Starz’ The White Princess continues its riveting first season with episode six titled ‘English Blood on English Soil’ airing May 21, 2017. Episode six begins with Sir William Stanley escorted to the executioner as his family, his peers, and King Henry (Jacob Collins-Levy) and Queen Elizabeth (Jodie Comer) look on. Before losing his head, Sir Stanley declares once again that Henry is not a King. After the executioner removes Stanley’s head, King Henry warns Prince Arthur he must be able to watch traitors die if he hopes to be the king.
Lizzie tries to convince her husband the rest of his men are loyal. They have a heart-to-heart on the grounds of Westminster Palace, away from prying eyes. Henry confesses he believes Lizzie was affected by her mother’s declaration that her brother, Richard, lives, and then Lizzie has her own confession to make. She reveals a servant was substituted for Richard and that her brother was sent to safety. She also confesses her real brother was with the family when Henry’s soldiers arrived to bring Lizzie and her mother to the palace. Richard was hidden away and since that day neither she nor her mother ever heard any word on his whereabouts.
King Henry is justifiably angry Lizzie’s withheld this information, but she explains they truly believed Richard was killed after they left when the soldiers slaughtered every young boy. Lizzy is certain her brother is dead and she knows Prince Richard in Burgundy is a fake. Henry calms down, but is still concerned because Richard is marrying Lady Catherine Gordon of Scotland and is coming for his crown.
The wedding of Prince Richard (Patrick Gibson) and Lady Catherine (Amy Manson) is underway at the Palace of Mechelen in Burgundy, France. Scotland’s King James and other royals from throughout Europe are gathered at the wedding, with the exception of Spain. Duchess Cecily (Caroline Goodall) believes Spain may be siding with the Tudors.
Following their wedding, Richard and Catherine are intimate. The next morning he admits to the Duchess of Burgundy (Joanne Whalley) it was difficult to get up and leave his wife alone in bed. They talk about who will support them in the upcoming war, and she’s not sure King James will back them. However, Dowager Queen Elizabeth is backing them financially and the Duchess is prepared to spend her own money to help Prince Richard gain the throne.
King Henry finds Lady Margaret (Michelle Fairley) praying in the chapel and tells her it’s been three months since Jasper died and she needs to return to the living. He begs her to stop mourning and help him, but she’s unmoved. Lady Margaret’s husband arrives with a note from Burgundy, but Lady Margaret pays neither man any mind.
Henry seeks out Lizzie with the news his men in Burgundy have figured out Richard’s real identity. The boy’s real name is Perkin Warbeck and Henry’s convinced Scotland will “throw him back to where he came from” after they discover Lady Catherine’s marriage is a sham. Lizzie looks upset at the news, but it turns out she’s actually emotional because she’s received another letter from her mother requesting she visit. Lizzie tosses the note in the fire.
In Bermondsey Abbey, Dowager Queen Elizabeth (Essie Davis) is in horrible shape and Maggie (Rebecca Benson) is tending to her. Elizabeth knows Maggie saw Prince Richard and asks after him. Sir Richard Pole (Andrew Whipp) answers for Maggie, declaring they saw a pretender – not Elizabeth’s real son. Elizabeth begs Maggie to ask Lizzie to visit her, admitting she believes she’ll die before she sees her daughter again.
Maggie does speak to Lizzie, but she doesn’t receive a warm reception when she attempts to talk about Burgundy or Dowager Queen Elizabeth. Lizzie reveals they’re now copying her mother’s correspondence to Burgundy before delivering it so they won’t be taken by surprise. Maggie isn’t deterred and discusses a letter Elizabeth received which said all of Europe has accepted Prince Richard, except Spain. Lizzie’s happy to hear Spain didn’t attend, and quickly leaves Maggie to tell Henry they must confirm Arthur’s betrothal to Catherine of Aragon. She informs Henry and his council of Spain’s decision to not back Prince Richard, and although Lizzie thought Arthur was too young, she now understands it’s the right time to set up the marriage. King Henry agrees and takes it a step further, saying they’ll make the arrangements in person.
Lady Margaret attempts to confess her involvement in Jasper’s death to Bishop Morton (Kenneth Cranham), however he declares she’ll be cleaned if she gives alms to the abbeys. He also tells her she must rededicate herself to God.
King Henry names Sir Richard Pole Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Arthur, Prince of Wales. Sir Richard will be Arthur’s tutor while Henry is away, but this means Sir Richard and Maggie will have to remain at the palace and can’t immediately return to Wales. Henry assures Maggie they’ll bring her son to her, and informs them Lady Margaret will be in charge of young Harry.
Lady Margaret and Harry head out on a pilgrimage, with King Henry hopeful the journey will pull his mother out of her grief.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Burgundy reminds Prince Richard he still needs to win Scotland’s support. Richard and his now pregnant wife set out for Scotland after he assures Duchess Cecily God will decide the outcome. After they ride off, Duchess Cecily confesses to the Duchess of Burgundy that she’s not sure Richard is her grandson. Cecily believes Richard had green eyes, but the Duchess says Edward had green eyes and Richard had blue. The Duchess of Burgundy is positive Richard’s destiny is to destroy Henry Tudor.
King Henry and Queen Elizabeth arrive in Spain and are introduced to Princess Catalina of Aragon. She’s a beautiful young girl and she performs a graceful dance for the visiting royals. Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon are introduced next, and King Henry and Queen Elizabeth bow and thank them for their hospitality. Henry would like to form an alliance through marriage, and Queen Isabella notes Catalina is beautiful and rich, and Spain is the mightiest land in Europe.
After being told King Henry does not speak Spanish, King Ferdinand asks Queen Isabella if Henry’s gotten rid of the two pretenders. Isabella informs him Henry hasn’t, insulted that King Henry hasn’t put his house in order before striking out to make this alliance. Lizzie surprises Isabella by speaking in Spanish, revealing she learned it so she can speak with Catalina at Court. Isabella cuts to the chase, demanding they kill Teddy and Prince Richard so that the throne cannot be snatched out from under her daughter if she marries Arthur. Until they’re dead, there will be no marriage agreement.
Isabella demands Lizzie tell Henry they’ve been discussing the need for a Papal Dispensation, and Lizzie does just that. Lizzie tells Henry it will take time.
Dowager Queen Elizabeth dreams of Richard getting closer. In reality, he’s leading an army that has crossed the River Tweed and is getting closer to the castle. Sir Richard alerts Maggie to wake Arthur so he can be secured in the Tower for safety.
Maggie and Richard deliver Arthur to the Tower where Teddy’s mental condition has disintegrated even further.
Lady Margaret and Harry are informed Cornwall’s risen and they must hurry to Beauly. Scotland has invaded with Prince Richard leading the rebellion. Lady Margaret thanks her saviors and assures them she’ll have a library built for them at Beauly Abbey. She also decides to cut short her pilgrimage and return to London once the threat has passed.
King Henry and Queen Elizabeth return and are informed Prince Richard has raised an army of 4,000 men. 1,400 German and Flounders mercenaries are part of that number, and King Henry’s informed he can’t pull men from Cornwall or Kent since both are rebelling over taxes levied against them to support King Henry’s war with Scotland. King Henry, angry over these developments, asks if Essex and Suffolk are with him or if he’s lost the South and Southwest. He orders his men be readied, mercenaries to be hired to fill out their numbers, and a record kept of the traitors who don’t follow their King in this battle.
King Henry’s men prepare him for war, and Lizzie finishes the job by placing his sword in its sheath. Henry’s sad to note it will be his first battle without Jasper Tudor and Lizzie assures her husband Jasper’s strength rides with him.
Lady Margaret and Harry return and Lizzie cuts her off as she talks about prayers and the pretender, Prince Richard. Meanwhile, at the Abbey, Dowager Queen Elizabeth creates a spell to give Prince Richard strength to stay alive.
King Henry and his men set up camp and as he looks across a field into the trees, Henry hears men but can’t see them. A further search reveals no one is lurking in the nearby forest.
King Henry returns home to a relieved Lizzie who quickly embraces him when he announces Prince Richard withdrew without a fight. Lizzie realizes Richard’s allies will know from his withdrawal that he’s not a York because no York man would run. They kiss and then the action moves to the bedroom where they celebrate King Henry’s return unscathed. (Note: this is a gorgeously shot and choreographed sex scene.)
The Duchess of Burgundy is furious Prince Richard fled the battlefield when he learned his son was born. She has a note from King James threatening to make peace with King Henry because of this defeat. Duchess Cecily stills the Duchess of Burgundy’s anger by reminding her Richard’s decision equates to him acting like a King and making up his own mind. The Duchess of Burgundy takes heart from the fact there’s now a new York heir. She also realizes when Henry discovers the news of a York boy, he’ll be furious.
