The White Princess S1E1 Review and Recap

The White Princess, Season 1, Episode 1, “In Bed with the Enemy” begins in the aftermath of the Battle of Bosworth. Elizabeth of York anxiously awaits the outcome of the action and is devastated to learn that her beloved uncle, King Richard III, is dead on the battlefield and Henry Tudor is now king of England. That means that, as the oldest known survivor of the House of York, she has to marry the new king so that the country can be unified after decades of the Wars of the Roses. It is a prospect that neither party to the arrangement is euphoric about. Elizabeth really wanted to marry her uncle, which would have been a scandal if the battle had gone the other way.

The White Princess

First, there is the simple matter of getting her brother Richard, one of the Princes of the Tower who had escaped death on the accession of their uncle, out of the country and making sure the rest of the survivors of the House of York, including the ten-year-old Earl of Warwick, that it is time to bend the knee to Henry VII, who shows up very imperious and demanding to obeyed in all things. And obey all will, or they will lose their heads.

As it turns out, Henry’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, is pushing her son to take a hard line. She has spent years getting her son on the throne and has run up a long list of people she wants to take revenge on. She sends soldiers to kill every boy they find trying to escape to France. They may or may not have gotten Elizabeth’s brother, young Prince Richard.

The White Princess

Lady Margaret also sets her son to rape Elizabeth, with the idea that her fertility needs to be proven before she can become queen. Exasperated and angry, she submits, but the sex is very unsatisfying for all concerned, and King Henry slinks away disgusted with himself.

Later, Elizabeth finds that she is pregnant. The good news is that she will now marry Henry and become queen. The bad news is that she will marry a man she clearly loathes.

The marriage takes place, and the bedding ceremony proceeds. Then Henry, in an act of kindness, pricks his bride’s foot so that blood will splatter on the bed sheets, maintaining the pretense that Elizabeth of York came to her wedding bed a virgin. Then, without having his husbandly rights, he takes his leave. More on The White Princess Season 1, Episode 1 Recap

The White Princess

The White Princess Season 1 Episode 1 Recap characters and cast include:

Princess Elizabeth – Jodie Comer (Thirteen, Doctor Foster, Silent Witness, Justice)
Henry VII – Jacob Collins-Levy
Margaret Beaufort (LKM – Lady the King’s Mother) – Michelle Fairley (Rebellion, Fortitude, In the Heart of the Sea, Philomena, Resurrection, 24: Live Another Day, Game of Thrones, Misfits)
Dowager Queen Elizabeth – Essie Davis (The Matrix Revolutions, The Babadook, The Last Post, Game of Thrones, The Slap)
Margaret Plantagenet- Rebecca Benson (Tonight You’re Mine, Macbeth, The Crown, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who)
Teddy Plantagenet – Rhys Connah (Happy Valley, The Messenger, To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters)
Jasper Tudor – Vincent Regan (Troy, Empire, 300, The Street, Clash of the Titans, The Nativity, Silent Witness, Strike Back, Under Cover, The Royals, Snatch)
Cecily of York – Suki Waterhouse (The Bad Batch, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Love Rosie)