Edward I, king of England and lord of Ireland, died at Burgh-by-Sands near Carlisle on 7 July 1307. He was sixty-eight and on his way to yet another campaign in Scotland, this one against Robert Bruce, who had had himself crowned king of Scots at Scone the previous year. Around the middle of the afternoon on the feast day of the Translation of St Thomas Becket, and with Scotland in sight across the Solway Firth, King Edward raised himself from his bed to take some food, and fell back dead in his attendants' arms.
Edward's twenty-three-year-old son Lord Edward (of Caernarfon), duke of Aquitaine, prince of Wales, earl of Chester and count of Ponthieu, was in or near London at the time of his father's death, nearly 320 miles away, and probably heard the news on the 11th. His first act as king almost certainly was to recall his beloved Piers Gaveston from exile on the continent, and the two men were reunited in southern Scotland a few weeks later.
As I've already written a post about Edward II's accession, today I'll take a look at the wider stage, at who was reigning in other European countries in 1307. The king of France was Philip IV 'le Bel', then in his late thirties, Edward II's future father-in-law and second cousin (their paternal grandmothers Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, queens of France and England, were sisters). On Friday 13 October 1307, Philip would arrest the Knights Templar in France, and the new king of England would do his best to protect them, refuse to believe the charges against them and arrest them in his own country, even after receiving the papal bull Pastoralis praeeminentiae on 14 December.
The king of Germany and duke of Austria in 1307 was Albrecht or Albert von Hapsburg, then in his early fifties, who would be murdered on 1 May 1308 by his nephew Johann of Swabia. Albrecht was one of the many children of Rudolf I, king of Germany (died 1291), and the brother of Hartmann, who was once betrothed to Edward II's sister Joan of Acre and who drowned in 1281. Another European king was Edward I's first cousin (his mother was Beatrice of Provence) Charles, king of Naples and Albania, prince of Salerno, Achaea and Taranto, then also in his fifties, who died on 5 May 1309.
The king of Castile was twenty-one-year-old Fernando IV, Edward II's first cousin once removed via Edward's mother Eleanor of Castile. According to a contemporary English newsletter, a Castilian cardinal named Pedro, visiting England in late 1306, announced that the Castilian magnates had decided that if Fernando died without a son, Edward of Caernarfon should succeed him as king. Fernando IV and Constanca of Portugal's son Alfonso XI was finally born in 1311, nine years after their marriage. The king of Aragon in 1307 was forty-year-old Jaime II, successor of his brother Alfonso III (died 1291), who had long been betrothed to Edward II's sister Eleanor but died before the wedding took place. In later years, Edward and Jaime, or rather their representatives, took part in various negotiations for marriages between members of their families - Edward's half-brother Thomas of Botherton to Jaime's daughter, Edward's son Edward of Windsor to another of Jaime's daughters, Edward's daughter Joan of the Tower to Jaime's grandson the future Pedro IV - but ultimately nothing came of them. The king of Portugal in 1307 was Diniz, whose mother Beatriz of Castile was Edward II's first cousin. Diniz also offered his daughter Maria in marriage to Edward's son Edward of Windsor in the 1320s, but as the latter was then betrothed to Leonor of Castile, daughter of Fernando IV and sister of Alfonso XI, Edward had to refuse. (Maria of Portugal later married Alfonso XI of Castile, who had previously been betrothed to Edward II's daughter Eleanor of Woodstock; Leonor of Castile married Jaime II's son Alfonso IV of Aragon, father of Pedro IV by a previous marriage. Alfonso XI and Maria of Portugal's son Pedro I 'the Cruel' was due to marry Edward III's daughter Joan in 1348, but she died of plague on the way; Pedro's daughters with Maria de Padilla, Constanza and Isabel, later married Joan's brothers John of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley. Alfonso XI of Castile and his queen Maria of Portugal were first cousins on both sides of the family, his father Fernando IV and her mother Isabel of Castile being brother and sister, and his mother Constanca of Portugal and her father King Diniz being brother and sister. Diniz's wife Elizabeth of Aragon, canonised in 1625, was the sister of Jaime II. It's all so confusing.)
Other rulers in 1307 were: Duke Arthur II of Brittany, Edward II's first cousin; Duke John II of Brabant, Edward's brother-in-law; Andronikos II Palaiologos, Byzantine Emperor, whose second wife Eirene (born Yolande of Montferrat) was Edward II's first cousin once removed; Henri de Lusignan, king of Cyprus and titular king of Jerusalem; Károly or Charles I, king of Hungary, whose sister Clemence married Edward II's brother-in-law Louis X of France in 1315; Hugues V, duke of Burgundy and titular king of Thessalonica, whose sister Marguerite was Louis X's first wife; Leo III, king of Armenia, to whom Edward wrote shortly after his accession and who was assassinated in November 1307; Oljeitu or Öljaitü, also called Mohammed Khadobandeh, great-great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan and the ruler of the Il-Khanate from 1304 to his death in 1316. The Il-Khanate was one of the four khanates of the Mongol Empire, and covered modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and western Pakistan. Edward II wrote to Oljeitu twice in October and November 1307.