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: