The White Queen (novel)

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The White Queen
White Queen (2009).jpg
First UK edition cover
Author Philippa Gregory
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Cousins' War
Genre Historical fiction
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
18 August 2009
Media type
Pages 432
ISBN 978-1-84737-455-4
Followed by The Red Queen

The White Queen is a 2009 historical novel by Philippa Gregory, the first of her series The Cousins' War. It tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort of King Edward IV of England.[1][2][3] The 2013 BBC One television series The White Queen is a 10-part adaptation of Gregory's novels The White Queen, The Red Queen (2010) and The Kingmaker's Daughter (2012), and features Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville.[4]

Gregory's 2011 novel The Lady of the Rivers is a prequel to The White Queen, narrated by Elizabeth's mother Jacquetta of Luxembourg.[5]


Young Elizabeth's husband, the Lancastrian knight Sir John Grey, has been killed in battle. She subsequently meets and falls in love with King Edward IV and with the help of her mother Jacquetta, Lady Rivers, they marry in secret. The story follows Elizabeth's life from her first meeting with Edward, through to his death and its aftermath. The mystery of the Princes in the Tower forms part of the action, with the novel questioning whether King Richard III was guilty of having the boys killed. In the novel, young Prince Richard is not sent to the tower; Queen Elizabeth instead substitutes a page boy for the prince, who escapes and lives under an assumed name. The novel ends in 1485, just prior to the Battle of Bosworth.

Critical reception[edit]

Publishers Weekly wrote of the novel, "Gregory earned her international reputation evoking sex, violence, love and betrayal among the Tudors; here she adds intimate relationships, political maneuvering and battlefield conflicts as well as some well-drawn supernatural elements." The review adds that the author "is especially poignant depicting Elizabeth in her later years" and that "she captures vividly the terrible inertia of war," but notes that the novel "may not be as fresh as earlier efforts."[1] Maureen Waller of The Telegraph called the novel "entrancing" and its heroine "intriguing," adding that "Gregory is very good at describing the bitchiness of the women in this tale of dynastic rivalry."[2]

The White Queen has been released in audiobook form in both abridged (performed by Bianca Amato) and unabridged (narrated by Susan Lyons) versions. AudioFile magazine wrote of the novel, "Gregory has become wildly popular in the U.S. It's easy to see why in her latest heady mix of history, romance, and political intrigue as she teases apart the tangled skeins of the War of the Roses." The magazine praised both recordings, calling Amato's performance "powerful and compellingly believable" and Lyon's voice "regal" and "self-possessed."[6][7]


  1. ^ a b "The White Queen". Publishers Weekly. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Waller, Maureen (14 September 2009). "The White Queen by Philippa Gregory: Review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "The White Queen (Official site)". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "BBC – Media Centre: The White Queen, a new ten-part drama for BBC One". 31 August 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Lady of the Rivers (Official site)". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Audiobook Review: The White Queen (Abridged/2009)". AudioFile. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Audiobook Review: The White Queen (Unabridged/2009)". AudioFile. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 

External links[edit]