Unfortunately, there’s only one more episode left in Starz’ The White Princess first season following the airing of episode seven, ‘Two Kings,’ on May 28, 2017. Episode eight titled ‘Old Curses’ is set to end the season on June 4, 2017, but hopefully this well-written, entertaining, period drama featuring outstanding performances by the entire ensemble will return for a second season. There’s certainly a great deal of story still left to tell.
Episode seven begins with Lady Margaret (Michelle Fairley) returning to court with Prince Richard (Patrick Gibson). From her window high above, Lizzie (Jodie Comer) gets her first look at this young man who claims to be her brother. King Henry (Jacob Collins-Levy) doesn’t believe they look anything alike, but Lizzie remains silent.
King Henry and Queen Elizabeth are dressed in royal attire and seated on their thrones as Prince Richard is brought before them and tossed to his knees. He and Lizzie stare at each other as King Henry announces Richard will be hung, drawn, and quartered. Richard takes this news stoically, telling Henry it’s what he needs to do if he wants to remain on his throne. Richard declares he’s the son of King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville while continuing to stare at Lizzie. “I am rightful King of England. You thought that I was murdered, but I live,” says Richard. “You will stand aside and return to me the crown and throne which have been stolen from me or you will face the righteous wrath of all mighty God who will rage against your sin and cast you into hell.”
King Henry considers this for a brief moment and then slowly claps. Henry turns to Lizzie and asks if Richard is her brother. After a brief pause, Lizzie confirms her brothers are dead. Henry declares Richard will be the Knave of the King’s Wardrobe until he decides what he wants to do with him.
Lady Margaret’s furious Henry didn’t immediately put Richard to death, but Henry – and Lizzie – stand firm by the decision to let him live for now. Henry thinks killing Richard will make him a martyr, giving him the power he seeks. Instead, Henry will humiliate Richard until he gives up his claim.
That evening, Lady Margaret meets with Bishop Morton (Kenneth Cranham) and reveals she wants Richard’s wife and child found. The Bishop believes they’ve sought sanctuary in the church, but Rome has dictated traitors can’t find refuge within church walls any longer. Lady Margaret asks Bishop Morton to make the wife want to come to her husband, rather than being forced to do so.
Maggie (Rebecca Benson) visits with Lizzie’s sons and their chat about whether Prince Richard is a relative is cut short when Lizzie arrives. After her boys leave, Lizzie tells Maggie (who believes Richard’s story) he is not her brother.
Prince Richard is taken outside to be paraded through the streets. Maggie refuses to accompany her husband as Richard’s being humiliated, calling the vulgar display a blood sport. Meanwhile, Lizzie assures Prince Arthur that Richard is not his uncle but simply someone who has York looks.
King Henry and Queen Elizabeth lead the procession as the citizens throw food and stones at Richard. Richard stills their arms when he says Lizzie is a “natural Queen” and he won’t find pleasure in taking the throne from her. He also assures the people Lizzie’s only doing this to protect her sons. The people of London grow quiet as the procession continues down the road. As Richard walks, he’s close enough behind Lizzie to tell her, “Our mother hid me on the night the soldiers came for you. We didn’t say goodbye as you were angry with me. You’ve always felt our mother loved me more than you,” recalls Richard. “I miss you, Lizzie. I wish you would speak to me, but I forgive you.”
The people lining the street are now on Richard’s side and Lady Margaret commands the guards to return Richard to the palace. The public humiliation did not go as planned.
Once back in her room, Lizzie breaks down and looks at the ring she wears on her pinkie. She clutches that hand to her chest.
Richard’s brought to King Henry’s closet where he’ll be spending whatever time he has left in the castle.
The Duchess of Burgundy (Joanne Whalley) has not given up and has accompanied a few of her men on the search. One of her men informs her Richard’s being held at Westminster Palace.
Lady Catherine (Amy Manson) and her baby arrive at the court escorted by Bishop Morton. Lizzie and Maggie have no idea why she’s there, and it’s Lady Margaret who welcomes her to court. Catherine’s brought to where she can see her husband in the courtyard refusing to shovel horse manure. Catherine watches as her husband is pushed roughly to the ground, inches from the manure. She demands to know what’s going on, and Lizzie arrives to tell her Richard’s claims are false. Lady Margaret says Catherine’s marriage to Richard has been annulled, Catherine will go back to her maiden name, and now her baby is a bastard.
