Here are some examples of the accounts of Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer's relationship that appear even in books published as non-fiction. And yes, all the following extracts are from non-fiction, not novels, published in the twenty-first century.
Firstly, in works of non-fiction, it's usually assumed that sources will be cited to back up an author's statements. I'd love to see a source for the allegations that Edward II fantasised about Piers Gaveston when making love with his wife, and that Roger "took Isabella roughly then tenderly'". Secondly, I loathe the sexism inherent in the idea that men "take" women, as though women are passive recipients and not active agents in their own sex lives. The Middle Ages used gendered intimate language that described women as being "taken" by men, sure; but we live in the twenty-first century. Thirdly, why is not possible that Edward might have enjoyed making love with Piers and with Isabella? Does bisexuality not exist? Edward fathered an illegitimate child, after all, as did Piers, and I found evidence that Edward made love with a woman in London in 1324 (see blog post).
Fourthly, what the actual freaking heck is a "heated warrior"? A warrior who's been standing in front of a radiator? Or who appears in a recipe for Warrior Stroganoff or something? "Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cook the warrior for 120 minutes or until thoroughly heated." Fifthly, like so much of the nonsense written about Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer, this paragraph comes off as the writer's fantasy. "Eeeeewwww, it'd be so disgusting to have to sleep with a man who has sex with men, but imagine getting to have awesome rough sex then tender lovemaking with a hawt hyper-masculine warrior instead! Phwoooarrrrr!" Sixthly, the absurdity of Edward II of all people, the man described by chroniclers as "one of the strongest men in his realm" and "of enormous strength", who famously dug ditches, thatched roofs, worked with metal and went rowing, having "smooth, girlish hands". What on earth is that based on except stereotypes and prejudices about gay men? Sexism and homophobia in one ghastly paragraph.
"Physical attraction there clearly was". Excuse me, but where is this clear? Because of the "emotional logic" that a beautiful woman and a man claimed without a source to be "athletic" simply must have fallen in lust and in love? The author assumes that Isabella and Roger's relationship was "an all-consuming bond" and "a passionate affair" even though, as is correctly pointed out, there's little evidence for any of these claims. If I wrote such exaggerated stuff about Edward II and Piers Gaveston or Hugh Despenser the Younger, about the all-consuming bond the men formed and the combustible combination of their temperaments and the depth of their shared political interests and the sheer obviousness of their physical attraction and the way they absolutely must have had a passionately sexual affair, people would express cynicism and demand to see some references, and they'd be absolutely right to do so. Somehow, though, when it comes to Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer, sources are not deemed necessary, and any objectivity goes out of the window. The alleged "emotional logic" of their association is all that matters. As I said in a previous post, the idea that Isabella of France rejected Edward II because she'd fallen in love and lust with Roger Mortimer is a narrative that's been created. Despite numerous writers' efforts to claim otherwise, it is not a fact, though it's usually treated like one, and as such an undeniable fact that sources are not required. This extract is at least better written and less obviously a fantasy than the first extract, above, but it's equally unsourced and equally over-romanticised.
Nobody knows what happened between Isabella and Roger in private, and we have no way of knowing. We have no idea, none at all, that their relationship was "passionate" or even that they had a mutual physical attraction. Sure, they might well have done. But it's not certain, as claimed. It also strikes me as rather superficial to claim that simply because Isabella was a "famous beauty" that Roger Mortimer must necessarily have wanted to have sex with her, or that because Roger was allegedly "athletic", Isabella must necessarily have wanted to have sex with him. Edward II himself was described as handsome and physically impressive by chroniclers, but I've never seen anyone assuming that any man or woman he encountered must have wanted to have sex with him for that reason. He and Piers Gaveston, and Hugh Despenser, were "of an age", and Edward and Hugh had "shared political interests" and were involved in a "power play" in the 1320s, and Piers was also an "athletic figure" (unlike Roger, we do at least have a fourteenth-century chronicle that calls Piers that). None of that is evidence that Edward II had passionate sex and an all-consuming bond with Piers and Hugh. It's not evidence that Queen Isabella had passionate sex and an all-consuming bond with Roger Mortimer either.
