The White Queen: Dumb and Dumber

Rebecca-Ferguson-in-THE-WHITE-QUEEN-600x400Previously on The White Queen: Horny King Edward really, really wanted to sleep with Elizabeth Woodville, but she wouldn’t give up the goods, so he married her, royally (sorry) pissing off his bitchy mother and the Earl of Warwick, aka The Kingmaker.

Look at that, Elizabeth’s pregnant now. No big surprise there, considering her entire marriage is based on sex. It’s now the 26 May 1465.

Warwick’s bitching to his two teen daughters, who looked a lot younger in the last episode, that they’re not only saddled with Elizabeth’s immediate family, but also her extended family from Burgundy. Plus, she needs to be crowned now, before she gets all fat.

London and Elizabeth prepare for the coronation. Her sisters dress her, and the eldest asks if she’s afraid, but Elizabeth says Edward will tell her what to do. She also mentions that Edward’s mother has refused to attend. That seems…foolish of her, to say the least. Snubbing the queen like that? Kinda dumb.

Edward’s two brothers, George and Richard, are lounging around outside Elizabeth’s rooms. George is played by David Oakes, who’s becoming a very familiar face on this blog. Warwick insolently asks if ‘the woman’ is ready, and off the mutual eye raises from the two brothers, reminds them that she’s not queen yet. Yes she is, Warwick. She’s married to the king. That makes her queen, whether she gets a big fancy coronation or not.

Elizabeth comes out, all dolled up, and is rather sweetly greeted by her two brothers-in-law before asking where Edward is. Warwick says he’s already at the Abbey, stationed behind a screen to watch the proceedings, as is the custom. But Warwick’s brought his daughters along to attend to Elizabeth. At this point, her father pompously butts in and says that Elizabeth’s sisters will attend her, and at this point, Elizabeth should have employed her brain a bit and taken everyone—Neville daughters and sisters, just to keep everyone happy. Pissing off Warwick isn’t going to help anyone. But, as we’ll come to see, Elizabeth’s pretty but not necessarily all that bright, so she lets her dad tell Warwick his girls can fall in behind the Woodville clan, which should put them roughly eight miles behind the main event, before he takes Elizabeth’s hand and they sweep out. On their way out the door, her dad tells her to hold her head high, because God has chosen her for this. And then he rather nicely tells her how proud he is. Further back, the older Neville girl, Isobel, tells her sister, Anne, to stop staring at Elizabeth, but Anne can’t help it because Elizabeth is just that hot. Isobel sniffs that Edward should have married the French princess, as their father wanted, and Warwick glances back and tells them to just play their parts and bide their time.

Elizabeth and family process to the Abbey, smiling at petal-throwing crowds along the way. Jacquetta meets them at the door and bows deeply to her daughter, as do Elizabeth’s sisters and brothers. Anthony bends down and removes Elizabeth’s shoes before she steps inside.

In the Abbey, the women are all gathered on one side, the men on the other. The Woodvilles have primo seats at the very front. The Warwick family eyes Elizabeth as she passes in procession. Behind a nearby screen, Elizabeth’s sons can’t quite believe the lady kneeling at the altar is their mother, but Edward, who’s with them, reassures them that it is. Elizabeth is duly crowned, and Isobel nudges her sister when Anne says ‘God save the queen’ a little too enthusiastically. Rivers and Jacquetta exchange proud smiles. When the crown is placed on Elizabeth’s head, everyone bows, and, rather amusingly, one of the tiny Woodville girls has to hold out her arms for balance as she sinks. Awww.

Afterwards, Elizabeth gets a moment with her little boys, who hug her and ask if they can sit with her at dinner. She says they can’t, because she has to go to her fancy party, but she promises to tuck them in later. Warwick appears and calls her Queen Elizabeth, telling her that her court awaits.

In the banqueting hall, George sits opposite a clutch of Woodville sisters and comments that they all look so similar, all the Rivers girls, like lovely little fish. He manages to make that sound somewhat charming, and they giggle. Up sweep the Neville girls, and Isobel says she wouldn’t want to be a fish, before she sits beside George and teases Richard lightly. Anne unnecessarily exposits that their father put Edward on the throne, like we didn’t already know that, but George quiets her, and Richard invites her to sit beside him. She looks pleased. There’s a trumpet fanfare, everyone rises, and Warwick announces Queen Elizabeth of England, whom he now has to escort to the dais at the front, where her husband waits.

