'The White Princess' & 'The White Queen' Have Some Overlap

by Anna Rose Iovine

If any family's story stands by the adage that fact is stranger than fiction, it's that of the English royals. The Tudors and Yorks, especially, have a rich narrative and it shows in all the TV series about that era. Starz's The White Princess is the latest retelling; it's based on a novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory, and a sequel to the novel and subsequent BBC/Starz adaptation The White Queen. The queen is Elizabeth Woodville and the princess is her daughter, Elizabeth of York. But are any actors in both The White Queen and The White Princess? It is a mother and daughter story.

The White Queen aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom and Starz in the United States back in 2013. It took place during the War of the Roses, the battle between the Houses Tudor and York for the English crown. There were many players, but the series centered on three women: the titular White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville; Margaret Beaufort; and Anne Neville. The series starts in 1464, and The White Princess picks up in 1485. Seeing as the series are just a generation apart, many characters overlap between them, including the White Princess, Elizabeth of York, and members of her family.


Because of this overlap, viewers may wonder if the casts are similar as well. As it turns out, this isn't the case. Main characters in the series have been recast for The White Princess, including Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York. The former is played by Rebecca Ferguson in The White Queen and Essie Davis in The White Princess. Ferguson is a younger actress, which makes sense because Queen takes place about 20 years before Princess. Elizabeth of York is played by Freya Mavor in Queen and Jodie Comer in Princess. Both are actually the same age, but Mavor only appeared in the final three episodes of her miniseries (Queen starts two years before Elizabeth of York was even born).

According to IMDB, practically the entire cast is different between the two. There is one notable similarity, though: Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. She is Edward IV and Richard III's mother, and thus Elizabeth of York's grandmother. In both series, she is played by Caroline Goodall. It seems that her role in Queen was more prominent, though, as she's only in two episodes of Princess. While it's not totally clear why the majority of actors are recast, Princess' showrunner, Emma Frost, shed some light about the two productions. Queen was a British production through the BBC, while Princess was American and fully made by Starz. The difference in series development may be the explanation for such a shift in The White Princess' cast from its prequel.