Being king hasn’t been easy for Henry Tudor on Starz’s “The White Princess,” but luckily, he’s had a strong ally at his side – his beloved uncle, Jasper Tudor, played by Vincent Regan.
Jasper’s been the most influential parental figure in Henry’s life, and despite living in a society where there have been fierce betrayals (Richard III stealing the throne from Edward’s son, for one), he’s stayed loyal to his nephew who now sits on the throne of England.
And at this moment, ahead of Episode 3, Jasper is feeling a sense of pride over his nephew becoming king, while recognizing that there are serious threats to the young Tudor (like last week’s assassination attempt by Frances Lovell).
“Obviously he’s very happy after the Battle of Bosworth that his nephew is now king, but he’s very aware of all the potential problems that are inherent with the fact that the York family — Princess Elizabeth’s mother — that they’re still kind of gunning to get rid of King Henry,” Vincent Regan, who plays Jasper, told AccessHollywood.com, when we spoke to him earlier this week. “So he’s aware of that and he’s aware that alliances in Europe and recognition in Europe for the new king are really important, but obviously it gives him a great sense of pride to know that his brother’s [son] is now king. But at the same time, he’s obviously very aware that his nephew does a good job as being king, because he has been a father figure for Henry, because in history, Henry’s father was dead before he was born. And so basically, Jasper is Henry’s father. That’s pretty much how he would be if it was in this day and age. So obviously their relationship is very strong.”
King Henry made a bold move in last week’s episode after learning Lovell had fled to Burgundy following the assassination attempt that left Henry with a wound to his arm. Although his mother, Margaret (Michelle Fairley), advised her son to send warships to the rebel stronghold, Henry opted to send a peace envoy to meet with the Duchess of Burgundy. Instead of sending his stepfather, though, he announced he was sending Jasper — a smart move, but one that clearly hurt his mother, who loves Jasper, and which pained his uncle too.
“It’s an extraordinary relationship between Margaret and Jasper,” Vincent said, when we asked about playing that unspoken connection between the two characters. “It’s funny, there always appears to be another character or two other characters, in a way, inside the relationship –there’s Henry himself, because in a way, they both parent Henry, but also, the fact that Jasper is Margaret’s brother-in-law, there is still that sense that it’s not really the right territory to go to.”
Jasper loves Margaret, but feels he needs to “keep it simply as loving from a distance,” Vincent said.
“And then, when he goes to Burgundy, he meets the Duchess of Burgundy, and in a way, it makes him re-[evaluate] where he is in his life and what possibilities he has for finding emotional happiness in the future — potentially with the Duchess of Burgundy. But obviously, I don’t want to give too much away at an early stage,” he said.
The Duchess is a single lady and Jasper is a catch in the world of “The White Princess.” He not only has a strong connection to the king, but he’s also managed to survive fighting in so many conflicts during the Wars of the Roses.
“It’s an extraordinary life story. It would make a great television series all in itself – the story of Jasper Tudor,” Vincent said. “He’s probably one of the luckiest men in history. He’s been involved in so many battles, been captured, put in prison, escaped from prison. No one expected Jasper Tudor to survive to see his nephew as king, because it also must be remembered that Jasper Tudor comes from very common stock,” Vincent said.
“No one really expected him to get where he got and I suppose the lovely thing about Jasper is he takes everything in a very stoical way,” Vincent added. “There’s no sense of gloating over his attainment of power; there’s no sense of vengeance with the character. I’ve played quite a few historical characters in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever played such a gentle character — although, obviously, in a battlefield, you wouldn’t like to cross Jasper Tudor. But he really is a gentle character and he’s a fair character and he wants to build bridges and not destroy them.”
“The White Princess” continues Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.
— Jolie Lash