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Don’t worry about the kings, their knights, their horses and all their men – they’re not the real power-players in historical drama series The White Princess (2017-current, Season 1 is now on Showmax).

Instead, it’s the women behind the kings who’re controlling things, whether it’s secretly manipulating their ruling lovers behind the scenes, delivering veiled threats under their breaths or even out-right in-your-face malicious words to their counterparts. It’s the sequel to The White Queen (2013, also on Showmax) and while there is seemingly peace, it’s fragile to say the least.

Executive producer Emma Frost tells vanityfaire.com that “to create a show with female protagonists who are driving all the narrative from their own point of view is irresistible. In a historical drama, it’s especially exciting because usually women are the chattel – they’re the wives, mistresses and sex objects. This feels like a real opportunity to chart new ground and reclaim history for the people who were excluded from it.”

In this sequel series, Elizabeth of York (Jodie Comer) has married King Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy) and their holy union in the eyes of the Church of England have united the previously warring princesses (and by default, their counties of York and Lancaster).

But what’s this? Peace is simply a cover and behind the scenes the women are secretly conspiring against one another? Jodie tells collider.com that “they come to this realisation that this situation isn’t going to change and we either make it work or we all fall to pieces”.

The White Princess on Showmax
Image: Lionsgate

Who is this “they” she’s speaking of and how do they fit into this royal brawl?

Elizabeth of York: She’s the current Queen of England, wed in an arranged marriage to Henry VII. Her job is to keep the peace but when no one is looking, she’s slyly egging her hubby to grab as much land for himself (read: them) as possible. And we’re not talking a field here or there – whole villages, acres of farmland… what Henry wants, Henry gets, if he wants to keep his missus happy.

Lady Margaret Beaufort (Michelle Fairley): She’s Queen Lizzie’s mother-in-law. She had more power than the rest because her son is king. What he says is holy law. Therefore annoying Lady Margaret is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make. And while she is satisfied with her son’s “choice” in wife, don’t be fooled into thinking that the pair are besties.

Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville (Essie Davis): The Queen’s mom who has used her influence to not only worm her way into the royal court, she also has pull with the King of England by using her daughter Elizabeth as a tool. She’s the king’s mother-in-law, which means it’s in his best interests to keep her happy. You know how horrible family dinners can be if the mother-in-law turns into a monster-in-law…

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