Edward I died on 7 July 1307, exactly 699 years ago, at Burgh-on-Sands near the Scottish border. He was attempting another campaign against Robert Bruce, which his son, now King Edward II, immediately abandoned. The new king made clear what his priorities were by recalling his beloved Piers Gaveston from the exile imposed on him by Edward I a few months earlier.
Something I've just seen on Susan's website: a hilarious take on Christopher Marlowe's play called Edward II in 15 Minutes. My favourite bit:
ISABELLA: Your daddy is fucking the kingdom. Somewhat literally. Mr. Mortimer and I are making sure that it's going to be all straightened out for you. Also literally.
Also spotted lately on Bourgeois Nerd, the Advertising Slogan Generator. I put in 'Edward II', and these are my favourite results:
The best one: Men can't help acting on Edward II. I really need to get that printed on a T-shirt!
Suitable slogans for Piers Gaveston and Hugh le Despenser: Reach out and touch Edward II and Do the Edward II
Appropriate for Edward's strange (by fourteenth century standards) hobbies: Hand-built by Edward II and The curiously strong Edward II
Best slogan for this blog: I'm only here for the Edward II
There's been an article doing the rounds of blogdom lately. It talks about the fact that approximately 80% of English people alive today are descended from Edward III, and contains the following paragraph:
In 1312 the close adviser and probable lover of Edward II, Piers Gaveston, was murdered by a group of barons frustrated with their king's ineffectual rule. The next year the beleaguered king produced the son who became Edward III.
Had Edward II been killed along with Gaveston in 1312 — a definite possibility at the time — Edward III would never have been born.
I'm afraid this is total nonsense. Piers Gaveston was killed on 19 June 1312, and the future Edward III was born on 13 November in the same year. Gaveston's death had no impact whatsoever on Edward III's birth, as Queen Isabella was around four months pregnant at the time (and as I mentioned in a previous post, Edward III was probably conceived during the week-long celebration for the birth of Gaveston's daughter Joan). And there was really no 'definite possibility' that Edward II would be killed along with Gaveston. I doubt it would have occurred to anyone as early as 1312 - it took another fourteen years of misrule by Edward before his deposition was seriously considered. Although the deposition and murder of kings later became reasonably common, in 1312 it was practically unthinkable, however exasperated Edward's barons may have been with him.