Edward II, King of England

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Edward II, King of England

Edward was born 25 Apr 1284 at Carnarvon Castle in Wales (now part of England), the son of Edward I, King of England, by his first wife Eleanor of Castile.

While Edward was yet a minor, he became fast friends with a Gascon knight, Piers Gaveston. Their relationship was so intense that Edward's father banished Piers from the country.

When Edward I died in 1307, his son Edward became King and immediately recalled his lover from France, raising him to Earl of Cornwall that same year. Piers upstart manner, lack of noble background, and presumption made him few friends and many enemies among the baronial families. He was considered to be an outrageous, grasping fellow, always on the lookout for the best prizes to take, and without due deference for the Barons. This manner, after much disagreeably protesting by the baronial party, caused him to be banished to Ireland from June 1308 to June 1309. But Edward eventually recalled him, and his manners had not improved. For these reasons and others, Piers was eventually beheaded 19 Jun 1312 at Blacklow Hill.

Meanwhile Edward II, although having been married to Isabella of France on 25 Jan 1308 had no children by her until they had a son Edward on 13 Nov 1312, destined to became Edward III.

The lesson of Piers Gaveston was lost on Edward II who next fell under the sway of the Despencers, father and son, when he made the son his new favorite and bed-partner. They were both exiled in 1321, but recalled a year later and the father raised to the Peerage as the Earl of Winchester. When, around this time, Isabella was sent to France to negotiate a treaty she took the opportunity to declare that she would not return until the Despencer's were gone.

Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer now raised a small army and invaded England. The Despencers were executed in 1326, and Edward II was imprisoned. He was murdered, probably at Isabella's orders on 21 Sep 1327 while a prisoner at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

Since his eldest son Edward was yet a minor, Isabella, and Roger held power as regents. Once Edward III attained his majority, he had Mortimer arrested and hanged at Tyburn on 29 Nov 1330 and ordered his mother Isabella into a convent. Isabella would live until 22 Aug 1358, dying at Hertford Castle.

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