Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series of historical novels were set right in the heart of The War of the Roses, a turbulent time in England’s history. Now comes The Shite Queen the TV adaptation. We begin with our girl Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson) who as a good Lancastrian lass was on the wrong side of The Battle of Towton the most bloody in England’s history. Her husbland was killed in the rout and now she’s broker than Riddick Bowe. What’s a young smoking hot widow to do? Perhaps unsurprisingly the answer is to make a personal appeal to the handsome new King Edward of York (Max Irons) to get back the land she lost in the post-Towton feudal reshuffle. The King is immediately
cuntstruck touched by Elizabeth’s plight. I think I can see where this one is going.
He visits her gaffe, is quickly impressed and wants to see around her garden. “I’ve got a bush you might be interested in” she offers. Edward likes the sound of that. To this end he takes some sass off her Lancaster loyalist family and agrees to give back her birthright if she will “meet” him by the road to “say goodbye” before he goes to battle. I think we all know what he means by that.
The King is immediately
cuntstrucktouched by Elizabeth’s plight. He visits her gaffe, he wants to see around her garden. “I’ve got a bush you might be interested in” she offers.
Well apparently not all of us. The roadside meeting does not go as planned. Louis CK once said that the only reason to rape someone is because you want to fuck them and they won’t let you and that certainly seems to be Edward’s philosophy. He tries to force himself on Elizabeth who fights him off then sticks a knife to her own throat threatening to kill herself if he comes one step closer. As self-defence tactics go this is towards the left-field but bizarrely it works and the King of sexual assault makes his exit muttering about what a pricktease she is. Charmed, your Grace.
Attempted violation was not the big deal back then it is today. The very next day King Rapesalot makes Elizabeth the happiest girl alive by asking her to marry him. She’s really chuffed. Well if Joan can marry her rapist and Daenerys Targaryen can learn to love hers I suppose there’s precedent so what the hell?
Attempted violation was not the big deal back then it is today. The very next day King Rapesalot makes Elizabeth the happiest girl alive by asking her to marry him. She’s really chuffed.
They marry in a private ceremony in a tiny church with few witnesses and Elizabeth’s brother points out “he’s tricked you with a pretend priest to get you into bed”. Not that old trick? In a way that’s worse than rape.
The problem is that Edward has to sell the marriage to his cousin, mentor and most trusted adviser Lord Warwick (James Frain). He’s trying to hitch Edward to some Royal French skank. It’s the smart move – it’s a good political union, she’s connected and, let’s not dissemble, sexually attractive. Elizabeth is a commoner whose family have always been red rosers. When you look at it like that there’s really only one option.
And yet when push comes to shove King Impliedconsent does the right thing – he announces he’s married to Elizabeth. Lord Warwick isn’t happy about that but what a wonderful happy ending!
But you can bet that’s not the end of it particularly If. You know. Your history. It’s enough to make your heart go ooooooooh fuck. It’s a decent enough opener and English mediaeval history is nothing if not eventful and ridden with intrigue, betrayal and decapitation. I think there might be legs on this one.
The verdict: The show that made it OK to rape again.
Marks out of 10: 7