She’s known for her string of novels celebrating the royal women throughout history as she charts the ups and downs of the Kings and Queens of England, but author Philippa Gregory makes no secret of her republican views.
Speaking earlier today at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Gregory asserted her opinion that England no longer needs a monarchy and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should be allowed to lead a quiet, private life.
“I’m a republican because I think the job of a king or queen is not appropriate to our society today,” she said. “I don’t think we need one and I think it’s time our society grew up and we’re citizens rather than subjects.
“I also would like to mount a campaign which would be called Free the Wales’s. I think it’s a horrible, horrible job and it’s horrible for them to do it and for me it’s horrible to see them have to do it. And I think they should be private people with, of course, an enormous fortune – I’m not guillotining them or pulverising them – and just live their lives. They don’t have to come and open anything as far as I’m concerned.”
The writer also spoke about the recent adaptation of her series based on the Plantagenet Cousins’ War. Gregory acted as one of six executive producers on The White Queen, a 10-part serialisation, and shared the behind-the-scene politics she encountered when it came to artistic decisions.
“When I didn’t like something and I said it, although I could say it very clearly, I was one of six people so if four other people said it too then it happened. If I was the lone voice crying in the wilderness it generally didn’t. So there were some things I was unhappy about but overall it was a wonderful experience.”
She continued, “I really enjoyed it and, of course, one of the things about when it’s embodied in someone else’s acting and when you have different scenery, it was quite a different experience for me from writing a novel. It was quite foreign so I did sit and watch it like a viewer. I enjoyed it.”
However, she wasn’t so enamoured by her experiences filming the documentary, The Real White Queen, which accompanied the BBC drama.
“I have to say that was agony. It was terribly, terribly cold and it was terribly, terribly dull. You have to be a woman of exceedingly great vanity to really put up with the coldness and doing the same thing over and over again to enjoy seeing yourself on television afterwards. It’s a very little pay off, and the other thing is I look so much older on television than I know I am. Documentaries are less of my forte at the moment.”