I can't remember now where I read it, but one non-fiction book on Edward II (or possibly a general fourteenth-century history) makes the extraordinary claim that Edward, unlike his wife Isabella, had few family connections to European royalty and nobility. This is emphatically not true, as this post will prove.
Athe time of his birth in April 1284, Edward II was closely related to the following:
- King Sancho IV of Castile and León was his first cousin, both of them grandsons of King Fernando III. Edward's uncle King Alfonso X died exactly three weeks before he (Edward, obviously) was born, that is, 4 April 1284.
- King Philip III of France was the first cousin of his father Edward I (their mothers Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence were sisters).
- King Diniz of Portugal was his mother Eleanor of Castile's first cousin once removed, son of an illegitimate daughter of Alfonso X of Castile.
- The King of Sicily and Naples, Charles of Anjou, was his father's uncle by marriage, husband of Beatrice of Provence.
-The future King Alfonso III of Aragón was betrothed to Edward's eldest sister. Alfonso succeeded his father in November 1285.
- King Alexander III of Scotland was Edward's uncle by marriage, widower of Edward I's sister Margaret.
- The future Duke Jean II of Brittany was Edward's uncle by marriage, widower of Edward I's sister Beatrice. Jean succeeded his father in October 1286.
- The Dowager Queen of Navarre and Countess of Champagne, Blanche of Artois, was Edward's aunt by marriage, married to Edward I's brother Edmund of Lancaster. Blanche was also the grandmother of Edward's wife Queen Isabella.
- His first cousin doña Violante of Castile, granddaughter of Fernando III, married dom Afonso of Portugal, brother of King Diniz.
- His first cousin don Juan Manuel, grandson of Fernando III, was Duke of Peñafiel and one of the most important Spanish writers of the Middle Ages.
- His first cousins Marie and Blanche, daughters of Duke Jean II of Brittany and Edward I's sister Beatrice, were Countesses of St Pol and Artois. Another of their sisters, Eleanor, was Abbess of Fontevrault.
- By the time Edward was twelve, his sisters had married Duke Jan II of Brabant, Count Henri III of Bar, and Count Jan I of Holland.
Some other relatives who were dead by the time Edward was born:
- Edward's Castilian uncles don Sancho and don Felipe were Archbishops of Toledo and Seville, respectively.
- His father's aunt Isabella, sister of Henry III of England, married Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
- His father's uncle Richard of Cornwall, brother of Henry III, was elected King of the Romans, i.e. Germany, in 1257.
Other first cousins of Edward I, and therefore first cousins once removed of Edward II, include:
- Isabelle (or Elisabeth) of Anjou, daughter of Beatrice of Provence: Queen of Hungary, the wife of László IV.
- Beatrice of Anjou, daughter of Beatrice of Provence: titular Empress of Constantinople, the wife of Philip de Courtenay.
- Agnes of France, daughter of Marguerite of Provence: Duchess of Burgundy, wife of Duke Robert II.
- Margaret of Sicily, also known as Margarete von Hohenstaufen, daughter of Henry III's sister Isabella: Landgravine of Thuringia and Countess Palatine of Saxony, wife of Albrecht von Meissen.
- Philip of Anjou: Prince of Achaïea and Morea, and titular King of Thessalonica, by right of his wife Isabelle de Villehardouin.
Edward II was not well-connected to European royalty?? Pffft!
Didn't you post on Edward's relatives some time last year? I remember being impressed that he seemed to have family connections all over Europe. If he hadn't, it wouldn't have reflected terribly well on Edward I's political ability.
Is there a case for saying that Isabella was more closely connected, e.g. did she have siblings in high places where he had cousins?
Carla: yes, I'm fascinated by Ed's connections. ;) Isabella had more useful relatives, in France, by far the most powerful country in Euope then. Although Ed II had cordial relations with the Iberian kings throughout his reign, they were too far to be any use to him politically. And the fact that he was the uncle of the duke of Brabant and the count of Bar didn't help him at all in 1326.
Thanks! Could that be the explanation for the author's comment, then? Maybe (s)he meant that Isabella was more usefully connected than Edward.
Oh my God, just imagine the Christmas card list! In fact, can you imagine them all sat around at Christmas playing charades?! Good subjects for charades = 'The King and I'; 'Casino Royale'; 'The Last King of Scotland'; and for a laugh - 'Braveheart'!
Carla: I still can't remember the book, but I'm pretty sure it was some obscure late 19th/early 20th century book I dug up on Google Books. One of those works that like to slam Edward II for absolutely everything, even his lack of useful royal relatives, as though he did it deliberately.
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