The White Princess Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – Oh what price a throne! The new Starz series based on the books of Philippa Gregory, premiered with plenty of intrigue and a very strong, female-centric cast.
The White Princess Season 1 Episode 1 Recap
The White Princess Season 1 Episode 1 Recap images from Starz.com
Henry Tudor (Henry VII) has emerged victorious from the battle of Bosworth Field where his rival Richard III was slain and thus the Wars of the Roses ends – or the war of the cousins’ as Lady the King’s Mother refers to it when speaking with Lizzie.
Henry still has a way to go to secure his reign – winning a battle is one thing, reigning a kingdom quite another. Henry’s bloodlines aren’t a compelling case for his claim to the throne. So the strategy was for Henry to marry Elizabeth, a York princess. The union would serve to unify the bulk of the warring factions.
This is where we are in the premiere episode of The White Princess (the symbol for York was the white rose). Princess Elizabeth (Lizzie), her mother and her sisters are rounded up and brought to London by Tudor soldiers. Just before the soldiers arrive, Lizzie’s mother (the Dowager Queen Elizabeth) hides her young son who the Tudors believe was killed earlier. She hides him in the rafters with instructions to flee to Tournai once the soldiers have left.
Goodfellas had an abundance of Peters and Pauls. The White Princess has an abundance of Elizabeths and Margarets.
Lizzie was unfortunate enough to have fallen in love with Edward and is less than thrilled about her paring with Henry. It appears to be common knowledge in the episode that Edward and Lizzie were intimate though unmarried at the time of his death. (This may be where the fiction of the series and the history upon which the series is based are at odds.)
Henry is not thrilled with Lizzie either. However, his counselors are brutally honest with him that she is necessary to his success moving forward. Henry reluctantly decides that he will only marry her if she is fertile.
It is Michelle Fairley who steals the show as the Lady the King’s Mother (LKM), Margaret Beaufort. The political threat of her son Henry necessitated that she be married to a Yorkist and Henry sent to Wales and then abroad to France. But now, her son is victorious after her years of praying and politicking. She is not fond of the York princess, and certainly flaunts her superior position – she gives Lizzie the motto of “Humble and Penitent”. But she also understands the reality of the situation.
LKM attempts to have a heart-to-heart with Lizzie, indicating that she wishes their relationship had gotten off to a better start, noting that she has “great love to give and a talent for loyalty. You will be mother to the King of England,” she tells Lizzie. “You will be the peace that ends the cousins’ war.”
Lizzie listens with some aloofness. But it’s clear at the end of the episode that Lizzie is not softening. She has taken “Hidden and Patient” as her personal variation on the motto LKM has given her and in the moments just prior to her wedding is still resolved never to forget the Tudors are her enemy.
Other episodes of The White Princess reviewed on TV Eskimo include:
Season 1 Episode 2 – Hearts and Minds
The White Princess Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – Red and White Rose Petals:
- Edward Plantagenet, The Earl of Warwick, is the young Teddy we see Margaret Plantagenet coaching when they are brought before King Henry and asked to pledge their fealty. The Starz.com website describes him as 10 years old and “not very bright boy.” It’s very clever how young Margaret gets him to say the right thing after saying the absolute worst thing he could say in front of Henry.
- It’s fun to watch the York princesses and the Dowager Queen elude their attendant ladies who are most certainly reporting back to the Tudors.
- One of the saucier York ladies, Duchess Cecily, refuses to kowtow to Henry and goes so far as to remind him that he “descended from a servant.” Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to see much more of her, as she was quickly dispatched to the Tower.
- Speaking of Cecily…in addition to the Duchess, Lizzie has a sister named Cecily who seems a little sweet on Henry and more than willing to step in if her sister is not interested or is ultimately rejected. Henry, however, rebukes her advance with cutting, “You show your sister more loyalty.” Ouch.
- The Dowager Queen works a little bit of magic, using the mangold Lizzie had wanted to try and abort the baby, to cast a spell of troubled dreams on LKM.
The White Princess Season 1 Episode 1 Recap characters and cast include:
Princess Elizabeth – Jodie Comer (Thirteen, Doctor Foster, Silent Witness, Justice)
Henry VII – Jacob Collins-Levy
Margaret Beaufort (LKM – Lady the King’s Mother) – Michelle Fairley (Rebellion, Fortitude, In the Heart of the Sea, Philomena, Resurrection, 24: Live Another Day, Game of Thrones, Misfits)
Dowager Queen Elizabeth – Essie Davis (The Matrix Revolutions, The Babadook, The Last Post, Game of Thrones, The Slap)
Margaret Plantagenet- Rebecca Benson (Tonight You’re Mine, Macbeth, The Crown, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who)
Teddy Plantagenet – Rhys Connah (Happy Valley, The Messenger, To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters)
Jasper Tudor – Vincent Regan (Troy, Empire, 300, The Street, Clash of the Titans, The Nativity, Silent Witness, Strike Back, Under Cover, The Royals, Snatch)
Cecily of York – Suki Waterhouse (The Bad Batch, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Love Rosie)