In the aftermath of Tewkesbury, Anne Neville comes to court to beg forgiveness from Edward, who grants it easily while Elizabeth gives her best glower from the throne. Anne tries to plea for her mother, who is barricaded in sanctuary, to no avail, while Isabel tells her to forget her mother and show the Yorks her loyalty. Elizabeth throws a tantrum about the Neville sisters being forgiven, while Jacquetta tells her firmly to let it go. “England must have peace,” she said. “Everything else must be set aside.”
Meanwhile Anne is nervous about George being appointed her guardian, leading to a rather hysterical fight between her and Isabel, and Anne being locked in her room and tormented by Isabel and George for half of the episode. Margaret’s mother is dying, and Margaret makes a special trip to visit her and gloat from the bedside. Elizabeth discovers Edward in bed with his new mistress Jane Shore, which gives her something else to complain about for a while. Anne and Richard begin their clandestine meetings in the garden, and then we skip six months to Elizabeth with a big belly. Jacquetta is ailing. Margaret, who had written to Jasper asking to go to him, receives a letter back telling her to stay home, dashing her hopes. She promptly tells her advisor to negotiate a new marriage, and much hilarity ensues. Meanwhile Richard and Anne sneak off and get married, much to Edward’s apparent amusement and George’s horror. Elizabeth goes into a difficult labour too early, and her boy doesn’t look likely to live. Isabel and Anne make it up, while Elizabeth and Edward discover they are “not young anymore”. Someone appears to have fattened up the aging Edward by stuffing a pillow up his shirt in some scenes, while it mysteriously shrinks in other scenes.
The Hysterical: Margaret Beaufort and Sir Reginald put on an awesome display of comedy in this episode, the highlight being when Reginald was struggling to find something to recommend Margaret other than her money, to which she replied “You may tell him I have Saint’s knees.” The brokering between her and her potential new husband Lord Stanley was equally delightful.
The Good: It was nice to see little George Plantagenet, Elizabeth’s little-known third son. In reality he died before the age of two, having already been made the Duke of Bedford, which was Jacquetta’s title from her first marriage. But as we’re on a tight schedule I thought the scene with little George and Jacquetta was beautiful. Everyone must have been at least a little misty-eyed when Elizabeth placed her dying son in her dying mother’s arms and asked her to look after him. As for me, I bawled.
(Historical note: George Plantagenet was not born until after Jacquetta’s death. In Philippa Gregory’s novel, this scene happens with one of Elizabeth’s daughters at a later age. Historically, George was born in 1477, and died later at around the age of two. Jacquetta died in 1472.)
The Bad: I’d have preferred to see Jane Shore’s introduction played out more like the book, which was clever and somewhat amusing, rather than her boobs. But I suppose the series hasn’t had enough boobs to date. In the book, Edward shows a sudden and uncharacteristic interest in Anthony Woodville’s poetry and Elizabeth catches him out immediately (being spared actually having to catch him in bed with her). The real Jane (or Elizabeth) Shore was rather fond of the finer arts.
The Ridiculous: I am having a hard time buying that Elizabeth would not realize her son would not be sent away. Many princes were raised in separate households, and, traditionally, most noble heirs were sent to board with other noble families. Elizabeth’s family were courtiers, not farmers. And even farmers know that. Even more silly was the notion that she would try to talk Edward out of it.