Queen of England Anne Neville’s health is fading fast, and when her sickly son Prince Edward dies and she hears of her husband’s love for Princess Elizabeth, she knows she is ready to die.
She clears her conscience first, that the murder of the Princes is not on her head, and even finds the strength to lay to rest her feud with Elizabeth. An eclipse occurs, seeming to signal the end of the York reign, and as the light returns, Anne dies.
Fearful of enemies, the new King Richard III honours those who he feels are loyal to him: Brackenbury, Buckingham and Stanley. Still not convinced that Elizabeth’s threat has gone away, Anne secretly talks to Brackenbury behind her husband’s back, wishing the Princes in the Tower dead.
Elizabeth is forced to find allies where she can and accepts Margaret Beaufort’s offer of help, hoping they will rescue the Princes. Her teenage daughter Lizzie warns her against it. The planned attack fails and all out rebellion is called. When Elizabeth hears a rumour that her boys in the tower are dead Elizabeth realises her daughter was right, and that Margaret, with her kinsman Buckingham, had most reason to kill them. She and Princess Lizzie use magic to flood the country, and scotch Margaret’s uprising and her son, Henry Tudor’s, invasion.
Elizabeth is concerned that Edward is allowing Henry Tudor to return from exile, but having fought off many foes, including his brother, Edward reveals that he wants his enemies close.
Edward suddenly becomes extremely ill and on his deathbed he names his brother Richard as Lord Protector. King Edward IV dies leaving Elizabeth devastated; she is no longer Queen and her fortunes have faded. She desperately looks to her brother Anthony, and sons, Thomas and Richard Grey, for support, as she knows she can trust them.
Elizabeth gives birth again but the baby doesn’t breathe. Margaret Beaufort, who is not enjoying her position as her lady in waiting, is given the child. The boy comes alive in Margaret’s hands and Elizabeth believes Margaret has saved him.
Anne also has a baby boy, and is living happily away from court. This peace is destroyed when she realises her husband Richard Duke of Gloucester has brought her mother to live with them. Anne’s mother sows doubts about Richard’s feelings for Anne and this makes Anne secretly question his motives in marrying her.
Edward IV is set on war with France; persuaded by his brother George’s endless greed and desire to become Regent. However, as they arrive to fight, King Louis offers Edward a generous peace deal which he accepts. George is eaten up with fury as he will now not be French Regent. Richard is ashamed of his brother’s peace deal. While Edward is overindulging in the French court, George makes a secret pact with the French King.
The sons of York return from war as enemies. At court, Elizabeth toasts for the Neville sisters to be as fertile as their mother, and Isabel is terrified that she has cursed them both to only have girls. George hires a sorcerer to counteract Elizabeth’s curse and accuses her of witchcraft. Isabel gives birth to a son but she dies soon afterwards and events suddenly spiral out of control as George openly accuses the Queen of poisoning her. Edward can bear it no longer and, putting aside his love for his brother, he has George tried for treason and drowns him in a vat of Malmsey wine.
Elizabeth faces an uncertain future as all she holds close is threatened. She is pregnant again but feels unease at Edward’s closeness to his brothers. Their plan to send her baby son away to become Prince of Wales is upsetting, but the discovery that Edward has taken a mistress shakes the very foundations of their marriage.
When Jacquetta reveals her heart is weakening, Elizabeth faces losing her strongest ally and closest confidante.
Warwick has restored King Henry VI to the throne but, doubtful of George’s loyalty, has ordered his daughter (and George’s wife) Isabel back to England to keep him on side. Warwick’s younger daughter, Anne, is forced to trust her former enemies and travels with Margaret of Anjou to fight against York.
They plan to sail back to England but a storm delays their travels. With George absent from court, Warwick can only hope that the storm is preventing the York hero King Edward IV from sailing too.
Elizabeth is troubled by the news of Isabel and George’s dead son – and Warwick’s arrival in France, he will be more dangerous than ever. Rumours fly that Warwick is making a new alliance with his old enemy, the French Margaret of Anjou and planning to restore her husband Henry VI to the throne. George is furious as he will now never be King. His loyalty to Warwick is fading. On hearing the news of Warwick’s scheme Elizabeth and Jacquetta visit George’s mother, Cecily, and point out that her favourite son may now be fighting for Lancaster and at risk of execution.
In France the rumours prove true: Warwick’s new plan is for his daughter Anne to marry Margaret of Anjou’s son Edward of Lancaster and for Warwick to rule through Anne and Edward, when Henry VI dies. The Warwick family are torn apart – Isabel is left deserted and childless and Anne is to be married to a family that she has always viewed as her enemy. Anne is schooled by Continue reading ‘The White Queen – Episode 4’ »
When Parliament refuse to support Warwick and George, Warwick loses his nerve and Edward escapes. Elizabeth wants vengeance for her father and brother but Edward shocks her by saying no; he is set on reconciliation.
News of Edward’s escape thwarts Margaret and her husband is promptly passed over for a title by Edward, a result of her offering her support to his brother George.
It’s Christmas as Warwick and George return to court and Elizabeth is forced to welcome them. Anne and Isabel are to be her ladies-in-waiting, an arrangement that suits none of the women – but it would only be until Isabel goes into confinement to give birth – to what she hopes will be a son. Edward knows that he needs to offer Warwick and George inducements to stay loyal.
Elizabeth’s coronation is a grand affair – and not just to silence those who say her marriage to Edward IV is not legal. Once Queen, she and her mother Jacquetta get to work, marrying off her siblings to the nobility to ensure their family’s security, and create a royal family loyal to Edward as he brings peace to England.
The Lancastrians are stripped of their titles. Margaret Beaufort fumes when her son Henry Tudor loses his title; she rages to her second husband Henry Stafford that he must do something about it. But Continue reading ‘The White Queen – Episode 2’ »