photo from http://www.bbc.co.uk
I’ve developed an obsession with late medieval England, specifically the reign of the House of York and the Cousins’ War (later known as the War of the Roses), all courtesy of TV series, The White Queen. The series started mid June and I loved the first episode which told the “scandalous” tale of how Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth, the White Queen, met and fell in love and she became the first commoner to marry a King. Following history, the love story has since taken a back seat to repetitive tales of of plots, betrayals, gruesome deaths, battles, infidelity and death defying childbirth. As is often the case with dramatised novels, I’ve preferred reading the three books (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter) on which the TV series is based. I’ve read them all in the the last month, a big achievement for me as I’ve only read one other book since LS was born!
The novels are fictious personal accounts of historical events told by historian Philippa Gregory. She tells the story from the view of the women, who are typically overlooked in history books and has used scant mentions of them in historical sources to piece together their tales and imagine what they might have thought and felt.
Although I studied the Tudor period a couple of times at school (which came immediately after this period) all I knew of the House of York was the unfortunate demise of the Princes in the Tower, who as Shakespeare would have you believe, were murdered by their uncle Richard III, Edwards IV’s brother. Then of Richard III himself, the deformed, murderous King who met his end courtesy of Henry Tudor (King Henry VII) at the Battle of Bosworth then spent the next 500+ years under a car park in Leicester. Of course, our knowledge of Richard is based on Shakespeare’s play and he was writing to please the Tudor court. In an interesting plot twist, Gregory believes that Richard had nothing to gain from murdering the Princes and lays the blame with another character.
You can decide for yourself as the trailer for tonight’s episode shows Richard and his wife, Anne “The Kingmaker’s Daughter” take the throne!