The White Queen Episode Four Review – “The Bad Queen”


Warwick (James Frain) on his knees before Margaret of Anjou. ©Starz

Where the hell is Hastings, by the way?

Elizabeth is feeling guilty about Isabel losing her baby in the storm. Margaret Beaufort is being slightly hysterical somewhere. Warwick and George have made it to France, Isabel has lost her baby, and Warwick is planning to restore Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou to the throne. George has a sulk. Elizabeth gets wind of it and along with Jacquetta, convinces Duchess Cecily to lure George home to Edward and weaken the alliance. Warwick manages to drive off Edward, who takes Richard and Anthony to Flanders to regroup. Meanwhile Warwick puts Jacquetta on trial for witchcraft in a scene worthy of  the Black Adder, as Frain hams it up something fierce. Elizabeth is holed up in Westminster, heavily pregnant. Anne Neville is married to the crazy-eyed guy,  Margaret of Anjou’s son Edward, to seal the alliance between her and Warwick. Warwick gets Henry VI back on the throne, and Jacquetta gets to Westminster in the nick of time to deliver Elizabeth’s son.

The Good – Finally a glimmer of humanity. Margaret and Stafford share a lovely moment when he is trying to comfort her after she has to hand Henry over to Lord Herbert, and she shows her vulnerable side when they discuss the suicide of her father, and there are many gentle looks and smiles. Of course it is ruined soon enough.

The Bad – Can someone explain why it was necessary for Margaret of Anjou to stop and check out her naked son as he was getting into bed to consummate his marriage to a terrified Anne Neville? Edward of Lancaster appears to be trying to channel Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange.

If a Lancastrian mother loves her son, she must also harbor a subconscious (or not so subconscious) desire to sleep with him.
-See Susan Higginbotham’s Twelve Rules for Writing About the House of Lancaster: A Writer’s Guide


Margaret of Anjou (Veerle Baetens) with her son, Edward of Lancaster (Joey Batey). © Starz

The Ugly – It may seem like the Staffords grace this section every week. Margaret Beaufort has crossed the line from religious fanatic to village idiot, plotting in the scullery, plotting under the tree, plotting in the courtyard, taking time out to pull stupid faces, weep and shriek hysterically and attempt to do violence on random Lords. The inherent sexism in portraying a woman who is supposed to be calculating and cold as losing control of her emotions every other scene is plain, and at complete odds with what the original creator of this character was trying to portray. It’s disgraceful writing from a series that is produced by a woman.

On the historical side of things, just in case you were fooled into thinking Margaret Beaufort was plotting to capture the throne for her son from the moment of his conception, you might be interested in the fact that Margaret showed no disloyalty to the Yorks. She was suitably distressed when she was forced to part from Henry at such a young age, she was only eighteen herself after all, but she was handing him over to Lord Herbert as a ward, and she encouraged him to give good service. Later she ingratiated herself with the York court and actively worked to bring her son home from exile, not for any nefarious plot to overthrow the Yorks, but because she wanted him home and was hoping to have his titles restored to him. She didn’t begin to actively promote him as a claimant until Richard III took the throne.

By Olga Hughes.

Olga Hughes enjoys Philippa Gregory and history, to the horror of many. She runs the online magazine Nerdalicious with her partner C.S. Hughes.

Olga Hughes

Olga runs the online magazine Nerdalicious with her partner C.S. Hughes. Nerdalicious is the best source of Game of Thrones and other pop culture news, including books, film, sci-fi and medieval history.

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