20 March, 2015

Edward II Makes Out With His Boyfriend And Isabella Makes Out With Everyone

Can't believe I'm having to say this again, but when you see stuff like this online...I mean really!

(Click to enlarge. I had to laugh at the missing apostrophe in the last sentence and how it changes the meaning.)
It was written as part of a book review (not of my book, as it happens).  I'd be extremely keen to know the identity of these professors who allegedly are telling their students that Edward II and Isabella never had intercourse.  I very much doubt that part is true; it'd be absurdly unprofessional and foolish, unless the professors are claiming to have sent a webcam back 700 years into Edward and Isabella's bedchamber.  (Though I do remember seeing a couple of people on soc.genealogy.medieval a while ago claiming that their own professors had told them much the same thing.  If it's true, then Double-Yoo Tee Eff is going on at some universities?)  I love the anachronistic bit 'Edward was making out with his boyfriend the entire time'.  Gosh, I wonder if any of the numerous fourteenth-century sources which say 'our lord king makes out with his boyfriend all the time' - because obviously they totally and completely do say that - got pictures of it as well?  Because I would love to see them.  Maybe there are screengrabs from Edward's Bedcam.  Also love the bit about 'each of their fathers'.  Not just one alternative father, folks, several of them!  Isabella would just be delighted to read that, I'm sure.  And ell-oh-ell at the bit about Piers being around for Edward and Isabella's entire marriage. *facepalm*

It really shouldn't need pointing out that Isabella had only recently turned twelve when she married Edward II on 25 January 1308, so yeah, obviously she didn't become pregnant for several years.  I would have thought it was something to applaud that a girl of twelve, thirteen, fourteen wasn't forced to go through the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth before her body was properly developed, but that's never stopped Edward's detractors from moaning that he 'neglected' Isabella in the early years of their marriage.  From the records, you can actually see Edward II becoming more interested in and affectionate towards his young queen as she got older and more mature, and was able to become his wife in more than name only.  Again, you'd think that Edward not being interested in a pre-pubescent or barely pubescent girl, but becoming a heck of a lot keener as she matured, would be something positive, but apparently not.

That's a weird comment too about Edward III being conceived after Edward and Isabella were 'living apart'.  The timeline here is completely up the spout.  Edward II and Isabella were certainly together at the right times to conceive all their children, and their relationship didn't start going wrong until 1322 at the earliest, after all their children were born.  Even then, I'm not sure you could say they were 'living apart'.  It's as though people in the fourteenth century were so stupid and ignorant they wouldn't have noticed and commented if the queen had become pregnant when she and the king were apart for months on end.

I would just like to clarify that the notion of Isabella of France's children not being the children of Edward II is an entirely modern invention.  It first appeared in 1985, in one of Paul Doherty's novels, in which he changed Edward III's date of birth by eight months from November 1312 to March 1312 in order to accommodate the fiction that the young king's real father was Roger Mortimer (which is impossible anyway as Roger was also hundreds of miles away from Isabella nine months before March 1312).  So, this idea has only been around for the last thirty years, and was popularised by Braveheart in 1995 and has been mentioned in another couple of novels of the early twenty-first century, and a few online articles, blog posts and book reviews.  There is absolutely NO evidence at all that it ever occurred to anyone in the fourteenth century, or for an extremely long time afterwards until the late twentieth century, that anyone but Edward II fathered Isabella's children.  The notion that he didn't is based entirely on modern misconceptions about sexuality - firstly that if people are not completely heterosexual, they must be completely homosexual, as though all human sexuality is a simple binary in which bisexual people are erased altogether.  And secondly, that gay men are incapable of fathering children, as though being gay makes you sterile.  It boggles my mind that someone cannot recognise that until very recently, gay people frequently had to marry a member of the opposite sex and procreate whether they wanted to or not.  Oscar Wilde fathered children, and is anyone going to claim that he wasn't gay?  I personally know several gay men who have children.  Madness.  None of Edward and Isabella's contemporaries at all doubted that he was the father of her children.  There is not even a hint of a rumour or gossip anywhere.  Just think, if there had been, how gleefully Philip VI and the French would have jumped all over it after Edward III claimed their throne.  What better way to discredit him than by having it proclaimed that he wasn't the son of a king after all, but merely of one of the queen's lovers?  But of course they didn't do this, because the idea obviously never entered their heads that Edward III wasn't the son of Edward II.  Neither did it enter the heads of the many magnates and bishops who forced Edward II to abdicate his throne to his son in 1327.  Or anyone else at all, until a fiction writer of the late twentieth century decided it would give his book more drama and excitement.

Unfortunately, it seems that the perfectly simple and obvious fact that Edward II was the father of Edward III is one which it suits a few people in the twenty-first century not to believe.  And the fact that I point this out here as often as I think it needs to be said apparently means that my book about Edward II is 'biased'.  Just LOL.


Anonymous said...

Is there any way that DNA testing could be done. There are many descendants of Edward I, II, III (me included).If so, could that help in dispelling the myth of Edward III not being Edward II' s son. Personally, I admire Edward II for not rushing Isabella into having sex at the early age of 12/13. Look what happened to Margaret Beaufort when she was forced to have sex at that early age and got pregnant with the future Henry VI. Patsy Lovell

Kathryn Warner said...

I agree, Patsy! Who knows what horrible damage could have been done to Isabella at such a young age?