During the feast, Elizabeth and Edward act all flirty and Edward tells her the big coronation was necessary to make up for denying the people a royal wedding. The Neville girls eye the royal couple and Isobel says if she were queen she wouldn’t act like Elizabeth, who’s smiling and behaving like she actually enjoys being in her husband’s company. Isobel declares that she would be a queen of stone, of no emotion but dignity. Well, that sounds fun!

Warwick interrupts the royal couple to urge Edward to attend to the peace treaty with France, which can’t wait, since the French are annoyed that the English royals seem so friendly with Charles of Burgundy, who’s Jacquetta’s kinsman. Edward’s not stressed and promises to see to it later.

Later, Edward helps Elizabeth undress and she talks about interior decorating. She thinks it’s creepy to have Margaret of Anjou’s things about. She asks Edward if they’ll be safe now, on their thrones, and he reassures her they will be, once their son arrives. She asks him if he trusts Warwick and Edward promises Warwick will learn to love her as he does. He urges her to try and make friends with him and to invite his daughters to be her ladies. She really had to be told that? See what I mean about her not being a great thinker?

Elizabeth starts redecorating and wonders what to do with Margaret of Anjou’s portrait. Jacquetta eyes it sadly and remembers that she was once best friends with Margaret, and she never thought she’d see this day. But, times change. Elizabeth briskly says they can’t burn the portrait or they’ll be strangled as witches.

In the hallway, Warwick comes upon Edward having a conference with Rivers and his eldest sons. They depart and Warwick tells Edward he’s drafted the peace treaty with France, as discussed, and the French ambassador’s promised it can be signed shortly. Edward tells him there’s no hurry, as there are other players in the game now. Oh, dear. Sorry, but these Woodvilles are all idiots. They know they’re in a dangerous position at court, and what do they do? Antagonise the guy most likely to be able to do them harm. Well done, folks. Edward says he’s invited Burgundy to the parlay, because he wants Burgundy to lift their restrictions on the sale of English cloth. As Burgundy’s currently the enemy of France, Warwick is somewhat incensed. Showing spectacularly bad timing, Elizabeth rolls up and admits that she knows she wasn’t at the top of Warwick’s list of prospective queens, but she hopes they can be friends for Edward’s sake. ‘You hope for that?’ Warwick asks coldly. She ignores that and asks for his daughters to join her household. ‘Burn her,’ he says, but it turns out he’s talking about Margaret’s portrait, which is being carried past. He goes on to say that he has no patience for a queen who looks to rule her husband.

Elizabeth goes into Edward’s study, where she finds him talking to Anthony. Edward tells her that Warwick has made a secret deal with the King of France, who’s promised Warwick territory if Edward goes along with the alliance. I don’t think that sort of thing was terribly unusual back then. It’s how courtiers close to the king were able to amass incredible wealth. They weren’t making all that money through court salaries, that’s for sure. Anyway, Elizabeth’s response is to declare that Warwick is plotting against Edward, which isn’t the case at all, Elizabeth. He’s acting in his own interests, yes, but also in the interest of England and Edward, who needs a powerful ally on his side if he’s going to hold onto the throne. Edward corrects her and says Warwick’s not against him, but he is for himself, and I can’t really blame the guy for that, considering all he’s done for Edward. Edward goes on to say that Warwick shouldn’t have kept this information from him, so now Edward’s going to sign a treaty with the side he thinks is most useful. He leaves, and Anthony tells Elizabeth that Edward doesn’t see how treacherous Warwick is. He urges her to do the thinking for Edward, and I immediately cringe at the thought. He insists that Warwick is against the king and wants power for himself, and Elizaebth needs to stop him, or Warwick will start kingmaking again.

The court gathers for some sort of hawking exhibition. Richard uses to, I think, Elizabeth’s brother John and gets a round of applause. Edward comments to Elizabeth that John will have a tough competition against his brother, George, who isn’t nearly as much a gentleman as Richard.

