The birth of a new prince did more than secure Henry's reign on The White Princess Season 1 Episode 3. The baby had everyone reassessing their priorities. Arthur's birth may be uniting the country, but it's tearing these families apart even further.
The most important relationship shift was the one between Lizzie and Henry. They're no closer to be in love, but they're starting to figure out that they can stand together against those who wish to control them.
Henry's speech about never getting to make a choice about his own life certainly resonated with Lizzie, but there were was still a certain whiny "poor me" tone that I found hard to accept. One of the struggles Emma Frost acknowledged in bringing this show to a modern (widely feminist audience) is Henry and his attitude.
The rape scene from the premiere was drastically toned down until is was barely rape, which helped, but Henry's recitation of his woes made me think he was a week away from joining a MRA group.
Henry: Everywhere I look around me, nobles conspire against me. Servants slip each other notes. They smile into my face and then behind me draw their knives.
Lizzie: Well, that is what it is to be king.
It also was reminiscent of certain recent remarks from the so called "leader of the free world." The unfortunate timing is by no means the fault of the writers, but it is hard to filter out the effect of current events on our perception of art.
His little poor me tantrum highlights how much he really needs Lizzie. His immaturity shows in the way he uses Lizzie as a figurative weapon against his mother without acknowledging to the woman herself what her value to him is.
Lady Margaret: You are taking counsel...from your wife?
Henry: From somebody who knows the will of England.
But of course, despite their ages, Henry and Lizzie are just know figuring out that they are more than their mother's children, if only they'll step forward out of their shadows. Lizzie's struggle seems more real, since she has a loving relationship with Elizabeth; Henry and Margaret barely know each other, their relationship shaped by her ambition for him.
Henry's rebellion is that of a surly teenager. He separates Jasper and Margaret for no logical reason; his actions are those of a jealous child unhappy that all attention is not on him.
What's most frustrating is that his mother only has power because he has afforded it to her. Instead of petulantly throwing barbs at her about Lizzie, he could just set some boundaries – she's a woman in 1480s, it's not like she has rights or anything.
Henry: I have commissioned his own badge for him. [unfurls a drawing] The red rose and the white, combined. A sign of our new unity. I'd hoped for your approval.
Lizzie: [scoffs] Our mothers will not give it. I think they like the war between them.
Despite being almost ten years younger, Lizzie is definitely the more mature member of this couple, and the one facing harder decisions. Not only is she working from a virtually powerless position, she's the one who really has to decide between her past and her future, who has to find a way to reconcile those lives.
The focus might be on her going against her mother, but I'm personally more concerned about the impending dissolution of her close relationship with Maggie.
Historically, Henry isn't incorrect about Teddy being used as a figurehead against him, but I wish Lizzie could have come up with a compromise like she did with her mother. Even just getting him a nicer room – plenty of people here held in the Tower in luxury, and if Maggie was there, things might not be so bad for him.
If my mother raises an army, how can I choose between my mother and my son?Lizzie
We finally met Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, and despite her melancholic attitude, I would certainly prefer to be at her court than Henry's. I'll even forgive the producers for tricking us into thinking it's the south of France instead of Belgium, it's just so luxe.
The Duchess of Burgundy might be the most sympathetic character we've met outside of Maggie and Teddy. Too bad they can't go live with their aunt. Tedy would have playmates in her grandchildren, and though she's a shrewd politician, she also seems love her family enough should wouldn't try to put him on England's throne.
Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy [about Henry]: What does he do to inspire such loyalty?
Jasper: When he has a goal, he does not waiver. He was brave in exile, he is strong. He has greater loyalty than any man I've ever known.
Margaret: Then he would make someone a very fine dog.
Her one failing may be that she's too guided by her affections for her family. Lord Strange was a dolt, but it wasn't actually the fault of him or anybody else in the envoy that Mary died.
Her position echos Lizzie's; she's torn between two families and her love for them.
I have no love of war, but I do not like your king.Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy [to Jasper]
For the first time, I almost felt a sliver of compassion for Cecily. She's still a raging bitch, but she's a hurt raging bitch. It became clear that she's turned to Lady Margaret more out of a desire to be loved than a desire for power of her own.
She was honestly excited about baby Arthur, and wanted to share that with her mother and sister. Yes, part of the reason that Elizabeth sent her away was based on her past behavior as a Tudor spy, but the look on her face as she was dismissed was just this side of heart breaking.
And as terrible as she is generally, her snarkiness in the royal wardrobe was exactly the kind of cattiness I can enjoy – subtle digs with no real malice behind them, but allowing the ignored little sister a temporary (possibly imagined) upper hand.
I don't think I should like to be queen, the clothes are all too ugly.Cecily [to Lizzie]
Henry finally gets around to marrying off Lizzie's sisters on The White Princess Season 1 Episode 4 ("The Pretender"). Or rather, his mother does. I don't think Lizzie is going to take to kindly to her mother-in-law's machinations, so expect some sparks between the Tudor ladies.
In Burgundy, Duchess Margaret is roused from mourning by her mother, and the first thing on her agenda is to plot out a plan to unseat Henry. Apparently Lizzie's York blood doesn't buy her any protection from her aggrieved aunt.
Guard your heart, my Lizzie. The child is not your own. He belongs to the throne.Elizabeth
You can always watch The White Princess online, and remember to join the conversation in our comments section!
Can Henry and Lizzie really manage to break away from their mothers? What does the Duchess of Burgundy have planned? Will Cecily mellow out now that she's to have a "love" match?
Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.