07 February, 2017

7 February

On 7 February 1301, Edward of Caernarfon was made prince of Wales and earl of Chester by his father Edward I. He was sixteen years old, going on seventeen (born on 25 April 1284), and was the first heir to the English throne to be given the title of prince of Wales. There is no truth whatsoever to the often-repeated story that Edward I tricked the Welsh by promising them a prince who spoke no English, then presenting them with his newborn son; this story was invented in 1584, 300 years later. It makes no sense at all, given that a) Edward I's son Alfonso of Bayonne was still alive when Edward of Caernarfon was born and the king would hardly have given the principality to his baby son rather than his ten-year-old, and b) English was not the language of the English court anyway.

On 7 February 1308, Isabella of France arrived in England for the first time, having married Edward II at Boulogne thirteen days earlier. Isabella never met Edward I, who had died on 7 July 1307, was never princess of Wales, and certainly never met William Wallace, who had been executed two and a half years previously on 23 August 1305. She was just twelve years old, and would live in England for the remaining half a century of her life.


Anonymous said...

Looks like Feb 7 was a big day for Edward II. Hope that this post means that you are doing better.


Kathryn Warner said...

Hi Esther, thanks for the concern. Some days are better than others, and it's a really hard time, but I'll come through it.

Anonymous said...

Pleased that you feel up to writing a post - have missed it! And hope that you are getting through the grief.

It just makes me so furious when people assume, wrongly, that Isabella met William Wallace, had a love affair, fell pregnant, met her father-in-law, etc etc - total and absolute rubbish. I know it makes a lovely 'Hollywood' story, but please, please get the facts straight instead of creating a ridiculous false fable.

Rant over, Kathryn.


Kathryn Warner said...

You can always rant about that here, Amanda! :-)

sami parkkonen said...

Funniest thing about William of Wallace is the Hollywood myth that he was the Brave heart. For the Scots it was Robert the Bruce and still is. But then again, the Hollywood saying "Based on true events" has always meant "I made stuff up about something".

Most ridiculous thing in the movie Brave heart is of course Edward II. When we know that he was one of the strongest men in his realm, big guy physically, loved outdoors, hunting, working with his hands and who had pretty coarse sense of humor etc. Hollywood switched this guy to a caricature of some prancing gay fashionista with a squeaky voice and weakness trough and trough.

Naturally Piers Gaveston was made a slimy sneaky bastard instead of being extremely funny guy who was one of the top athletes of his days (in tournaments) and who had no fear at all of the mightiest men in the realm and poked fun at them in every turn. That was not too smart but that is the witty guy he really was. Not the slime ball of the movie.

I have no problem with the Isabella, at least she was played by french actress Sophie Marceau, but her romance with a man who died before she even stepped on the shore at the age of 12... Well, let us just ask: Why Monty Python never got this one??

Anonymous said...

Firstly, I haven't visited this blog for a while and I am very sorry that you have had a bereavement and just hope that things improve for you eventually. Unfortunately it is part of the human condition that we lose relatives or people that we are otherwise close to during our lives - but of course the fact that it happens to everyone doesn't help when you are the person who has had the bereavement.

I suppose the nonsensical notion of Isabella having frolicked in the thistles with William Wallace is on a par with the "Anne Boleyn was mean to her sister" idea that has grown up in recent years (well we don't really know how Anne Boleyn treated her sister). I have known (not many though) ladies who have reached puberty very early (not me by any manner of means) but even if Isabella had been one such it's a pretty big stretch of the imagination to put her in Scotland as a pre-teen when she was definitely in France.

Not to do with Edward II, but I was disappointed when I read that the story of an incognito King Alfred (the Great) letting the peasant woman's cakes burn was almost certainly apocryphal.

Patricia O

Sonetka said...

I missed this post when it went up (I've been ill) so wanted to say that I really hope you're doing better.

I'd never heard the story about the "prince who spoke no English" but it's amusing even if it's clearly too perfect to be true :). (Besides the fact that French would have been the court language, you'd think the Welsh lords would like to have someone who could at least conduct his own negotiations in French instead of having to rely on translators).

Patricia -- having read more Anne Boleyn novels than is good for me, the "Anne was mean to her sister" idea has been around for a while; I think it developed naturally because it makes for a much more interesting story when you have two sisters with opposing temperaments who clash over the issues of the day than two sisters who get along OK for the most part and don't have any big sources of conflict. The fact that Mary probably slept with Henry VIII at some point helps amp up the drama, along with the letter she wrote to Cromwell after she married Stafford, in which she says she that she would rather beg her bread with him than be the greatest queen in Christendom. (Of course, she did write that after Anne had sent her away for being pregnant and marrying without permission, so it's fair to suppose they weren't getting along at that particular moment.) I'm not saying that I know what their relationship was really like, nobody can know that, just that if you look at those particular milestones in her life you can see why it's easy for writers to fall into making the sisters a study in contrasts.