708 years ago today, Edward I, king of England and lord of Ireland, died at Burgh-by-Sands near Carlisle (or as the official memorandum recording his death puts it, apud Burgum super Sabulones extra Karliolum) on his way to yet another military campaign in Scotland. He was sixty-eight years old and in the thirty-fifth year of his reign, having succeeded his father Henry III in November 1272. Of the numerous children Edward I fathered - at least seventeen and probably more - only seven outlived him: his and Eleanor of Castile's daughters Margaret, Mary and Elizabeth, and Eleanor's only surviving son Edward of Caernarfon; and his three children with his second queen Marguerite of France, Thomas, Edmund and Eleanor (who died as a child in 1311). The chronicler of Lanercost Priory seventeen miles away, recording his death, called him "this illustrious and excellent king, my lord Edward...Throughout his time he had been fearless and warlike, in all things strenuous and illustrious; he left not his like among Christian princes for sagacity and courage."
Edward of Caernarfon, prince of Wales, duke of Aquitaine, earl of Chester and count of Ponthieu, was about 315 miles away either in London or Lambeth at the time, and heard the news that he had succeeded to the throne on 11 July. Although Edward I on his deathbed had ordered his son not to recall Piers Gaveston, whom he had sent into exile on the Continent some months before, almost certainly Edward II's very first act as king was to do exactly that.
There is no real reason to suppose that Edward I had found his son and heir particularly disappointing or unpromising, as is usually stated nowadays; this is simply hindsight based on the knowledge of Edward II's disastrous reign and of his unregal love of rustic pursuits and so on. The two had clashed on occasion, most notably when Edward I apparently tore out handfuls of his son's hair, called him an ill-born son of a whore - Eleanor of Castile must have turned in her grave - and banished him from court for a while, but as Edward II's academic biographer Professor Seymour Phillips has pointed out, clashes between the king and his heir were common in the Middle Ages. Henry II's sons went to war against him in the 1170s and 1180s, and Edward I himself had fallen out with his father Henry III in his youth. We shouldn't read too much into their occasional rows. The author of the Vita Edwardi Secundi, one of Edward II's clerks who knew him well, says that before his accession he raised his subjects' hopes (though dashed them when he became king). The Vita also says that God had endowed Edward II with every gift, and that he was "equal to or indeed more excellent than other kings. If anyone cared to describe those qualities which ennoble our king, they would not find his like in the land." Edward II frustrated his contemporaries beyond measure, not because he was lacking in abilities, but because, in stark contrast to his father, he so rarely bothered to exercise them.