Warning: This post contains spoilers from Sunday’s episode of The White Princess.
Tough to tell what was harder for Lizzie to do in this week’s The White Princess: survive childbirth or realize that she kinda sorta likes her husband?
On the one hand, the new queen safely delivers Henry’s son, Arthur — no small feat in the 1400s, especially considering the curse Lizzie fears will befall her child the moment he draws his first breath.
But there’s also the matter of the young queen’s diminishing distaste for her son’s father, a softening that causes her to choose him over her own mother and spend the night cuddling in his bed rather than conspiring with the dowager queen during her imprisonment at an abbey. (About that: He finds out that Elizabeth was behind the attack last episode, and acts swiftly to shut down the rabble-rousing royal.)
We went to Jodie Comer, who plays Lizzie, to discuss the royal couple’s slow-burn romance, Lizzie’s coronation — oh, and that loud delivery scene, too.
TVLINE | Let’s start with that labor scene.
Oh god. [Laughs]
TVLINE | You have no children, correct?
TVLINE | What kind of research did you do?
I could only imagine how horrific labor is nowadays, but to have a baby in those times… The amazing surgery and doctors and everything we have now wasn’t around then. I watched it and I was like, “Oh god, is that a bit over the top?” [Laughs] I remember I did the scene and I came out and one of the [crew members], he’s in his early 50s, big, kind of bald guy, he said, “Oh, you sounded just like my wife!” I was like, “Oh, OK then.” [Laughs] “I’m on the right track.” I can only imagine that it must be horrific. That’s the thing, I’ve never had a baby, so I think I probably scared myself out of having a baby. [Laughs]
We shot that scene for so long. I felt like I had a really out of body experience while shooting that scene, and I don’t know if it’s because I had an lack of oxygen because of the panting and the breathing. [Laughs] It was intense.
TVLINE | And then almost as quickly as Arthur is born, Margaret grabs him away from Lizzie. The point is made later that the child belongs to England as its future ruler. Do you think becoming a mother — and then realizing everything that’s involved in being the mother of the future king — changes Lizzie on a deep level?
Baby Arthur bridges the gap between Lizzie and Henry. They both have a huge love for him, and they realize that once he’s born. I think Lizzie realizes now they’re connected in a way that can’t be denied, no matter what personal and political things they disagree on, they don’t disagree on this one thing. She finds her love of Henry through baby Arthur. She also realizes that her mother has always looked out for her and her sisters, and her mother is fiercely loyal to her family. As soon as Lizzie has a baby, I think she’s so much like her mom and she takes those traits with her. That’s what her mom is so worried about: She sees things changing and doesn’t really like it.
TVLINE | Right. At the end of the episode, she has a very clear choice to either go see her mother at the abbey or not… and she ends up in Henry’s bed.
TVLINE | How will that affect the relationship between the dowager queen and Lizzie after that?
Their relationship becomes very gray. Lizzie just feels so conflicted. She loves her mother, but she starts eharing things and she strats seeing signs that her mother is not being totally honest with her. And Lizzie’s like, “Please, if you know anything, just be honest with me. Just be upfront.” There’s a lot of distrust. Once Lizzie’s made queen and she has baby Arthur and she starts finding these feelings for Henry, she’s very confident in her position… What wasn’t very important to Lizzie soon becomes the be-all and end-all.
I got on so well with Essie [Davis, who plays Dowager Queen Elizabeth], we had a mother-daughter bond. It was very interesting seeing in Episode 1 where they’re thick as thieves and then as the episodes go on, there’s a lot of things Lizzie did where I’m like, “Oh God, Liz, you shouldn’t have done that!” or “Maybe you should have made more of an effort…” Just after midway [in the season], I think she has a lot of regrets. They definitely go on a big journey.