The White Queen Season 1 Episode 6 Review


It’s taken five weeks, but The White Queen has finally gotten much, much better. It might just be the passage of time, but I think I’ve learnt everyone’s names and everyone’s ranking, and that automatically means that the twists and turns are one hundred per cent more compelling. As we leave episode six, pretty much everyone has allied themselves with the current reigning family, the Yorks, which leaves lots of room for crap to hit the fan in the remaining for episodes.

We begin with Anne Neville requesting pardon from Edward, who grants it much to Elizabeth’s chagrin. What he fails to mention is that her pardon and invitation to stay with her sister as a lady in waiting is all part of a cunning plan to inherit her dowry. If she does not remarry before her mother dies in sanctuary, then George, her appointed guardian, will get the money instead of her husband. It’s a good job that, while in confinement, the only one who develops an interest in her is third brother Richard, who does indeed take her hand.

But instead of worrying about marriage and babies quite so much this week (though there’s still lots of that), we see two opposite mother-daughter relationships – Margaret’s and Elizabeth’s. Both are dying, but the daughters have extremely different responses to the event. Margaret’s is bitter and cold, offering no forgiveness for a mother with no remorse. Then there’s Elizabeth and Jacquetta, who meets her stillborn grandson moments before death. It’s a striking and emotional scene, giving Elizabeth back a lot of the sympathy she’d lost since donning the crown in week one.

For Edward is becoming a bit of a cad, barely punished for smothering Henry in his sleep last week and, this week, cavorting with random women in his marital bed. Apparently he told Elizabeth that he wouldn’t be faithful when they were married so, given the time period and the fact that he is the king, it’s understandable that the thing Elizabeth is most peeved about is the sense that he quite liked the woman outside of the bedroom. Boys being boys, villainous George might be having too much of a bad influence on his brother.

So – let’s check in. Elizabeth’s son Edward is to be sent to Wales and raised into a king without his parents; Anne has married into the family via Richard and will move back to Warwick Castle and Margaret, after being rejected by Jasper, has taken the highest ranking man who will have her as a husband, joining her with the Yorks. With everyone under one roof, then, the drama should pick up even more in the second half of the series. There was less war and bloodshed here and more women dealing with impossible circumstance – by far the series’ strongest element.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The White Queen currently airs on BBC1 in the UK.