The White Princess” is an adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s novel of the same name. Fans tuned in the first week expecting to see Lizzie raped by Henry Tudor. Margaret Beaufort made it clear that Henry had to know Lizzie was fertile before Henry married her. However, the show took a different turn, making the sex consensual.

Executive producer Emma Frost has explained that changing the rape scene was important for Starz’s adaptation of “The White Princess.” It was a necessary move to keep young girls tune into the show.

It’s all about a strong, cunning Lizzie

Frost was turned off the idea of Lizzie being raped by her future husband. She acknowledged that there was no way Lizzie would ever allow herself to love a man who had raped her. The character would have certainly put up a fight and likely taken action to abort the child she ended up pregnant with.

That couldn’t happen for the show. Lizzie and Henry needed to marry. Instead, Frost made Lizzie a strong woman by accepting that Henry would want to make sure she was fertile. The character made a strategic choice to sleep with her husband before marriage to give him what he needed. Afterward, Lizzie was able to belittle Henry for how quickly he climaxed.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t an upsetting experience

Lizzie did consent to sex before marriage, but she made it very clear that she wasn’t happy. In fact, “The White Princess” wrote Lizzie turning to her mother to share what she felt. In Gregory’s novel, Lizzie believes that Richard III was innocent in her brother Edward’s death.

She believes that Margaret Beaufort killed the two boys in the Tower, so she hates the Tudor family for that.

Eventually, she realizes that Henry is just a pawn for his mother and step-father. He never had a choice in his destiny; the same way that Lizzie has never had the opportunity to marry for love. Had a rape scene happened, Lizzie learning to trust and care for her husband likely wouldn’t have been realistic.

Rape would turn young girls off "The White Princess"

The audience had to like both Lizzie and Henry in “The White Princess.” The other characters didn’t really matter, but fans needed to be on Henry’s side. If he raped Lizzie that wouldn’t have been possible, even doing it on the orders of his mother. Fans would have also turned off the screens, as people have regularly made it clear that they don’t like rape on TV.

Game of Thrones” fans made it clear they weren’t happy that the show had Jaime Lannister effectively rape Cersei in season 4. They wanted to like Jaime and were reminded that he had a dark, powerful side. “The White Princess” fans would have been equally turned off from Henry.

“The White Princess” continues on Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.