Elsewhere, George notes to Warwick that Burgundy’s in attendance again, sitting beside Rivers. Warwick very subtly starts to feel out George’s interest in sitting in Edward’s big chair.

Warwick’s next stop is with Edward, so he can tell him the French ambassador’s feeling rather slighted. Edward tells him to chill out. John goes up against George. Jacquetta tells Elizabeth that Burgundy has proposed a marriage between himself and Edward’s sister, Margaret. Elizabeth tries to wave her off, but Edward says that they need to start building a strong royal family around Elizabeth, to protect her, if need be. George wins and as a prize Edward gives him the title of Earl of Richmond. ‘And I was hoping for your crown,’ says George. Needless to say, he’s not kidding. Edward chuckles and Jacquetta comments that Margaret Beaufort’s not going to like this, because that’s her son’s title. Edward reminds her that Henry’s nephew to the old king, so he’s having his title stripped.

Word of said stripping reaches Margaret, who proceeds to freak out at her husband, Stafford. She insists he get her kid’s title back for him, but Stafford calmly tells her that that’s not possible. She twitches and wails about not being able to raise the kid herself and starts talking about how he’s a Lancastrian heir while Stafford tries to hush her before someone overhears. Margaret says that her kid’s uncle, Jasper, would not let this happen. She says she’ll write the boy herself and tell him about the title loss. Stafford reminds her that the kid’s five, so this will mean nothing to him, but she insists that it’s all he has. Stafford watches her for a bit, and then gently asks if she’s eaten at all that day, because she’s looking pretty thin again. She insists she’s fasting, and that she’ll live on prayer. Okaaaay.

Elizabeth runs into Warwick at court and reminds him that his daughters haven’t reported for duty yet. He tells her his daughters are to be married, so they have to decline. Elizabeth goes into her room, where her mother is having fun with some matchmaking cards. Elizabeth whines about Warwick snubbing her by keeping hids daughters away. She wonders what she should do, accept his hate, or battle through? Let it go, Elizabeth. This guy is never going to be on your side. The best you can do is try to limit the damage. Jacquetta urges her to focus on making her family strong through marriage. Rivers comes in and asks what they’re up to. They chat about how he and Jacquetta married for love, scandal though it was, and the two parents are really cute together before Rivers announces that he’s been named treasurer, after Warwick’s uncle was set aside, as Edward was displeased with him. Yes, that should really help appease Warwick. Elizabeth smiles happily, but then doubles in pain, and Jacquetta calmly tells her husbad to fetch the midwife.

Elizabeth labours and finaly births…a girl. Edward comes in and Elizabeth breaks the news to him, He absorbs it, and then leans in and declares her a beautiful little girl, grinning adorably down at her. Elizabeth promises that they’ll have boys and Edward says he knows, no big deal. Awww.

Warwick returns home and joyfully announces that Elizabeth’s birthed a girl. I can’t imagine his wife, who’s borne two daughters, is too happy to hear this bandied about as a failure, but she says nothing about it. She does comment that Elizabeth has sucked up all the nobles for her own sisters, leaving nobody for their girls. Warwick reassures her they have their own prize, and Edward will doon give him everything he wants.

Margaret and Stafford go to visit little Henry, who’s in the care of Jasper Tudor. Margaret leans down to hug the kid, who doesn’t recognize her at all and instead bows properly to her. Margaret takes a beat to hide her disappointment, and then breaks the news that the ‘wicked York king’ has taken his title, though she promises they’ll get it back. Stafford urges her not to fill the kid’s head with nonsense, and then takes little Henry off to take a look at the stables. Once they’re alone, Jasper eyes Margaret and asks her if Stafford’s good to her. All she says is that she’s got her books and an allowance. He admits that he’s missed her, and comes a bit closer, but she backs away and tells him they mustn’t touch. Stafford comes whirling back in, brandishing a letter and telling them that his nephew, the Duke of Buckingham, has been betrothed to Elizabeth’s sister Catherine and they’ve been summoned to London for the wedding. Margaret refuses to go, but Stafford informs her she has no choice. He adds that her mother will be there, so she’ll get a chance to see her. Margaret’s face says: Awe. Some.

