There are some great period dramas out there. While not all of them are made by the same people, they do have storylines that connect. The White Queen is just the start if you watch a selection of shows in order.
The White Queen, The White Princess, and The Spanish Princess are all based on books by Philippa Gregory. After that, we go into shows that aren’t based on books but they are (loosely) based on English and Scottish history.
You can get the story from the Wars of the Roses up to the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots if you watch various shows in the right order.
Start with The White Queen
The first series to start with is The White Queen. This tells the story of how Elizabeth Woodville met Edward IV of England. England was under the rule of the House of York, but it wouldn’t remain like that for too long. It would eventually go back, though.
We also meet Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII and the grandmother of King Henry VIII. It was because of her that her son realized that he needed to fight for the crown, and the two of them helped to combine the two warring houses.
Move onto The White Princess and then The Spanish Princess
Up next is The White Princess. This series is about Elizabeth of York and her marriage to Henry VII of England. The two of them together combined the Houses of York and Lancaster, bringing an end to the Wars of the Roses.
However, it wasn’t that simple. Henry VII needed to seek help from Spanish monarchs and form an alliance via a marriage between Catherine of Aragon and his first son Arthur Tudor. There was also the threat of Elizabeth’s brother, Richard. Well, a man claiming to be Richard turned up in an attempt to take the crown back.
The Spanish Princess is the next story. This is about Catherine of Aragon, who did marry Arthur Tudor eventually. The marriage was short-lived due to his death, and then she had to figure out what was next for her. She would eventually go on to marry Henry VIII of England, although it wasn’t immediate and it wasn’t without pain.
Both of these are on STARZ and are STARZ shows.
The Tudors is the next series to watch
The Spanish Princess focuses on the earlier life of Catherine. You’ll see how her marriage to Henry ended with The Tudors.
This series goes through the story of Henry VIII’s six wives. It does change history a little by only having one sister, which makes it hard to justify it being part of a list of shows to tell the story of England’s history. The focus is on Henry’s relationships with people—or lack of!
The series ends with Henry’s death. There isn’t really a series that follows Edward VI. Instead, we jump to Mary and Elizabeth. You can go back to the 1986 movie Lady Jane starring Helena Bonham Carter for a look at the nine days between Edward VI and Mary I.
Becoming Elizabeth and Reign are the final two
You’ll need to turn to Becoming Elizabeth after The Tudors. This is about a young Elizabeth I, before she ascended the throne. She ended up being a prisoner of her sister, a sister she had to stand with when Lady Jane Grey attempt to take over the throne—not by her choice!
Sadly, the series was canceled after one season so it didn’t go into Elizabeth’s early life all that well.
Reign is the final series to check out. This one is about Mary, Queen of Scots. If you want something that is historically accurate in terms of costumes and names, this is not the one. However, it gives a dramatic look at the life of Mary Stuart, great niece of Henry VIII and cousin to Mary and Elizabeth Tudor.
We even get to see Elizabeth I in this series. After all, she is important for the end of Mary Stuart’s life.
If you're interested in Catherine d'Medici after this, The Serpent Queen is the one to watch.
Keep up to date with Claire and Jamie for more period dramas to watch.