Bestselling author (The White Queen, The Other Boleyn Girl) and English historian Philippa Gregory is one of the leading experts on the importance of women and their children in the British monarchy, but according to her all the hoopla over the new royal heir is pretty much pointless. “Politically, it’s of no significance really,” she said.
Philippa Gregory is the author of a new book, The White Princess, which tells the story of Henry VIII’s mother, Elizabeth of York, and the new Starz mini-series The White Queen is adapted from three of Gregory’s books about the strong and passionate women who waged political war in the era commonly known as “The War of the Roses.”
“The reason I really love these characters [in The White Queen] is because they are politically significant,” she explained. “The personal and the political is absolutely one. If the king is ill, then people actually believe that the body of state is ill. The king in fact embodies the nation. You know, if the king’s ill today, you’re just a bit sorry.”
So, is it possible then that modern interest in the royal heir is an inherited tradition from the days when having a healthy male heir was vital to the survival of the British nation?
“No,” Gregory said bluntly. “I really think it’s about modern celebrity. I think that what the royal family did—as part of their modernizing of themselves—was to start to work in modern media and to appeal to a modern public. I think that British royalty has become very much more like Hollywood royalty.”
But shouldn’t the royals be a little bit excited that Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy–and potential heir to the throne?
“It’s even less important than it used to be to have a boy because we changed the law. So, that significance is diminished.” However, Gregory did sweetly add, “So, it’s nice for them.”
So, congratulations are in order for Will and Kate, who are parents to a politically meaningless child! Hurrah!
The White Queen debuts on STARZ on August 10.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images, Splash News & BBC/Starz]