King Henry is in fact angered over the news because it strengthens Richard’s claim. He’s also convinced Richard will attack again and he knows they’re going to need Spain if they hope to be victorious.
Lizzie pens a note to Sir Thomas Howard begging him to stay true to his noble side and rally behind King Henry. It’s not the only letter she writes to drum up support.
Dowager Queen Elizabeth is near death’s door when King Henry tells Lizzie she must go to her mother and say goodbye. He confesses he regrets not seeing Jasper right before he died. He also reveals Prince Richard has sailed from Scotland to Land’s End and 8,000 Cornish men have joined him. This means King Henry must leave now to lead his men into battle once again.
Lizzie follows Henry’s advice and visits her mother one final time. Elizabeth tells Lizzie she waited for her and begs her to be there for her brother, Richard. Lizzie cries, telling her mother she loves her. Elizabeth asks Lizzie to keep Richard from danger, and Lizzie says once again that Richard is dead. Elizabeth won’t be dissuaded, convinced Richard is returning. She dies and Lizzie weeps on her mother’s chest.
Next we see Prince Richard’s wife and baby are with him at a camp prior to the upcoming battle. He sends them away, declaring he’ll come for them after he wins. They share a kiss and Lady Catherine leaves.
Lizzie rides through King Henry’s camp and the rowdy soldiers speak to her roughly. She finally arrives in King Henry’s tent as he’s being told most of the nobles will not fight for him. Lizzie’s incredulous and wants to know why they didn’t come. King Henry says they’re blaming it on the sweating sickness but, truthfully, it’s because King Henry has no one fighting for him while Richard has every kingdom (except Spain) as well as King Henry’s own men. “No! No, they are traitors. They will not do this!” says a furious Lizzie.
Lizzie rides off and catches up with King Henry’s men, demanding they listen to her. “England is invaded by a pretender and the Scots. Since when have Englishmen feared Gaels and Celts and run from warfare with their tails between their legs?” she asks. When they respond they’re siding with Richard the true King of York, Lizzie replies, “If he were Richard, he would be my brother and I would tell you so myself. But he is here to kill your King and rob England of what was never his. If you fear God, then you will honor your true King, Henry Tudor. And if you will not do it for your King, then do it for me, the daughter of Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville who has just passed from this life into God’s hands.”
Lizzie returns to King Henry’s camp at the head of a long line of Henry’s men. She tells Henry his men will support him. “When this battle is over, you will live in peace with your families knowing you have done your duty to your King, your God, and to your Queen,” says Henry. The men cheer.
Lizzie and Henry share a quiet moment in his tent, and she asks her husband to please come back to her. He sends her off with a kiss.
A bloody battle ensues and Richard and King Henry make their way through the fight. Both command some of their men to advance toward the leader of the opposing army, shields up. They slowly move forward while all around them the battle rages on. King Henry loses sight of Prince Richard but spots his banner left on the ground where Richard was last seen standing.
King Henry returns home and there’s a celebration because Prince Richard withdrew. King Henry doesn’t believe it’s the end of the battle, but then a note is delivered to Sir Thomas Stanley. King Henry silences the crowd so the note can be read. It says Richard has claimed sanctuary at Beauly Abbey. Lady Margaret volunteers to go to the Abbey to fetch Prince Richard. She believes this is God’s plan for her and was the purpose of her pilgrimage. “My calling is to be the guardian of his reign,” she says, looking at her son.
Lady Margaret, accompanied by a few men, rides to Beauly Abbey which is where she stayed until it was safe for her to return home from her pilgrimage. The same monks who helped her are now housing Prince Richard and they reluctantly turn him over. She commands one of her guards to exchange clothes with Richard who looks regal in his gold attire. Inside the Abbey, Catherine watches as Richard is taken away.
King Henry and Lizzie receive the good news that Lady Margaret has Richard.
More on The White Princess:
– The White Princess Episode 8 Old Curses Recap
– The White Princess Episode 7 Two Kings Recap
– The White Princess Episode 5 Traitors Recap
– The White Princess Episode 4 The Pretender Recap
– The White Princess Episode 3 Burgundy Recap
– The White Princess Episode 2 Hearts and Minds Recap