Catherine asks if she’s a prisoner and Lady Margaret assures her she’s their guest. However, if she wants to leave, then the baby must remain behind. As the midwives rip her baby away, Catherine calls out to the departing Lizzie asking her not to allow this. Lizzie ignores her pleas.
Catherine’s finally allowed to see Richard and they embrace and kiss. Richard’s horrified she’s at court with their baby, knowing what will happen to their heir. He told her to stay away and only now does Catherine realize she’s made a grave mistake. King Henry and Lady Margaret are eavesdropping on the conversation as Richard reminds Catherine the people who now rule his country are the ones who killed his brother and the other boy in the Tower and disposed of their bodies.
Catherine tells Richard of Lady Margaret’s offer to allow her to return to Scotland without the baby. Richard immediately says he’ll give up his claim, but Catherine doesn’t want him to. She won’t let him do that because it’s the only thing keeping him safe. Scotland would abandon him if he gave up the claim to the throne.
King Henry and Lady Margaret discuss what they’ve just heard, and he doesn’t understand why Richard believes a Tudor killed the boys in the Tower. Henry’s certain it was King Richard who had the boys murdered, and Lady Margaret agrees and calls Prince Richard a fake and a fool. (Lies slip easily off Lady Margaret’s tongue!)
In bed that evening, Henry explains Catherine was brought to court to break the link between Prince Richard and King James’ Scottish army. Lizzie’s not sure how he’ll break the union since Catherine actually cares for Richard, even though he has nothing to offer her. Henry tells Lizzie to take Catherine as her lady, which should sooth the Scots. He then asks about her brother and Lizzie is reluctant to answer. He all but demands she describe everything about the last day she saw him.
The scene switches to the streets where Richard’s being made to carry Henry’s weapons as the Royal Court heads out on a hunt. They stop in a clearing to hunt, and Henry commands Richard to beat the bushes with a stick. Both King Henry and Lady Margaret aim their bows and shoot near the feet of Richard.
While this is going on, Maggie and Catherine quietly talk about Catherine’s predicament. Catherine knows Maggie believes Richard is legitimate and tells her to back his claim if she wants her brother, Teddy, freed from the Tower. Lizzie notices them whispering and calls for Maggie to come and stay beside her.
King Henry is the next to approach Catherine as Richard continues to beat the bushes. He asks her to dine with them that evening and she turns him down. Henry promises to make sure she’s taken care of.
Lizzie rides up behind Richard and asks him who’s the patron saint of hunting. He responds correctly, adding that it was Uncle Anthony who taught them about that saint. Henry, angry, begins shooting arrows in Richard’s direction which upsets Lizzie.
“You know I am your brother,” says Richard as Lizzie tells Henry to stop shooting. Richard, unwisely, uses this opportunity to tell King Henry if he steps aside, his family will be well taken care of. Henry repeatedly commands Richard to shut up, but he doesn’t. Henry, now furious, rides up to where Richard is standing but just feet away his horse rears up and Henry’s crown falls from his head to the ground. Richard eyes it and then picks up it, only reluctantly handing it to Henry. Richard then smiles and Lizzie looks grief-stricken. The hunt is called off and they return to the palace.
During this incredible stand-off, Maggie has wandered after a bird. She’s grabbed from behind and a man places his hand over her mouth. He delivers a message from the Duchess of Burgundy asking her to come to the market at midnight. He runs away before Maggie can react.
Back at court, Lizzie questions Maggie on her conversation with Catherine. She then demands Maggie serve as one of her ladies. Maggie had hoped to return home, but Lizzie wants Maggie and Sir Richard Pole to remain at court since Henry trusts them.
Prince Richard circulates pouring wine for those assembled at court for dinner. King Henry’s nowhere to be seen, and Richard tells Lizzie she looks like their mother did when their father was off with his mistress, Jane Shore. Lizzie leaves the dining hall, sending her ladies away as she visits her boys’ bedroom.
