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Guide to Starz Channel's THE WHITE PRINCESS: Characters, Episode Guide, Behind the Scenes & Photos

Maj Canton - April 16, 2017



On Sunday, April 16, 2017 at 8pm, STARZ premieres THE WHITE PRINCESS, a gripping eight-part historical drama series drawn from the novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory, and part of The Cousins’ War book series. THE WHITE PRINCESS sees England ostensibly united by the marriage of Princess Elizabeth of York (Lizzie) and King Henry VII, but their 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 Lizzie into an impossible choice between her new Tudor husband and the boy who could be her own blood and the rightful York King. THE WHITE PRINCESS is a tale of power, family, love and betrayal, which charts one of the most tumultuous times in British history uniquely from the point of view of the women waging the ongoing battle for the English throne. THE WHITE PRINCESS offers the audience the opportunity to look at the Tudor Court in a whole new way, through the perspective of the women as individuals with their own complicated loyalties and motivations. The series star, Jodie Comer, Jacob Collins-Levy, Essie Davis, Michelle Fairley, Essie Davis, Vincent Regan, Joanne Whalley, Suki Waterhouse, Rebecca Benson, Patrick Gibson, Rhys Connah and Kenneth Cranham.




Character Descriptions



Princess Elizabeth of York (aka Lizzie) is promised in marriage to the newly anointed King Henry VII, in hopes that it will unite the Houses of York and Tudor and bring an end to “The Wars of Roses.” Daughter of King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth, “The White Queen,” Lizzie is beautiful, warm and kind – a princess to her very core. Lizzie knows her duty and is publicly loyal to her husband, playing the part of wife, and eventually queen, faultlessly. In private, though, she resents and plots against him. If they could only transcend their mutual mistrust and historical hatred, their marriage could bear fruit. Or perhaps they could destroy each other, and in doing so, plunge England straight back into bloody war.

KING HENRY VII (Jacob Collins-Levy)

Despite his mother Lady Margaret’s fervent faith, Henry Tudor never thought he’d become the King of England; but after winning the Battle of Bosworth that’s exactly where he finds himself. He’s deeply mistrustful of women, but the only way to secure his reign is to marry Princess Elizabeth of York (Lizzie), thereby ending “The Wars of the Roses” and bringing peace back to England. Once married, King Henry finds himself increasingly caught between the two women in his life, his wife and his mother, who treat him as a battleground. Matching wits and wills, Lizzie and Margaret maneuver to gain King Henry’s favor, which they know determines the future of England, their own fates, and the fates of the ones they love.


Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville must now step aside as her cherished eldest daughter, Lizzie, takes both center stage and the crown, in this dangerous and swiftly changing Tudor landscape. Elizabeth is an indomitable political strategist and her commitment to the York cause – and the boy whom she believes to be her last remaining son, Prince Richard – never wavers. Elizabeth tries to transfer her ambition to her daughter, but is distracted with the search for answers about her missing son. As Elizabeth’s blood feud with Lady Margaret intensifies, she is deeply pained to find herself increasingly in conflict with Lizzie, whose welfare and future becomes quickly entwined with the fate of the House of Tudor.



Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville must now step aside as her cherished eldest daughter, Lizzie, takes both center stage and the crown, in this dangerous and swiftly changing Tudor landscape. Elizabeth is an indomitable political strategist and her commitment to the York cause – and the boy whom she believes to be her last remaining son, Prince Richard – never wavers. Elizabeth tries to transfer her ambition to her daughter, but is distracted with the search for answers about her missing son. As Elizabeth’s blood feud with Lady Margaret intensifies, she is deeply pained to find herself increasingly in conflict with Lizzie, whose welfare and future becomes quickly entwined with the fate of the House of Tudor. Lady Margaret Beaufort, King Henry VII’s mother, is the calculating mastermind behind Henry’s ascent. She has sacrificed her whole life to propel her son’s unlikely accession to the Throne of England, but now that they’re at court together, she realizes they barely know one another. Desperate for intimacy with her son, she installs herself as King Henry’s chief political advisor, but Lizzie’s arrival at court threatens the balance of power. Margaret knows that securing the throne for the Tudor line won’t be easy, and works to fortify King Henry’s rule as York rivals plot against them. As her counsel is tested, she finds herself increasingly drawn into a battle with Lizzie for King Henry’s heart and mind.

