While a show title like The White Princess might seem a bit odd, Starz new series is actually about the end of the war of the roses. If you remember the red and white Tudor rose that is often used associated with Queen Elizabeth (the first one), it was formed after the wars by the combining the House of York’s symbol of the white rose, and the House of Lancaster with it’s red rose. The first episode, In Bed with the Enemy, it is only two days after the Battle of Bosworth and the death of the last Yorkish king, Richard II. Henry VII has claimed the throne and has promised to marry Elizabeth of York (one of the remaining princesses of the Yorks). So Yorks are the white roses, she’s a York princess, and so she’s the White Princess.
The series is actually a sequel season to BBC One’s 2013 The White Queen. In over those 10 episodes, the war is still in full swing and goes up until the Battle and it’s immediate aftermath. While that series was produced by the BBC One and shown in the US for Starz, this series is produced by Starz and will be shown in the UK via Amazon.
Created by writer and showrunner Emma Frost (Shameless) was also the lead writer for White Queen. Princess sees England ostensibly united by the marriage of Elizabeth of York (aka Lizzie), played by Jodie Comer (Thirteen, Doctor Foster), and King Henry VII, played by newcomer Jacob Collins-Levy. The new husband and wife’s personal and political rift runs deep and the divide between them threatens to tear the kingdom apart once again. Rumors circulate that Lizzie’s long-lost brother Prince Richard is alive and planning to take the throne – forcing Lizie into an impossible choice between her new Tudor husband and the boy who could be her own blood and the rightful York King. Also starring Michelle Fairley as Lady Margaret Beaufort and Essie Davis as the Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville.
As historic dramas go, this one is on the same tier as The Tudors and The Borgias, and like all of them, infinitely better and more in line with history than CW’s Reign. The costumes will undoubtedly give historic costume buffs some need to flip a few tables. Should you be such a person and are thinking, “what are they wearing!?” go back and pull out Reign or Elizabeth: The Golden Age and you’ll probably think ok, Princess isn’t that far off the mark.
The performances are solid, the language mostly modern, and with only token efforts at accents. Starz has also built up a fairly strong following appealing to the historical drama/relationship genre of shows, such as they had with their four seasons of Black Sails which ended it’s cruise only a few weeks ago. What may carry Princess through is it’s mix of relationship drama, game of houses, historical setting, and the fact that history fans need something to watch before Outlander returns in the Fall.
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