Thursday 6 April 2017

The White Princess

Finished March 27
The White Princess by Philippa Gregory, ready by Bianca Amato

This fictionalized history tells the story of Elizabeth of York, queen to Henry Tudor, Henry VII. As the book begins, the battle at Bosworth has just ended, with Richard III being killed in battle. The pretender, Henry Tudor is declared as the new king, and Elizabeth, long promised in marriage to him by a wily mother who looks to keep her children as close to the throne as she can. But Elizabeth does not come joyfully, as she had been at the court of Richard III, and a favorite of his. Elizabeth is the oldest of a large family, and when her father, Edward IV died, and her uncle Richard III became Lord Protector, her brothers Edward and Richard were imprisoned in the tower and later presumed killed. Her mother, her and the rest of the family were in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey.
Here, neither Elizabeth nor Henry seems happy at their marriage, which was made for political reasons. However, Elizabeth was raised a princess and always understood her role as a tool for political alliances.
The rule of Henry VII is a rocky one here, with him never gaining the love of the people as previous kings had. Elizabeth does give him advice, but his mother Margaret played a powerful role as advisor, and he usually listened to her despite the results. Henry is always looking over his shoulder, and Elizabeth is always looking backwards at the life she has lost, the happy times with her father as king, and the time spent at Richard's court. This book offers a version of her personal life not always supported by history, but it gives great detail and takes us from the time of Bosworth to the late 1490s.
One major part of the story is the recurring rumors that her brother Richard somehow survived the Tower, and has been in exile planning to regain the throne. Here there are more than one boy or young man claiming to be this brother, and Elizabeth, although unsure of the truth, must abide by Henry's will that she not recognize any such claim.
Gregory really makes history come alive here, with us getting inside Elizabeth's head for her reactions to all the events of her life, from sadness to joy.

No comments:

Post a Comment