JASPER TUDOR (Vincent Regan)


When Henry Tudor took the field at the Battle of Bosworth, he had his uncle, confidante and right hand man by his side to help him claim his victory. Jasper Tudor is a brilliant commander of armies and a moral man whose utter loyalty to his nephew is rare and very moving. Jasper’s life has been hard and lonely, and his secret, unconsummated love for King Henry’s mother, Lady Margaret, is returned by her but has never been allowed open expression. Perhaps now that war is over, Jasper might find love and companionship in his twilight years. Or perhaps he might find darkness in the people he has loved.


Sister to dead kings Richard III and Edward IV of England, and sister-in-law to Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, sensual, intelligent York widow The Duchess of Burgundy presides over her fashionable and cultured court – a place of beauty, light and learning. Her life has been filled with loss. The Cousin’s War has claimed the lives of her father, her brothers and her husband, Charles the Bold. Her step-daughter Mary, and Mary’s two children Phillip and Rettie are the center of her world and the Duchess would do anything to protect them. The Duchess craves peace, but with King Henry VII on the throne of England all hope of that is shattered ... and she must choose a side.

CECILY OF YORK (Suki Waterhouse)


Three years younger than her sister Lizzie, Cecily feels forever in her shadow and would like nothing more than to marry a king herself. Cecily acutely feels the fear of living in a Tudor court and her loyalty to the House of York comes under question. Cecily may yet turn out to be the turncoat in the family as she battles for survival and her own advancement.



In contrast to the tall, elegant, beautiful, blond gaggle of York girls, their cousin Margaret Plantagenet (aka Maggie) is small, dark-haired and serious. Maggie doesn’t want the limelight associated with being a York. In fact, Maggie wishes to be “invisible,” along with her younger brother, Teddy, the Earl of Warwick, because Teddy’s position as a York heir places him in grave danger in this brutal Tudor world. Maggie and Teddy have already lost their parents (under King Edward IV) and all that they have left is each other. Maggie and her cousin Lizzie are close, and Maggie hopes that Lizzie’s new position as the Queen of England might protect him. But when Teddy’s life comes under threat, so will Maggie’s relationship with Lizzie.



‘The Boy’ aka Prince Richard aka Perkin Warbeck is a young man who threatens to rupture the tentative peace bought on by the marriage of Elizabeth of York (Lizzie) and King Henry VII, by claiming to be Prince Richard of York, rightful heir to the throne and Lizzie’s long lost brother. Married to Cathy Gordon, cousin to King James IV of Scotland in a politically motivated relationship that buds into a true romance, ‘The Boy’ finds support in the courts of Europe, giving new hope to a group of York loyalists led by The Duchess of Burgundy and the Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville.



Edward Plantagenet (aka Teddy), the Earl of Warwick, is just 10 years old when Henry Tudor defeats York King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and takes the throne of England for himself. Teddy is a gentle and not very bright boy, and is unaware of what his older sister Maggie knows only too well: that as a royal York boy, Teddy has a claim to the throne himself and will be forever regarded as a threat by King Henry VII. Their parents dead, Teddy has only Maggie to protect him in this increasingly paranoid and dangerous Tudor world.

BISHOP MORTON (Kenneth Cranham)


Bishop Morton is a cunning politician and schemer as much as he is a man of God. He served at court under Lizzie’s father, King Edward IV, but had a falling out with King Richard III and went into exile. He now returns to court as a valued and important member of King Henry’s Privy Council. Morton and Lady Margaret are very close as both share their devotion to God ... but as the pressure mounts, the dark undertones of their bond will be revealed.

Episode Guide



If you want to know nothing about the episodes at all, skip this section. Provided by Starz, this episode guide includes general episode descriptions and specific plot details.


Episode 101: "In Bed with the Enemy"
England is in a fractious state as the victor of the Battle of Bosworth, Henry Tudor, is set to ascend the throne. Elizabeth of York (“Lizzie”) and her family, supporters of the former King, find themselves in grave danger. Lizzie must fulfill her promise to marry King Henry VII, in order to bring peace to the warring nation.

Episode 102: "Hearts and Minds"
King Henry VII sets out on Royal Progress, in an attempt to establish himself as the new sovereign, but finds a dangerous, deeply divided kingdom. Lizzie’s loyalties are further complicated by the child she is expecting.

