The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

Cleveland Park LibraryStaff Picks

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

Staff Book Recommendation

The White Princess coverDaughter of the king, sister of the king, niece of the king, and wife of the king.  That is how the mother of the Tudor dynasty has been described. But there is more to her story.

In the latest installment in "The Cousins Wars" series, The White Princess, Philippa Gregory tells the story of Elizabeth of York. 

When the novel opens, Princess Elizabeth of York receives a letter from her mother calling her to London. A betrothal has been arranged between her and Henry Tudor, the new King of England, whose rival, Richard III, Elizabeth's uncle, had been defeated and killed at Bosworth Field. Their marriage would end the period of civil warfare, which had devastated the country for years.

Despite the wedding, there are those still loyal to the House of York which makes Henry VII uneasy. Also there are rumors Elizabeth's brothers Edward and Richard, known as the Princes in the Tower, may be still alive and pretenders abound. As Elizabeth settles into the royal household, she quickly learns Henry's mother, the formidable Margaret Beaufort, is a significant presence. Because Henry grew up in the French province of Brittany, England is an unfamiliar country to him. With Elizabeth's help, he establishes himself as King.

Henry VII wasn't well liked during his lifetime, however he provided England a foundation of stability and peace to become a major power.  As the years progress, the royal couple have several children -- three of them would go on to become well-known in history. There is much more that happens, so you'll have to read the novel! It ends with a lead into The Constant Princess, the first book in Gregory's Tudor series.

For those who have read about the Tudor period either in fiction or non-fiction, the historical events in the novel won't come as a surprise. Elizabeth of York is usually a supporting character in novels I've read about the Tudors over years so it is an interesting change of perspective to have her as the lead.

 -- Elisa Babel, Adult Librarian