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Margaret Plays Her Hand…Well, The White Queen “Long Live the King” 

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Well that escalated quickly. The king is dead, Prince Edward is in the tower under Richard’s protection and Elizabeth is in sanctuary. Margaret sees her chance to remain close to those in power when she spies Anne “resting” on the throne and she takes it. Since Anne will be at court for the foreseeable future, Margaret offers her services. And just like that Margaret remains within the inner circle and as close as ever to the seat of power. I don’t know if it’s Margaret’s faith or her husband’s cunning or a combination of both, but Margaret once again finds herself in the right place at the right time.

It looks as though Richard will keep his promise to his brother and act as Prince Edward’s protector once the young man is crowned king. When Richard removes the soldiers from outside the abbey, Margaret and Stanley know they must do everything they can do end this tentative truce between Richard and Elizabeth. So Margaret tells Elizabeth the soldiers – Richard’s men – are saying Prince Edward is a bastard. Margaret also confesses that Anne refused to be fitted for the prince’s coronation. Stanley tells Richard the king’s mistress Jane Shaw has been seen passing messages to Elizabeth.

It’s pretty impressive how both Margaret and Stanley are able to take the truth and twist it into something they can use for their own purposes. Margaret really did make a good match when she decided to marry Stanley. They both want her son to have a legitimate shot at the throne and all their maneuvering is getting Henry that much closer. Of course, it could have easily backfired when Stanley falls under suspicion and their papers are searched. It is really only Margaret’s religious zealotry that saves the day. Elizabeth had turned to Margaret for help and sent her a letter. In a moment of divine inspiration, Margaret puts that letter in her bible. When the men want to search it she tells the only other person to have touched that bible is His Holiness and they give it up without going through it. You can say whatever you want about Margaret, but she’s smart and she wouldn’t have made it this far without using her cunning mind.

Elizabeth: “Why did he want both sons? He knows that if you have the heirs you hold all the power.”

Anne doesn’t understand why Richard is so keen to crown a boy who will grow up to be his enemy. Richard wonders what Anne would have him do. Not make Prince Edward king? Take the crown for himself? He has to get the coronation over with so he can become lord protector. Anne thinks crowning the prince will be signing Richard’s death warrant and it will also put their family at risk. She thinks Richard should name himself king. Duchess Cecily is glad Anne’s not afraid to say what they’re all thinking, but Richard is worried about public perception.

After Anthony is arrested as a traitor, Elizabeth knows she must get her younger son to safety. She’s able to smuggle him out of the abbey before Buckingham and Stanley come to fetch him.  In his place Elizabeth sends an imposter and prince Edward is smart enough to play along. Now Richard thinks he has both of the princes in the tower.

All that talk and a whole lot of rumors seem to sway Richard. He knows of at least once marriage ceremony performed so Edward could have sex with someone. Because of that, his mother doesn’t think Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth is legal. But Richard is still worried about his claim. He wants to be king in the eyes of God. Eventually he convenes Parliament. They declare Elizabeth’s marriage invalid and her sons bastards.

For a few episodes there, I was really enjoying the kind of woman Anne was becoming. Not anymore. She and Richard’s mother are incessantly buzzing in Richard’s ear. They’re always trying to convince him that Elizabeth will try to grasp for power in any way she can. But she agreed to King Edward’s deathbed request for Richard to be made Prince Edward’s protector. I think she would’ve remained true to that promise and without interference, I think their truce might have held. We’ll never know and with all the scheming and political maneuvering, they probably would’ve ended up back on opposing sides eventually.

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

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