Episode 103: "Burgundy"
Lizzie struggles through her labor while King Henry’s envoys embark on a diplomatic mission to Burgundy, a York stronghold abroad. Negotiations are jeopardized by a twist of fate, and Lizzie learns she has more in common with her husband than she first imagined.

Episode 104: "The Pretender"
Debut: SUNDAY, MAY 7
The York princesses are strategically married off to strengthen the Tudor cause, but further political challenges are on the horizon. When King Henry finds himself back on the battlefield to protect his reign, Lizzie learns that the threats they face may be closer to home.

Episode 105: "Traitors"
Debut: SUNDAY, MAY 14
Lizzie must deal with her mother’s defiant defense of the York cause, while the appearance of a boy in Burgundy claiming to be a young prince threatens to further destabilize King Henry’s rule. King Henry’s mother Lady Margaret Beaufort faces the consequences of harboring a dark secret.

Episode 106: "English Blood on English Soil"
Debut: SUNDAY, MAY 21
King Henry VII and Lizzie travel to Spain in an attempt to secure their son’s betrothal, but news of their country’s instability has preceded them. Meanwhile, unrest has been growing in Burgundy and spills over into an English battle.

Episode 107: "Two Kings"
Debut: SUNDAY, MAY 28
A pretender to the throne is held captive at court, confounding the Tudors, and creating a new rift in Lizzie and King Henry’s marriage. Lizzie faces an impossible choice, and makes a risky move to try to eliminate the threat to her family.

Episode 108: "Old Curses"
A final confrontation with the pretender exposes King Henry’s weaknesses, while Lizzie confronts new demons and old curses.



THE WHITE PRINCESS has a commitment to the authenticity of detail, which has seen the entire crew work in concert to ensure every element is cohesive and genuinely representative of the time period. “Much of what goes on in those personal relationships we simply don't know. Nothing was written down,” says Clark. “We have very little that carries us into the private chambers, to the bedroom, and in to the personal relationships of these royal figures.


But the setting that they move through, the environment, the world that they inhabit, we know a great deal about as historians and we can bring much of that to life.” As Phoebe de Gaye, Costume Designer on the limited series says, “We’re like peas in a pod - because everything has to work together.” Production Designer Will Hughes-Jones was tasked with building a formidable main set at The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol, England, which consisted of fifteen interconnected rooms serving as various parts of the Palace of Westminster. The building is a difficult one to replicate: “Its scale was vast and it concentrates several different functions of royal government all in one space,” Clark explains. “The Palace of Westminster when King Henry VII occupies it has already been standing for more than 200 years and has been lavishly built and rebuilt throughout that period. It's a great mix of styles of architecture.” The main set took a crew of 200 working for seven weeks to create - and every detail of the design was thoroughly researched. There were also elements of the narrative reflected throughout the production design - as Hughes-Jones highlights, “Within our palace and the storyline there is a great amount of secrecy and small whisperings behind doors and people listening in, so within the set I made sure that we built some peepholes and some little corners that people could just stand around the corner and listen to a conversation going down a corridor without being seen.”


The crew also shot extensively on location around the United Kingdom and in Spain. The availability of buildings and villages with ties to the true history of the narrative was an important part of conveying the very specific sense of time and place in the drama - as Collins-Levy commented, “You can kind of feel the ghosts of old kings walking on the grounds” of these historic sites. Hughes-Jones recalls, “We ended up filming in the castle and outside the castle that Jasper Tudor actually lived in.” In addition to the locations, the costuming is a key component of reviving the first Tudor court. “It's a sort of a strange period that is very rarely filmed because it sort of comes at a cusp. It's right at the end of the century so it's not really medieval and it's not really fully Tudor - it's sort of an indeterminate, in between period which makes it very interesting,” says de Gaye.


As well as capturing the styles and details of the time, the costumes also serve to add a layer of depth to the narrative.“Everything we try to do with the costumes is to reflect the journey of the characters and what's happening in the drama as much as we can,” explains de Gaye. The colors used in the costuming are hugely symbolic - with the types of garments and silhouettes conveying hints of a characters allegiances or interior worlds. Ultimately, the team has come together to recreate a time period where women were hugely influential and traditionally have been undermined or obscured in retellings. Payne sums it up best saying, “The female presence in front of the camera and behind the camera has been the greatest success of this series.”