Maggie’s able to sneak out and meets with the Duchess of Burgundy. The Duchess wants Maggie’s help rescuing Richard, Catherine, and the baby. She knows Richard’s being kept in the King’s Wardrobe and she’s seen the laundry barges go by on the river, barges that could carry Richard to safety if he managed to escape the locked room. Maggie doesn’t want to be involved because it would mean instant death to Teddy, and the Duchess assures her Teddy will never be free anyway while Henry is King. If Richard’s King, they will free Teddy.
Lizzie confronts Catherine, insulting the way she looks as Catherine admits she had a “prodigious” night with Henry as was his wish. Catherine is affected by this and slaps Catherine’s forehead, calling her empty-headed. She asks if Henry touched her or if she touched him, and Catherine says no to both questions. Lizzie deliberately spills a chamber pot and commands Catherine to clean it up.
As Prince Richard, Lady Catherine, Lizzie, and members of the court walk outside the palace, King Henry walks by Catherine and smiles. He then says loud enough for everyone, including Richard, to hear, “Quite a night I had with Lady Catherine. I am spent.”
Lizzie instantly confronts Henry and asks about his motivation. She points out Catherine and Richard are in love and Henry will not be able to turn her against her husband. Henry seems determined to try, thinking it will take away Richard’s strength. He explains that everywhere Richard goes, noble men and women are drawn to him. “He taunts me with his dazzle,” says Henry. Henry adds that even Lizzie’s affected by Richard’s presence, assuring her he’ll toss Richard into darkness soon. When he tries to take her hand, Lizzie refuses to give it to him.
At dinner, King Henry commands Catherine to dance for him. Even Lady Margaret disapproves of Henry’s tactics. However, as Lizzie watches Catherine and Richard dance, she tells Lady Margaret that although Catherine may think she’s influencing Henry, it’s she who’s being played like a puppet. When Lady Margaret suggests the King is taken with Catherine, Lizzie claims it’s all an act. Lady Margaret then hints that when the baby is sent to the Tower, Catherine will leave.
Lady Margaret tells Lizzie not to object to Henry sleeping with Catherine since Henry is the King. Lizzie leaves dinner before it’s finished as King Henry and Catherine continue dancing. She passes by Richard who tells her she should not react to this. Maggie then whispers to Richard when they’re alone that the Duchess of Burgundy is planning a rescue. He asks after his son and says he won’t leave him in Tudor hands. He adds, “I am the King and I am winning.”
Lizzie is alone in her bedroom, tossing and turning. She rises and goes to Henry’s room, but his bed has not been slept in.
The next morning, every woman Lizzie passes appears to be gossiping about Henry and Catherine. Lizzie confronts him once again, telling him he’s disrespected her and shamed her. Henry reminds her she did the same thing with her uncle King Richard. Lizzie reminds him she was in love with King Richard which makes it different. Lizzie asks if Henry loves Catherine and he responds by asking her if she loves Prince Richard. Lizzie says she doesn’t, calling Richard and Catherine her burden. (It sounded as if Lizzie was about to say, “He is my brother,” and Henry reacted as if startled.) Lizzie tells her husband Catherine and Richard are tearing them apart and must be dealt with.
Lizzie and Lady Margaret visit baby Edward, named after Lizzie’s murdered brother. Lady Margaret reminds her to see that baby for who he will become.
Prince Richard is once more brought before King Henry and Queen Elizabeth, and Lizzie demands he read a letter out loud. It names Richard as Perkin Warbeck, the son of a boatman. If he confesses that’s his true identity, then his family will live. Richard says, “My name is Prince Richard of York, your brother!” Lizzie screams at him to read the note while Catherine tells him not to deny his birthright.
Lady Margaret adds to the drama by announcing baby Edward will be brought up by a family in London, and Catherine and Richard protest. They will forfeit their son because they have threatened Henry’s family’s life. Catherine begs Henry but he pays her no attention as he storms out of the room.
Away from the crowd, King Henry asks his mother what she’s done with the baby. She tells him not to concern himself and Henry doesn’t want to be protected from the truth. He wants to know what it was Jasper was about to reveal right before he died, but Lady Margaret does not reveal her secret.
