The Real White Queen And Her Rivals: Dr Philippa Gregory reveals the truth stories behind the three central female characters in the BBC’s hit Sunday night drama

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Dr Philippa Gregory, acclaimed author of The White Queen, presents this two-part documentary revealing the powerful true stories of the three remarkable women who inspired the story behind her book and it turn BBC One’s current historical drama of the same name.

The White Queen of the title is Elizabeth Woodville. Gregory recounts how Elizabeth saw her family murdered, her children endangered and how she was labelled a witch, but also tells how Elizabeth survived and thrived in the midst of war and conspiracy.

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Elizabeth’s main rival in the story is Margaret Beaufort, a stalwart of the House of Lancaster. Margaret was a child bride who devoted her life to the cause of her son Henry Tudor. Gregory tells how Margaret was a woman driven by religious piety and power politics who survived terrible hardship.

Finally Gregory discusses Anne Neville, privileged daughter of the most powerful noble in the land, the Earl of Warwick. Gregory describes how Anne becomes a crucial figure in the dynastic alliances that changed the nation’s history. For Gregory, the fact that this ear was known as the Cousins’ War at the time reveals just why the women were so important.

This was a battle between kin and the loyalties, rebellions, plots and betrayals of these women were decisive in shaping the history of England.

The Real White Queen And Her Rivals airs tonight on BBC2 at 9pm

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