I'm afraid I don't have a proper blog post to put up yet - the next one will probably, or possibly, be about Edward II's complex relationship with his cousin and enemy Thomas of Lancaster, whenever I get round to writing it - because I've been distracted by reading Seymour Phillips' new biography of Edward, which came out a few days ago. It's a huge, yummy door-stopper of a book, in which "a richer picture emerges, in line with the complexity of events and of the man himself. If Edward II was not a successful king, he was not fundamentally different in many ways from most English monarchs."
I find it pretty gratifying that there's very little about Edward in the book which I don't already know, though I was delighted to see that Professor Phillips has found some new information about the king's mysterious illegitimate son Adam which Professor Blackley back in the 1960s missed, and has demonstrated that Adam did indeed die during the Scottish campaign in the autumn of 1322, as has long been suspected. Adam, who was probably aged somewhere between fifteen and seventeen, was buried in the conventual church of Tynemouth Priory on 30 September 1322, and a silk cloth with gold thread was laid over his body. Professor Phillips also cites a letter sent by an unknown writer that summer which appears to refer to Adam, saying that Edward II has ordered 'the king's son' to join him in York. (Still no known references to the lad before 1322. Puzzling.) As Professor Phillips points out, this might mean Edward's elder legitimate son Edward of Windsor, but young Edward wasn't yet ten and although he was officially summoned to join the army whether he actually went is debatable, and the letter doesn't refer to 'the earl of Chester', Edward's title. The letter also says that "all good qualities and honour are increasing in him," i.e. the king's son. Such a shame that Adam's promising life was cut short, probably by the disease which swept through Edward's army; it would have been fascinating to see what became of him as he grew older. Edward wasn't at Tynemouth on 30 September, unfortunately, having moved on to Barnard Castle, but Isabella of France may have been.
Another post coming soon(ish), and in the meantime, don't forget to drop by and visit my friends Anerje and Edward II's brother-in-law Louis X. Talking of Anerje, I'm currently deep in the grip of an infatuation with the scrummy actor Ben Barnes, which is thanks to her telling me that she thinks Ben, in his role as Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia, looks just like she pictures a young Piers Gaveston. See this pic especially; I caught myself thinking the other day "Sheesh, no wonder Edward loved Piers so much when he looked like that." (Ben looks very young in that pic but is actually in his late twenties.) And check out my Edward II fan page on Facebook, which I'm pretty sure should be visible even if you're not a member there. Edward currently has 171 fans, and it's a rare day that one or two more don't join. By way of comparison, his son Edward III has two fan pages I know of, which currently have 12 and 104 fans, Henry II has 215 (but the page has been up since 2008 and I only set up Edward's a few weeks ago), Henry VI has 14 and Richard III has 746 on one page, 576 on another and 37 on a page called Richard III is Innocent. So Edward's not doing too badly at all! :-)