By Sarah Ensor
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The White Queen – ruling families plotting for power

This article is over 8 years, 7 months old
Issue 2357
Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth

Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth


This is a ten part series based on Philippa Gregory’s historical novels The Cousin’s War. 

It is set during the 15th century Wars of the Roses. 

It’s all much too clean but there is a sense of the political turmoil across Europe.

The ruling families of Lancaster and York are fighting for the crown of England. 

It is a fictional account of real people and events which inevitably is almost impossibly romantic. 

Henry of Lancaster has lost a battle to young Edward of York and also “lost his wits”.

Edward, played by Max Irons, is now King Edward IV. He is helped by his cousin Richard Earl of Warwick, famously nicknamed the kingmaker.

Lady Elizabeth Grey, widow of minor noble who died fighting for Henry, petitions the new king for the return of her confiscated land. 

Elizabeth, played by Rebecca Ferguson, was said to be the most beautiful woman in England and the king is instantly smitten with her. 

Her mother Jacquetta, played by Janet McTeer, may use magic and “second sight” to read her daughter’s future. 

But her ambition and far sightedness ensures that Elizabeth, “will have whatever you want if you will take the consequences.” 

It is Jacquetta who insists that the family’s loyalty to Lancaster must be quickly and visibly transferred to York.

In this world quick-witted women of the nobility can manoeuvre and plot—despite being married off in alliances to suit their male relations. 

They know that the fortunes of their sons and daughters rise and fall with the fate of the powerful families. 

They must be very loyal to these families—until it is necessary to be loyal to someone else in this well acted and entertaining drama.

The White Queen

9pm, from Sunday 16 June, BBC One

bbc.co.uk/iplayer

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