The White Princess is my first Phillips Gregory book. That said, I am not a stranger to her writing. My mom is a huge fan of Gregory’s novels. I watched novels written by Gregory come and go over the years. I finally got my hands on one or two of her books and started here with The White Princess.
The White Princess is about Elizabeth of York. According to the novel, she was the lover of King Richard and her father was the previous king. After King Henry VII over threw King Richard, Elizabeth was made to marry King Henry VII. She is the mother of King Henry VIII, although he hardly features in the novel.
Elizabeth and her family are under a lot of scrutiny in the novel because the Yorks wanted the throne back. Her two brothers were the heirs to King Richard, who had no sons of his own, and they were missing and presumed dead. Personally, I think King Henry VII had them killed but I think the deaths of those boys is one of life’s mysteries. The Yorks wanted the throne back. King Henry VII was on the verge of madness because of all of the pretenders to the throne – people kept crawling out of the woodwork and claiming to be Richard or Edward, the rightful king.
In history, King Henry VIII inherits the throne, so I know that the Yorks never succeeded in retaking the throne. That also means that Arthur, Elizabeth’s oldest son dies, and I’m not entire sure how that happened. What I thought was really cool was the curse that Elizabeth talks about. There is this old tale that some woman ancestor on her moms side was a witch, so Elizabeth and her mom cursed the reign of who ever killed the brothers/sons (Richard/Edward). I think it worked so that the murderer would lose his sons and a grandson and his reign would end with a woman on the throne who was a virgin. Sounds a lot like the Tudors right? This leads people to believe that King Henry VII was the one who killed the two boys.
This book was very, very good in my opinion. First of all, Phillipa Gregory gets serious brownie points with me because she has a PhD in history, so while she is writing historical fiction, I trust her to keep the fiction on a historically true timeline.
Phillipa Gregory is an amazing author. She makes learning about history fun. If you like the Tudors then you’ll like her novels. She generally writes from the perspective of the women in that era. Most people know about The Other Boleyn Girl because it was made into a novel, but it was a book written by Gregory first. I see some value in starting with books like The White Princess because then you can follow through with the history in a chronological order. In any case, regardless of what you choose to do, The White Princess is well deserving of a place on your reading list.
Have a good day!