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The White Queen “Love and Death” 

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

These women never cease to amaze me. Despite being treated very much like second class citizens (or worse), they must rely on their intelligence and cunning – and in Elizabeth’s case, sometimes her magic – to get what they want. “Love and Death” brings the hope of happier times and also great heartbreak. 

Anne Neville

I remember when Anne was a young naive girl, willing to do anything and everything The Kingmaker asked of her. Well her father is dead and so is her horrible husband. She’s been branded a traitor for her marriage to Edward, the Prince of Wales and now she has to beg for King Edward’s pardon. England needs peace and Edward seems only too happy to grant her that pardon, much to Elizabeth’s dismay. The problem? George has been appointed her guardian. With her under his “protection” and her mother in “sanctuary,” the Yorks have control over the Neville’s vast fortune. And Anne has no desire to be kept quiet or under control, so she’s vocal about her displeasure. For that, she’s all but imprisoned in the castle. It’s Richard who comes to her rescue. Not only does he offer to marry her, but he actually loves her. Anne deserves some happiness and so does Richard. I hope Anne gets to live this fairytale out for a little while before it all (inevitably) goes horribly wrong.

Margaret Beaufort

I am endlessly fascinated by this woman. She is so devoutly religious and so steadfast in her  beliefs on the Lancastrian succession line and her son’s place in the royal hierarchy (as she should be). With both her husband and her mother dead, Margaret is free to keep her own counsel and follow her own heart. She offers to join Jasper and her son in exile, but Jasper urges her to remain in England. Knowing she must find a means to become close to the royal family, she starts looking for a new husband. She first sets her sights on Richard, but he’s not interested despite her large fortune and perhaps her advanced age. Next she turns her eye to Thomas Stanley. At first he doesn’t seem the most likely choice, but his family is very shrewd. They always make sure to have someone on the winning side, even if it means brother against against brother in battle. When Margaret tells him she wishes to live as a nun, Stanley has no objections. It seems like Margaret isn’t necessarily happy with that stipulation when her wedding night arrives though. We’ll see how long she remains chaste in this marriage. But her goal of getting close to the royals is achieved.

Jacquetta Woodville

Jacquetta’s magic can’t save her from death. At first Elizabeth doesn’t realize her mother is ill, but it soon becomes apparent something isn’t right. Elizabeth wants the royal physician to attend to her, but Jacquetta knows what’s wrong: her heart. It’s just a matter or time before she dies but Elizabeth isn’t ready to part with her yet. Perhaps it’s that or a disturbing realization about King Edward that sends Elizabeth into early labor.

Queen Elizabeth

As her mother points out, when Edward returns home from war a new child soon follows. Elizabeth goes to share the happy news with her husband when she finds him in bed with another woman. Perhaps she’s always known he had a wandering eye, but this is the first time she’s been confronted with proof of his infidelity. And Elizabeth is rattled by this because she thinks Edward might be in love with her mistress. It’s clear that Edward’s brothers and perhaps most of her court know of Edward’s extracurricular activities and Elizabeth doesn’t really feel like she has anywhere to turn. When she goes into early labor, it seems both her life and the life of her baby are in danger. She pulls through; her son does not. After the devastating loss of both her newborn and her mother, Elizabeth is in mourning. She feels like she’s on the verge of losing her husband as well, but he assures her that isn’t the case. He admits that he’ll never be faithful, but despite that he loves her. She is his home. Is that enough for Elizabeth? It seems to be for now.

A Brief History Lesson

As you know, one of the things I enjoy about historical dramas is doing my own research into the story. Of course I’m enjoying this fictionalized version of events, but I’m curious about what actually happened (or, at least, what the history books say). So this week I thought I’d do a little digging into Anne Neville. I love the kind of woman she’s grown into and I hope she finds happiness in this marriage. In real life, she was definitely a pawn and it’s unclear whether Richard helped her escape or tracked her down after she ran away from George. Either way, they did marry. And there’s more to that story, but on the slim chance you don’t know it I don’t want to spoil it. It more fun (for me, at least) to watch this story unfold every week.

The White Queen airs Saturdays at 9/8c on Starz.

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