Maggie tends to a quivering Catherine, trying to get her to rise from Lizzie’s bed. When Lizzie enters the room and demands Catherine get up, Maggie asks Lizzie how she could have done this to a baby. Lizzie’s having none of this from Maggie, telling her she doesn’t like who she’s become.
Prince Richard is once again brought in front of King Henry and Queen Elizabeth. He’s given the letter to read denouncing his claim to the throne, and this time he reads it as written. The letter includes a confession that he impersonated Richard the Duke of York and that he’ll accept his sentence.
Sir Richard Pole (Andrew Whipp) finds Maggie and tells her to apologize to the Queen for insulting her. She won’t, and she realizes Teddy will never be let out of the Tower.
King Henry’s troubles are not over as no one believes Richard is Perkin Warbeck. And because he read the proclamation, Richard/Perkin cannot be tried for treason since he’s not an Englishman.
Lizzie meets Maggie in the hallway and demands an apology. Maggie won’t apologize and instead reminds her about the curse. Since Lady Margaret killed Lizzie’s brother and the servant boy, one of Lizzie’s sons is living in the curse’s shadow. Lizzie corrects her, saying King Richard killed the boys. Maggie can’t understand why Lizzie would say that now, knowing Lizzie was in love with King Richard. Maggie says the idea of King Richard killing the boys is a lie, and it was Lady Margaret who killed the boys. “Lady Margaret killed the first prince and if you even think there is a chance that boy is your brother Richard, then you cannot hurt him, Lizzie, or the curse falls on your sons as well,” says Maggie. Maggie adds that she’s aware Lizzie knows Richard/Perkin is her brother.
King Henry is visibly uncomfortable while seated at dinner, removing articles of clothing as though they were full of bugs. He’s also muttering about Richard/Perkin laughing at him. Henry suddenly yells, “They’re poisoned,” and Lizzie rushes to his side. Henry thinks Richard poisoned his clothes and continues to rip them off, following Richard as he’s hauled away from the dining hall. The guards throw Richard onto the floor and Henry begins viciously kicking him. Lizzie tells Henry to stop and he finally does, leaving Richard bloodied but alive.
Henry is in a horrible state when he returns to his room, complaining the more he tries to break Richard, the more Richard is loved. “They whisper. They say God hates me. They would kill me and our sons,” says Henry, looking pale and ill.
The next morning Lizzie approaches Maggie and hands her the key to Richard’s room. She says Richard can see Catherine that evening.
Maggie rushes to Richard’s room and finds him with his face still bloody and torn up. Richard struggles to speak, now understanding that Maggie believes he’s truly Richard. They leave the room and Maggie helps Richard walk as he’s too weak to do it on his own.
Meanwhile, Lizzie sets King Henry’s Wardrobe on fire. She hurries to Catherine’s room where she finds her cradling Richard on her lap and tending to his cuts. Lizzie tells them to leave immediately, revealing the fire will make everyone believe Richard burned to death. Lizzie tells them they must disappear together and never be seen again. She warns them to give up their claim, buy land, and start over. They will be presumed dead so they can’t appear in public or use their names.
Catherine keeps asking questions and Lizzie tells her she’s giving them a chance to escape but they have to flee now. Although she hasn’t called him Richard, he’s sure with this action that Lizzie believes he’s her brother. “You would not go against your husband for a boat builder’s son but you would to save your brother. You know that I am Richard,” says an emotional Richard. Lizzie begs them to leave and she’ll make sure their baby is brought to them and that they’ll be safe.
Catherine asks Richard to make the decision for them.
Shortly thereafter, men work hard on trying to put out the fire and Catherine cries out for her husband. Lizzie says he must be dead, and Lady Margaret thinks Richard started the fire and his death is God’s work.
The work on extinguishing the fire pauses as a very much alive Richard emerges from the flames. Bloody and disheveled, Richard falls to his knees and says, “I am the son of King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville. I lived through battle, walked through fire, and I will have the throne of England!”
Lizzie can only shake her head and cry as she looks at Richard.
More on The White Princess:
– The White Princess Episode 8 Old Curses Recap
– The White Princess Episode 6 English Blood on English Soil 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