REVIEW: Starz’s ‘The White Princess’ Takes The Throne

To soothe the ache of a Game of Thrones-less April, The White Princess is taking the throne this April as Starz’s follow up to their hit period drama The White Queen, both of which are based off Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War series of historical novels.

While each series stands on its own, The White Princess is a continuation of the story told in the preceding series: After King Edward IV dies, Queen Elizabeth is quickly removed from her throne as her brother-in-law, Richard, takes the reign. But, his biggest enemy Henry Tudor calls him into a fatal battle, opening the way for him to become King Henry Tudor just as God willed it, according to his mother Lady Margaret. But, before the final battle, Queen Elizabeth struck a deal with Lady Margaret that her eldest daughter Elizabeth of York, much to her dismay, would be promised to Henry Tudor if he won, which is exactly where The White Princess picks up.

Now that her lover (and uncle), King Richard, is dead, Elizabeth of York must wed the new king and take her place as Queen of England, a title she most certainly does not want. It’s no secret how in love with King Richard she was, which makes for a bumpy start to her marriage to King Henry. But after the birth of their son, Prince Arthur, it seems that perhaps love between the two may not be lost forever. In the meantime, Princess Elizabeth battles her new husband and mother-in-law to keep her much-disliked mother, Dowager Queen Elizabeth (now played by Essie Davis), out of confinement. While the cast may have changed, the core of the series has not — there’s plenty of backstabbing, death, scheming, swordfights, witchcraft, and a quicker payout of who ends up on the throne in the end.

Despite the same characters being central to this installment, nearly all the actors have been swapped out for someone else (generally someone who looks older), making it slightly confusing to catch on to who is who (worse, it seems everyone is named Elizabeth or Edward). Michelle Fairley’s take on Lady Margaret, now Our Lady The King’s Mother, has made Margret much more of a battle axe than the sobbing mother we saw Amanda Hale as in The White Queen, which is a greatly welcomed change despite her being so easy to hate. Jodie Comer takes over as Princess Elizabeth opposite Jacob Collins-Levy as King Henry, both much more memorable than the actors before them.

The White Princess premieres Sunday, April 16 at 8pm ET on Starz.

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