If anything can be deduced from the enormous popularity of shows like Downton Abbey, The Crown, and Call the Midwife it's that people really love period dramas set in England. Whether they're derived directly from real-life people and events (like CTM) or are a historical fiction set in a real time period and around true events (hello, Crawley family of Downton), viewers can't get enough of shows like these. That's why Starz's upcoming series, The White Princess, is already racking up so much hype. But is The White Princess based on a book?
The White Princess is set during the time when historical figures Elizabeth of York and Henry VII have married, theoretically uniting England but privately feuding. It stars Jodie Comer and Jacob Collins-Levy as, respectively, the queen and king. The eight-episode miniseries is based on the novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory, who is also known for having written The Other Boleyn Girl (itself adapted into the 2008 movie starring Natalie Portman Scarlett Johansson).
Interestingly, the show isn't just an adaptation of a standalone novel — both the book and the new series on which it's based (ordered to series by Starz in 2016) serve as a sequel to the 10-part 2013 BBC miniseries The White Queen. BBC's show was based on three of Gregory's earlier novels: The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmaker's Daughter. All four of the books used as the basis of the two miniseries are part of the same larger Cousins' War series of six books. The events of The White Queen series pick up just three days after the conclusion of The White Queen.
The new show was first announced as in development back in 2013. According to The Telegraph, the BBC dropped The White Queen for its weak ratings and reception, but a Starz spokesman said at the time the series' development was announced that "American audiences are more forgiving than their British cousins when it came to historical inaccuracies" — so that already bodes better for the upcoming series than its BBC predecessor.
Here's a synopsis of the upcoming show, courtesy of Deadline:
The story begins as one of England’s most politically turbulent times – The War of the Roses – is coming to an end. An uneasy peace is achieved when former King Richard III is defeated at the Battle of Bosworth, and the victor, Henry Tudor, soon-to-be King Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy), is married to Lizzie (Comer) – a princess from a rival house and Richard III’s former lover.
Filled with intrigue, drama, romance, and (probably) plenty of sex, it certainly seems like The White Princess is gearing up to be "the feminist answer to Game of Thrones" as Harper's Bazaar put it — and that's not even to mention the fact that Game of Thrones alum Michelle Fairley (RIP, Catelyn Stark) appears in the upcoming show as Henry VII's mother, who doesn't particularly appear to like the titular White Princess.
The White Princess premieres on April 16.