...to Edward II and Queen Isabella, who married on Thursday 25 January 1308, at the church of Notre Dame in Boulogne.
The royal wedding was, naturally, a magnificent occasion. Edward, who had controversially made Piers Gaveston Keeper of the Realm, left England on Monday 22 January, from Dover. He arrived in Boulogne on the 24th, three days late; the Channel crossing in January was probably horrendous.
Edward's huge retinue was housed in canvas tents in and around the town. The king himself had lodgings near the church, which he shared with Isabella after the wedding - though it's extremely unlikely that the marriage was consummated, given Isabella's youth. She was almost certainly only twelve; Edward was twenty-three and nine months.
Excluding Edward himself, the nuptials were attended by seven kings and queens, and other notables -
Isabella's mother Jeanne, Queen of France and Navarre, had already died, almost three years earlier, but Isabella's father was present: Philippe le Bel, or Philip the Fair, forty this year and king of France since October 1285. He was currently engaged in the destruction of the Knights Templar; his enemy Bernard Saisset, Bishop of Pamiers, said of him "he is neither a man nor a beast, but a statue." His eldest son Louis was there, the future Louis X of France, at this time eighteen years old and King of Navarre, which he had inherited from his mother. Also present were Isabella's other brothers, Philip and Charles, also destined to be kings of France, and her younger brother Robert, who was ten or eleven, and died a few months later.
- Charles II, King of Naples and Sicily, titular King of Jerusalem, known as 'the Lame'
- Albert of Hapsburg, King of the Romans, with his Queen Elisabeth of Tyrol. Albert died on 1 May of this year.
- Arch-Duke Leopold I of Austria, who was only seventeen; he was one of the seven sons of Albert and Elisabeth (they also had five daughters.)
- Marie of Brabant, Dowager Queen of France, widow of Philip III and stepmother of Philip IV
- her daughter Marguerite, Dowager Queen of England and stepmother of Edward II.
- Presumably, Marguerite brought her two sons, Thomas (aged seven) and Edmund (aged six), half-brothers of Edward II and cousins of Isabella.
- Queen Marie's son, Louis, Count of Evreux - half-brother of Philip IV
- Charles, Count of Valois. Philip IV's brother (they were the sons of Philip III by his first queen Isabella of Aragon).
- Queen Marie's nephew Duke Jan II of Brabant and his wife Margaret, who was one of Edward II's three surviving sisters.
- and finally, 'a whole host of European nobility'.
The royal couple must have looked absolutely superb. Isabella wore a gown and overtunic in blue and gold, and a red mantle lined with yellow sindon; fifty years later, she would be buried with this mantle. Edward wore a satin surcoat and cloak embroidered with jewels. Both wore crowns glittering with precious stones. Isabella's trousseau was equally impressive; she took to England with her seventy-two headdresses, 419 yards of linen, many furs, two gold crowns, tapestries, and numerous dishes, spoons and plates of gold and silver.
King Philip's wedding presents to Edward and Isabella included rings and other jewellery, a couch 'more beautiful than any other' and expensive warhorses. He also handed over Isabella's dowry of 18,000 pounds, which he had appropriated from the Templars.
Eight days of celebration and feasting followed the wedding ceremony, with the most magnificent feast of all taking place on the 28th. On the 30th, Edward hosted yet another great feast. All in all, it was a superbly lavish occasion, as befitted the wedding of the King of England and the King of France's daughter, but there were tensions and conflicts beneath the surface. Philip IV took the opportunity to present Edward with a list of his grievances concerning Gascony, which Edward ignored; apparently, he retaliated by sending all his and Isabella's wedding gifts to Piers Gaveston. While in France, a group of English nobles, including the earls of Pembroke, Lincoln, Surrey and Hereford - the latter two Edward's nephew by marriage and brother-in-law - put their seals to the Boulogne Agreement, which attempted to separate the two sides of kingship - the king as a person, and the Crown, and stated that the barons' loyalty was due to the Crown. This demonstrates the enormous concern over Edward's reliance on Piers Gaveston.
And Edward soon proved yet again that this concern was completely understandable. On 7 February, when the royal party arrived back in Dover, the king caused a huge scandal by ignoring Isabella and hugging and kissing Piers Gaveston in front of everybody. If Isabella had been unaware of Gaveston's existence and her new husband's relationship with him, she certainly wasn't any longer...