When watching period dramas based on historical events, it may be tempting go peruse Wikipedia and find out what happens next. Oftentimes, if it's not just a biopic or documentary, producers will emphasize the "fiction" in "historical fiction." Viewers can see this in recent episodes of The White Princess. Richard, Elizabeth of York's brother, came back into the picture after being presumed dead as a child. In real life, Richard unfortunately did perish when he was young, so the audience can't look to history for spoilers. But who plays Richard on The White Princess? Fans may already be familiar with Patrick Gibson.
Richard first appeared in the premiere of the series as a little boy. He was separated from his family, the Yorks, soon after Henry VII took the throne. Richard — full name Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York — and his brother, Edward V, became known as the Princes in the Tower. At 9 and 12 years old, respectively, they were mysteriously killed in the Tower of London. There are a few suspects – like Henry VII himself. That would not be surprising, seeing as he sentenced Elizabeth of York's cousin, Teddy (aka Edward Plantagenet), to the Tower of London when he was 10 years old and had him executed at 24. After 500 years, though, whomever killed the princes has not gone beyond speculation.
In The White Princess, however, Richard's death had been faked, though Lizzie and her mother were unsure if he'd managed to escape the house when the soldiers came to take them to the palace. But clearly he survived and is all grown up now. He's portrayed by Irish actor Patrick Gibson, who made his television debut on The Tudors. He was in three episodes as the son of Robert Aske, a political leader executed by Henry VIII. What viewers may really know Gibson from, however, is Netflix's The OA. He plays Steve Winchell, and was called the series' breakout star by Newsweek. Now, Gibson is going back to the Tudor-era, but now he will be more in the forefront of things.
Gibson spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his role on The White Princess and he didn't hold back about what Richard aims to do. "I’m a character who was sent to the Tower of London and comes back claiming to be the rightful heir to the [English] throne," he said. "I basically try to claim that Henry VII is an illegitimate king and I have the rightful claim. It’s so complicated." Thankfully, fans of The White Princess are already used to complicated by now. Viewers can be sure that Gibson will show off his acting chops as a prince who seemingly came out of nowhere, but he's not going back without a fight.