Now for the wedding, which looks to be between a five-year-old girl and a very displeased looking nine-year-old boy. Elizabeth laughs at the sight of her little sister with her sulky new husband, because child marriages with extreme contempt on one side are hilarious! God, she’s an empty-headed ninny, this woman. Margaret is in attendance, as ordered. Richard smiles sweetly and congratulates Elizabeth on her little girl, and then his mother sweeps past and points out that the baby isn’t a boy. What a treasure that woman is. They hear horns outside and go to investigate. It’s Warwick, riding triumphantly into the courtyard with an important prisoner: the deposed king Henry. Margaret is horrified. Richard draws a sword and is ready to kill the man who murdered his father, but he’s held back by his brothers as Edward reminds him that Henry is an anointed king. He orders Henry stashed in the Tower. He then goes and embraces Warwick, telling him he’s indebted to him. Warwick asks for a word. Elizabeth tells her mother that Warwick is clearly up to something.

At the wedding reception, Lady Warwick gathers her daughters and lets them in on a secret: their father is arranging their marriages to Edward’s brothers. They’re delighted at the idea of being royal duchesses. Lady W says that Elizabeth will try to stop it, but surely Edward wouldn’t dare refuse Warwick now. Well, not if he’s smart, he won’t.

And, it seems his brains have won out for now, as Warwick leaves the king’s presence, smiling brightly.

Back at the party, Margaret can’t believe Henry was brought in like that. Her mother, Lady Beecham, comes sailing over, accuses her of complaining, and calls her a drama queen. Margaret complains about being forced to marry a man her mother chose and asks why she couldn’t have chosen Jasper Tudor. Beecham giggles and makes it clear that she basically did it to spite her kid. What a joyful family this is. No wonder Henry VII was a bit of a mess.

Isobel goes and finds George taking a breather. Poor David Oakes. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy, but after the roles he’s played, I see him and a woman in a scene together and automatically shudder and get a bit anxious. He says there were too many commoners in the room, and Isobel adds that they all want marriages. He asks if that’s what she wants too, and she gives him a knowing smile before returning to the party.

Edward returns too, and Elizabeth immediately asks what Warwick wanted. He tells her and says he promised he’d think about it. Elizabeth immediately starts trying to put the kibosh on the matches, reminding Edward that his brothers would have a share in the biggest fortune in the land, as well as royal blood on both sides, so it’d only be a matter of time before they turned against him. Not if you and Edward stay friends with them, so maybe stop actively working against Warwick at each and every turn, Elizabeth! Jesus! Stop spitting in this man’s face, Woodvilles! Edward reminds her that Warwick is not the enemy, and that he’s wasted two years of his life on the French treaty that Edward’s now trashed, so he really has to give the guy something. Elizabeth tells him to go ahead and give him something, just not this. She urges him to show Warwick that he’s his own man, a king, who won’t be ruled. Great.

Margaret repairs to the chapel to pray and beg Jesus to send her some kind of sign. The following morning, Stafford finds her still there, passed out on the floor. She gets up to leave, but then the sun comes through the windows and she gets a look on her face as if everything’s suddenly become clear.

Warwick returns home, enraged, and tells his wife Edward’s turned down his proposal. She wonders if witchcraft might be involved. He promises that Elizabeth will not win this war.

That night, Anne wonders what’ll happen to them. Isobel says their father will marry them to someone else, but in the meantime, they may as well commence the Elizabeth hating, whom she declares another bad queen, just like the last one. Anne asks her to tell the story of the old, bad queen. Isobel does, complete with handy shadow puppets. According to her, Margaret of Anjou was an evil she-wolf whose son cut off two men’s heads at the tender age of seven and was rumoured to be fathered by the devil. Isobel urges Anne not to worry, becaue their father always has a plan.

While Elizabeth watches delightedly, Warwick is dispatched to escort Edward’s sister Margaret to Burgundy for her wedding. Jaquetta laughs that Warwick is a nursemaid, because these people haven’t had hubris explained to them yet.

