princess (the book) Henry “falls in love for the first time” at least three different times – two of them with Elizabeth! At one point in the book, Elizabeth tells Margaret Beaufort that she did not love her son, and thus he is incapable of love. Yet in the same paragraph she admits that Henry was loved by, and loved, his foster mother, Anne Herbert. Attention span of a goldfish!

      • Amazing

        @myrna Smith
        Really, god it’s been forever since I read that book. But he falls in love with Elizabeth? I remember them having like one happy scene and then bam he’s back to calling her a yorkist bitch and threatening to send her to a convent.
        But yea the inconsistencies are all over the place in her book.
        I’ll give you one that will make you laugh, she makes Margaret Beaufort Cecily of York’s godmother, and has Cecily’s birth be after Margaret’s marriage to Stanley. Cecily was born in 1469 and Margaret was married to Stanley in 1472… It’s so funny I nearly choked myself while reading.

  8. Liz

    Myrna-Gregory is completely inconsistent in her writings!
    And yeah, a few times he is “in love for the first time” with Elizabeth and he’s also referred to as having only loved a Breton mistress, then he’s later “in love for the first time” with one of her ladies in waiting. Hahaha so ridiculus.

    • Myrna Smith

      You know, I actually re-read, or re-skimmed, White Princess, when deciding whether to take it to our new place (wound up donating it to a library), and I missed some howlers even then. To be fair to Ms. Gregory, she does depict Henry as having some gentler emotions, though claiming he doesn’t. He is, for example, grief-stricken and a bit remorseful over the death of his toddler daughter Elizabeth.
      And also, to be fair, it’s difficult for a novelist, or an historian, to get a handle on Henry, he’s so contradictory. How do the accountant and the gambler live in the same skin? That’s what makes him so fascinating, to me.

  9. Charlotte

    I’m honestly very insecure about calling myself a “Ricardian” even though I really like Richard III and find him fascinating, because I simply come across people who claim to be and have very messed up ideas in their head. How does regarding Richard and Elizabeth as an acceptable union do any favors to him? To be honest it makes him look perverted. I don’t understand Gregory’s claim that she’s a Ricardian either, she basically murders him in her book like “oh he did not kill the princes but he was screwing his niece while his wife was dying. What a great man!” Ugh and he’s not even politically astute, he’s just “there” and the only strategy he thinks of is the supposed “I’m using Elizabeth to gain York’s support” What is up with that? That’s the most idiotic thing ever and I think it’s only a cheap excuse to Anne so he can sleep with his niece because he’s just that creepy and messed up. Philippa Gregory not only does him an injustice, she does every one of these characters an injustice and I don’t mean in the fictional sense because I know that all authors in this genre take artistic liberties, but to claim that it is accurate? No way. I hope Starz gives her a big “NO”, it’s obvious that the show got a lot of crap in the UK.

    • Olga Hughes

      “he’s not even politically astute, he’s just “there””

      I don’t think Gregory realised that about her portrayal, I think she thought it was sympathetic. But it also made him look useless. There are people who call themselves Ricardians who make him an overly romantic and unrealistic figure. While this sort of fan-club mentality exists it will always be difficult for historians to try and present him as a normal human being.

  10. Underdogge

    If we are in need of having our collective equilibrium restored on this website we can go over to Eddie Boverington’s Henry VIII posts and have a chuckle (well they make me laugh at least).

  11. Sean

    I am actually watching the White Queen right now. I enjoy it. As someone very familiar with the Wars of the Roses, I understand that this is a fictional interpretation. Seriously, its not meant to be history, however if someone becomes interested in the subject because of it, then it has served its purpose.

    As for the White Princess, I will probably watch it.

    • Olga Hughes

      Really Sean, when you tell me that you would be happy for someone to depict you as a rapist after your death when you can no longer defend yourself then get back to me with the ‘it’s only fiction’ argument.

      • Liz

        Exactly. “It’s only fiction” but we need to take the fact that these people existed into consideration and some respect for their memory and legacy should be given. I am disgusted every time I see someone online say that Henry VII was a rapist or abused his wife when there is NO historical evidence for this. I also see people say all the time that Margaret Beaufort killed the princes. Again, because fiction said so. We can even go back to much of Richard III’s reputation being due to the Shakespeare play which was a gross exaggeration and the timeline wasn’t even accurate. “Just fiction” can be very damaging when we are dealing with a real person who once existed.