Apropos of nothing much in particular, things that break my irony meter:
Moaning that Isabella of France has been the victim of 'sexual prejudices' while castigating Edward II and talking about him in drippingly contemptuous terms because of his non-heterosexuality, to the point where you call him 'perverted' and 'unnatural' because of his sexuality.
Moaning that Isabella of France was a tragic neglected victim of her nasty cruel husband because of his outside love interests, while at the same time finding Isabella's relationship with the married Roger Mortimer wildly romantic, wonderful and amazingly speshul, and conveniently ignoring his wife.
Things often said to be fact which are not:
1) Edward II only had sex with his queen reluctantly.
(Notice also the assumptions apparent in that second quote: that Edward II being a lover of men meant that he failed to 'demonstrate respect for women'; that men who love men should take the 'example' of their 'well married', opposite-sex heterosexual parents. I have no words.)
Edward II did not like 'boys'. Let's kick that particular myth in the teeth before it takes hold. Piers Gaveston was some years his senior, Roger Damory probably about the same age as Edward or older, Hugh Despenser no more than five or so years younger and around thirty when he became the king's 'favourite' in 1318. Point being, all the royal 'favourites' were grown men. Stating that Edward II liked 'boys', as though he was some kind of perverted paedophile, is frankly unpleasant. Also, I take issue with the notion that he 'preferred men over his own queen', as though Isabella was automatically in competition for Edward's affections with Piers and the others. Isabella was royal, Edward's queen, the mother of his children. He had to marry her for political reasons. His relationship with her no doubt was very different from his relationship with Piers. Not necessarily inferior, just different. People nowadays act as though because Edward loved Piers, he can't have loved Isabella as well, or even felt anything at all for her beyond indifference and perhaps contempt. It doesn't work like that. Godefroy of Paris, who saw Edward and Isabella in France in 1313, states directly and without equivocation that Edward loved Isabella: cele amoit-il. The c. 1327 poem 'The Lament of Edward II', written by a supporter of the deposed king, also states at various points throughout that the royal couple had once loved each other as courtly lovers. I would say it's beyond doubt that Piers Gaveston, not Isabella, was the great love of Edward II's life, but it's a long way from that to concluding that Edward felt no positive, affectionate emotions for her at all ever. That seems astonishingly unlikely.
- He had intercourse with Queen Isabella on four occasions which resulted in the births of their four children.
2) Common modern misconception, as seen above: Edward II and Isabella of France only had one child together.
Nope, they had four:
- Edward III, king of England (13 November 1312 - 21 June 1377)
- John of Eltham, earl of Cornwall ( 15 August 1316 - 13 September 1336)
- Eleanor of Woodstock, duchess of Gueldres (18 June 1318 - 22 April 1355)
- Joan of the Tower, queen of Scotland (5 July 1321 - 7 September 1362).
Additionally, it's possible that Isabella had a miscarriage in or shortly before November 1313, when a purchase of pennyroyal for her is recorded.
3) Isabella told her father Philip IV in 1308 that her husband was 'an entire stranger to her bed' and that she was 'the most wretched of wives'.
This story appears, as far as I can tell (it's difficult to be entirely sure as real fourteenth-century historians never mention it and it only appears in the work of popular writers, who never source it properly), in the Historia Anglicana of Thomas Walsingham who died c. 1422, which was written between about 1377 and 1392 (and has continuations by another writer down to 1422). It's hard to take a story about Edward II and Isabella seriously when it was first written by a man who died around the year their great-great-grandson Henry V died and their great-great-great-grandson Henry VI became king. Walsingham had no possible access to the private letters sent by Isabella to her father, and his story has no reliable provenance whatsoever. It's pure invention, something a man writing at least seventy or eighty years later thinks she might have told her father. Shame that it's so often repeated as 'fact'.
Pearls of online wisdom; read them and weep:
"Isabella is married off to Edward II at the age of thirteen - and soon discovers that as far as her husband is concerned, she is simply a brood mare for his children. He'd rather spend his time with his lover, Piers Gaveston."
"I hate how people call Isabella of France homophobic for deposing her husband Edward II. Imagine being used as a broodmare by a gay dude." There we go with the brood mare thing! Woo-hoo!
"The innocent little heroine wins our immediate sympathy when, at fourteen [sic], she is married to handsome, homosexual Edward the Second of England. We pity her more and more as she is shamed and neglected in favour of his male lovers." Is it just me, or is the word 'male' the most important one here, in the writer's eyes? Have you ever read anything bewailing Constanza of Castile's arrival in England in the early 1370s to marry John of Gaunt as 'she is shamed and neglected in favour of his female lover'? Bet you haven't. And I often see Isabella being called 'little'. Yuck. You condemn Edward for 'neglecting' her, but would you rather he'd fawned all over a 'little' girl? Ah, the lack of joined-up thinking and cognitive dissonance.