Since The Other Boleyn Girl made such a splash, especially with its 2008 film adaptation starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, novelist Philippa Gregory has turned out book after book of first person female narratives, historical fiction of the era of the early Tudors and the Cousins’ War. (Gregory has an aversion to calling it "Wars of the Roses" but seems to be the sole voice against that classification.) With the film series of The White Queen released in 2013, we have what some consider a fuller pop culture alternative perspective on the women who intersect with the plays that first established Shakespeare’s reputation, the tetralogy we know as the three Henry VI plays and Richard III. The first film series incorporates action of Gregory's volumes The Lady of the Rivers, The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Kingmaker's Daughter and directly overlaps Shakespeare's action in his first written tetralogy. A later series, The White Princess, was developed and released on Starz, 2017. The seething rivalry between women that becomes prominent, especially in Emma Frost’s film adaptations, serves a way to address some of the difficulties of teaching a single history play. If, indeed, the historical novelist has accomplished her task, she will send the reader to the richer historical sources, just as the student of the history plays will want to know how and from what the dramatist has shaped his story. The detailed sources consulted for this paper include comments on films available in the JSU Library.
Gates, Joanne E. "ALT Wars of the Roses: A Guide to the Women in Shakespeare's First Tetralogy (Especially Richard III) for Fans of Philippa Gregory's White Queen Series" (2021). Presented at SAMLA and at JSU English Department, November 2017. JSU Digital Commons Presentations, Proceedings & Performances. https://digitalcommons.jsu.edu/fac_pres/5/