Three years later, Elizabeth has a trio of royal daughters, all of whom look like they came right on top of each other. They hit the road to join Edward wherever he is, but they’re stopped by her father, who tells her there’s a rebellion begun. Elizabeth is unconcerned, until her father tells her this is actually quite serious: Warwick’s got a big crew assembled. Elizabeth doesn’t seem to get that Warwick is still a threat, until one of her brothers tells her that he’s kingmaking again.

Isobel, meanwile, is getting ready to marry George after all. Anne tells her she looks beautiful, and then their father comes in and briskly tells her to come along so they can get this over with. What a loving parent. Isobel begs her sister not to leave her.

Elizabeth arrives at her destination and is greeted by her now teenage sons and her husband, who can’t believe Warwick would raise an army against him. You couldn’t? How long did you really think you could shit on this guy before he started flinging it back? Edward also can’t believe George would have acted against him. Yes, that one is considerably more random, since George seemed fairly chummy with both his brother and Elizabeth up until this point. Edward guesses his mother is on George’s side as well, since she’s disappeared and George has always been her favourite.

Isobel joins Anne in bed and tearfully tells her that the wedding wasn’t for her at all, but was a signal from their father that men should rise against the king. I hate to be harsh, Isobel, but did you thik this was some kind of love match?

The next day, George and Warwick ride off as the Neville girls watch.

Edward and the Rivers boys also ride off, Edward telling Elizabeth to present herself as a nice, calm, chill queen so nobody realizes how serious this is. She obligingly dresses up in a beautiful gown and her crown and everything to receive some visitors or something like that. She and the Neville girls, in their castle, are tense.

Elizabeth returns to her room and gets some time with all of her kids.

In Edward’s camp, word comes that Warwick is on his way. Edward is warned to ride for London, but along the way, he rides right into an ambush and is captured by George and Warwick.

Warwick and his new prisoner return home, and the ladies are amazed to see that he’s managed to capture Edward.

Elizabeth receives a letter from Edward, breaking the news that he’s a prisoner. He tells her that her brothers and father are on their way to her, but meanwhile she needs to go to London, raise the city, and barricade herself in the Tower. She barely has time to finish the letter before Anthony comes in. She starts babbling at him, and he grabs her and breaks the news that Warwick captured their father and John and beheaded them. Elizabeth starts serving up some serious ugly crying, not that it isn’t warrented. Brother and sister weep together.

Margaret arrives at Jasper’s and they gleefully share the news of Edward’s capture. Margaret asks to see Henry, and once they’re with the kid, she tells him that she had a vision that he would be king. Stafford freaks out and tells her not to say such crazy things, which also happen to be treason. He tells poor little Henry that his mother could very well lose her head for saying this, and when Jasper immediately backs her, Stafford just splits. Can’t say I blame him. One can only handle a sustained Crazy assault for so long, you know? Margaret goes on to say that Elizabeth only makes little witches, and her family will be cursed, and when they fall, they’ll be waiting. Jasper kneels and begins to pray. Margaret, shot very creepily from the kid’s POV, weeps as she envisions a day when her son is king and her mother’s made to kneel to her and call her Margaret Regina. This woman is serving up some hardcore crazy, lemme tell you.

Elizabeth and her family head back to London, she unable to stop dwelling on her father’s and brother’s deaths. They arrive, and she falls into her mother’s arms, along with her siblings and sobs. Everyone sobs.

Later, Elizabeth wails that she’ll have Warwick’s head for this. Jacquetta sighs that Rivers knew the risks, but John’s loss is a serious blow for her, because he was so young. Elizabeth says that Cecily should know the same pain as her mother has experienced. Jacquetta points out that that would serve no good at all, but Elizabeth’s hell-bent on revenge, saying she’ll go mad if she doesn’t get it. She goes on to lie outrageously, saying she tried to be nice and to make all these people her friends, but they wouldn’t have it. I think we’ve already covered this.  Jacquetta tells her to tear a corner off of Rivers’s last letter, write the names of those she wants to curse on it in blood, by the waning moon, at the riverside. Elizabeth does so, cursing George and Warwick and folding the paper up and putting it in a locket.

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