‘The White Princess’ focuses on King Henry VII’s turbulent reign and his marriage to Elizabeth of York. The series is loosely based on fact and Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction novel. Here’s a timeline of the real events to get you up to speed on everything and everyone in 15th century England.
The White Princess is a sequel to The White Queen, which was a Starz series in 2013. Philippa Gregory took creative liberties with history to make The White Queen and The White Princess juicier novels, but we’re laying out all the facts for you. Get ready for a history lesson of epic proportions about King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, played by Jacob Collins-Levy and Jodie Comer in the Starz show.
King Edward IV died in 1483, leaving wife Elizabeth Woodville, a.k.a. The White Queen, a widow. His brother, Richard, took the throne from Edward IV’s son, Edward V. Richard was crowned King Richard III in June 1483. Edward V and his brother, Richard, were taken to the Tower of London and later disappeared. Many historians believed King Richard III had the two York princes murdered, but it’s never been confirmed.
In the midst of all this turmoil, the Wars of the Roses are still going on. These events were a series of wars spanning 30 years between the Houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne. The wars were named because of the symbols of the opposing families: the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster. Henry Tudor, who belonged to the House of Lancaster and was later crowned King Henry VII, ended the Wars of the Roses when he and his army defeated and killed King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth on Aug. 22, 1485. King Henry VII’s reign founded the Tudor dynasty.
King Henry VII promised his supporters that he would marry Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth of York. Their marriage would unite the Houses of York and Lancaster, thus ending the Wars of the Roses. King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York were married in 1486.
Elizabeth gave birth to their first child, Arthur, that same year. Elizabeth would give birth to 7 more children: Arthur, Margaret, Henry, Elizabeth, Mary, Edward, Edmund, and Katherine. Elizabeth, Edward, Edmund, and Katherine all died before they were 5 years old.
While King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s marriage was an arranged marriage, they did grow to love one another. There are no reports that King Henry VII ever had a mistress, and he never married after Elizabeth died in 1503. She died after suffering complications from giving birth to an eighth child.
Prince Arthur was groomed to succeed King Henry VII. He married Catherine of Aragon, making Spain one of England’s ally against France. Prince Arthur suddenly died in 1502 after contracting an illness. Arthur’s younger brother, the notorious Henry VIII, would later marry Catherine and become King Henry VIII after his father’s death in 1509. And we all know how King Henry VIII’s reign went down…
The White Princess airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.
HollywoodLifers, what did you think of The White Princess premiere? Were you aware of all this history? Let us know!