We have "fiery passion", stated as a fact, their sexual relationship beginning while they were in France in 1325/26 stated as a fact, Isabella's "devotion" to Roger for the remaining thirty-two years of her life after 1326 stated as a fact. How can we possibly know that? Telepathy? The relationship with Roger "gave Isabella personal satisfaction", apparently. Where's that from, the recently-discovered "Secret Diary of Queen Isabella Aged 30¾"? And the bit about Isabella thinking that Roger's threat to stab her being proof of the depth of his feelings for her makes me cringe. Yet again, this is the typical modern narrative that's been created and is entirely unsourced, that Isabella's marriage had always been loveless and unsatisfactory, then she finds this awesome passionate lover who feels so strongly about her and is so possessive, jealous and domineering that he threatens to stab her if she leaves him. The bit about threatening to kill Isabella with a knife at least has a footnote or endnote and a reference, because it was one of the charges against Roger at his trial in November 1330; notice that's the only endnote in the entire section. This is entirely typical of modern narratives about the alleged relationship between Isabella and Roger; either no sources at all are cited, or on the rare occasions when they are, as I pointed out in the first part of this post, they don't at all say what modern writers claim they say.
Isabella and Edward's marriage certainly went badly wrong in and after 1322, thanks mostly to Edward allowing Hugh Despenser to come between them, but how do we know it was "loveless"? How do we know it lacked passion? Isabella repeatedly called Edward "my very sweet heart" (mon tresdouz coer) in a letter to him in 1325, and in another letter of 1326 called him "our very dear and very sweet lord and friend". In late 1325, distressed at the state of her marriage and Hugh Despenser the Younger's intrusion into it, she forced Edward to choose between herself and Hugh by offering him an ultimatum; but, alas, he chose Hugh. But somehow, modern writers just know that she was lying about her fear of Hugh and her desire to return to her husband, and when she said, twice that we know of, that she wanted Edward to send Hugh away so that she felt safe enough to go back to him and resume their marriage, what she really meant was "I'm in love with Roger Mortimer and having awesome sex with him, and Edward repulses me". It seems that in 1325/26, it was Edward rejecting Isabella, spurning her attempts to heal their marriage and demonstrating his preference for Hugh, reinforcing Isabella's loathing for Hugh and her determination to destroy him, and leaving her with little choice but to remain in France and press on with her attempts to do so. So maybe we should write lots of fevered prose about Edward II and Hugh Despenser the Younger's awesome sex life and amazing all-consuming bond and how the sex Edward had with Hugh was obviously superior to the sex he had with Isabella, and pretend this is some kind of fact.
The pics below are from a book published in 2005, in which we learn that Edward II and Piers Gaveston fathering children proves that they were capable of "normal sexual relations", with the obvious implication that their own relationship was abnormal, that Edward's relationship with Hugh Despenser was "perverted", and that Edward consummating his marriage means he "had at last played the man". So that's nice. We also learn that a man having a relationship with another man is an insult to "femininity", whatever that means, and that the awesome and powerful Queen Isabella was a helpless heroine in a pirate romance that the 1950s would have rejected as outdated and regressive, who "succumbs to a strong and lusty adventurer" and "surrenders herself to his embraces". Notice that Isabella's alleged "profound revulsion" for her husband is stated as though it's a fact, and the way a man who lived 700 years ago is described as "unequivocally heterosexual" as though anyone could possibly know that. Like the first example, above, this comes across as a classic case of projection; wow, this hyper-masculine manly virile heterosexual audacious strong lusty adventurer is so darn hawt and sexy, and I'd find it so icky and horrible to have a husband who liked men, and I just know Isabella must have felt the same!