I wonder if one day DNA testing might be done on the remains of Edward I, II and III?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, this is as bad as the "Anne Boleyn was a b***h and was mean to her sister" mythology that has become believed by some folk of recent years (I'm not saying there wouldn't have been some sibling rivalry).

I agree that if the person who made the post that you have cited REALLY is doing a doctorate, then there is much to worry about in higher education vis-a-vis history. Possibly the person was telling a "porky".

Patricia O

Kathryn Warner said...

Patricia, it would be pretty worrying, wouldn't it? :o If any of this is true, I do wonder what the heck is going on at some universities.

Anonymous said...

If Edward really was making out with Piers a great deal, wouldn't someone notice it? Great post ... and keep up the good fight!


Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Esther! Haha, yes, you'd think so!

Anerje said...

What's really worrying is that in the 2nd post, the person says they are working on a doctorate! I take it it's not to do with history then? And where are all these professors who have all this evidence that I and others have failed to find? I'd love to find out the true nature of Ed's relationship with Piers - who knew they were 'making out' the 'entire time'? Especially after Piers was killed in 1312. Erm, and wouldn't it be widely noticed if the king and queen were 'living apart' and she conceived all their children with other men? Where's the gossip in the chronicles? Who is the mystery daddy? I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

Anerje said...

I can just imagine the chroniclers writing of the Coronation - 'the king was not crowned until he had finished making out with Piers'. At the banquet - 'the food was cold as the servants couldn't bring out the food until the king and Piers had finished making out'' and so on, and on.

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

I have already written what I think about it elsewhere :-) Just keep up the good job, dear Kathryn! :-) Thank God, there are many people who trust facts in the first place....

Judy said...

>.< Stupid people are unfortunately a dime a dozen as we'd say over here. At least these dolts don't go ON AND ON AND ON about "gendered identity." More power to you!

Rachel said...

But your bias is demonstrated by the fact that you neglected to survey your present day "gay friends" (as distinct, presumably, from friends who happen to be gay/bi/pan/het/fluid/asexual, but whose sexuality, amazingly enough, is not their sole defining characteristic), because anyone knows a straw poll of your mates is a valid primary source from which you can make inferences about 14th century people. Fie, for shame, Kathryn!

Seriously, I really am baffled by this. It illustrates though not only the power that fiction-created myths have, but regressive attitudes to sexuality (marriage equality in some countries notwithstanding). While we've made much progress since 1307, we still live in an age where an immigration officer or Tribunal member, for example, thinks an appropriate way to determine whether a male asylum seeker from the Middle East or South Asia is "genuinely gay" is to ask him to name five Kylie or Madonna songs, or decide that a woman seeking asylum on the grounds of her sexuality can't possibly be a lesbian because she has kids and doesn't "look like one." (I'm veering way off topic, sorry - but it's difficult to avoid the parallels with many people's inability to take Edward's sexuality as it was, whatever it was, instead of trying to shoehorn him into a neat binary box and then decide he's an abusive husband because of it. /rant)

Jerry Bennett said...

If those comments about History professors are even half-way true, I'm glad I graduated in a different subject entirely.

As an interested but totally amateur historian, I have often wondered about Edward's sexuality, but I also wonder just how big an influence it had on his reign anyway. I try to understand how he (and those close to him) thought and acted. What was going through their minds that they made certain decisions at certain times? I have my own beliefs about why Edward acted the way he did, and sexuality hardly ever features anywhere in them. Other people might think differently, but did his sexuality have much bearing on matters like his Scottish campaigns, his conduct in parliaments or his relations with other European rulers? I'm sorry, but I can't see it.

I have come across this stuff about his sexuality so often that now I find it both boring and distracting.

s said...

It wasimmaculate conception

D Stewart. said...

Who knows what psychological damage was done to Edward II by his (in modern terms) psychotic father? This I am convinced has more bearing on his relationships and any attendant problems than any basic sexuality. I addition I would argue that public and private attitudes to sexuality of the period and indeed all the way up to the renaissance and beyond were very different to those of the present and the last 200 years or so.

Sami Parkkonen said...

Oh lord, not again!

No one, not one, of these "Isabella did the deeds with the Uknown studs" person can not name a single candidate for that role.


Kings, the royalty, the queens were not mere mortals in those days. Isabella was of royal blood, she knew this, she was pure noble blood. She did not like when someone slept with lesser folks, as evident from her actions even concerning her own relatives.

Isabella was not Paris Hilton. She was not even princess Margaret of the swinging 60's. She was medieval queen, and when people think that she ran around (withtout any of her 600 servants and consorts noticing anything) sleeping with Unknown fitness models, they do not understand her at all.

And then another thing: who would take a chance to sleep with the queen? I mean, if you got caught sleeping with another mans wife, he had the right to kill you in those days. Think about doing the same with the kings wife, right?

I think the reason for all this nonsense is simple. Some jerks can not admit that the warrior king Edward III was the son of Eddie 2. And they can not believe that, because in their heads Edward II was a prancing whining gay sissy. They do not get this: according to his contemporaries, Edward was "one of the strongest men in the realm", he was tall and broad shouldered, outdoors man, swam on the icy water of the river Thames (a feat which not too many extreme sport athletes would like to even try today) and fought at Bannockburn in the thick of it, loosing a horse from under him and his page and shield carrier too.

They can not get their heads around the fact that Edward II was most likely a bi-sexual. He seemed to love persons, individuals, not sexes. And then: why the french noticed that Edward and Isabella slept naked, spent merry times in bed, were exhausted in the mornings and slept late etc. during their visit in France? Duh?