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The White Queen - Episode 1.01 - Pilot - Press Release

Ep 1/10
Sunday 16 June
9.00-10.00pm
BBC ONE

Elizabeth Woodville, a beautiful, widowed commoner, waits by the roadside with her two young sons. Her husband died fighting for deposed Lancastrian King Henry VI, her ancestral lands and wealth have been confiscated and she faces destitution.

Her only hope is to use her beauty to try to catch the eye of her family’s greatest enemy, young York King Edward IV, as he rides out to battle, and plead her case.

It works, and the king stops and visits her family home at Grafton. Elizabeth is powerfully drawn to this man she expected to hate, and he too seems smitten. But at a passionate secret meeting, he tries to force himself upon her and Elizabeth has to draw his own dagger against him. Edward is affronted; as he leaves to fight, he vows that she will never see him again.

Elizabeth's mother, Jacquetta, weaves a spell and Elizabeth pulls a ring in the shape of a crown from the river - does this mean she will marry Edward?

Edward returns from battle and asks Elizabeth to marry him. With Jacquetta as witness they secretly marry. Edward then leaves for a final battle against Lancaster, promising to acknowledge the marriage publicly once he is victorious. Elizabeth’s brother Anthony discovers that his sister has been sleeping with the King and is outraged, believing that Elizabeth has been seduced into bed by a false wedding and empty promises.

After weeks without news, Elizabeth’s father, Baron Rivers and her brothers are called to court, predicting the announcement of Edward’s betrothal to a French princess, arranged by his mentor the Earl of Warwick. But, defying Warwick, Edward announces he is already married to Elizabeth. Elizabeth is jubilant and takes her place at the hostile court.

Edward’s brothers George, Duke of Clarence and Richard, Duke of Gloucester seem welcoming, but there are those against her. Warwick and his daughters Isabel and Anne had hoped the king was under Warwick’s control. And Lady Margaret Beaufort, cousin to deposed King Henry VI and mother to Henry Tudor, is also far from happy; her young son is a credible Lancastrian heir and Elizabeth stands in the way of her plans for him.

Elizabeth and Jacquetta meet Edward’s mother Cecily, who is so outraged by the secret wedding (to a Lancastrian commoner) that she threatens to end Edward’s reign by naming him illegitimate.

And so begins the battle royal for the throne...

Cast: Elizabeth Woodville is played by Rebecca Ferguson; Lady Margaret Beaufort is played by Amanda Hale; Anne Neville is played by Faye Marsay; Jacquetta Woodville is played by Janet Mcteer; King Edward IV is played by Max Irons; Lord Warwick is played by James Frain; Isabel Neville is played by Eleanor Tomlinson; Henry Stafford is played by Michael Maloney; Baron Rivers is played by Robert Pugh; George, Duke Of Clarence is played by David Oakes; Richard, Duke of Gloucester is played by Aneurin Barnard; Duchess Cecily is played by Caroline Goodall; Anthony Rivers is played by Ben Lamb; Countess of Warwick is played by Juliet Aubrey; Mary Woodville is played by Eve Ponsonby.

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