King Edward II
The story of King Edward II ( Nickname : Edward of Caernavon)
King Edward II was the fourth son of Edward I of England. He was completely the opposite to his father. They argued about young Edward's friendship with a careless young man called Piers Gaveston, who was believed to be his lover. His father had banished this dangerous companion, and forbidden the two young men from ever meeting again. But the moment the old king was dead, he sent for Piers Gaveston again. At the same time his bride arrived - Isabella of France, daughter to the King of France, a beautiful girl and there was a splendid wedding feast; but the king and Gaveston were both so vain and conceited, that they cared more about their own beauty and fine dress than the young queen's, and she found herself totally neglected. The nobles, too, were angered at the airs that Gaveston gave himself; he not only dressed splendidly, had a huge train of servants, and managed the king as he pleased, but he was very insolent to them. King Edward II and Piers Gaveston were wasting the treasury. The barons gathered together and forced the king to send his favorite into banishment. Gaveston went, but he soon came back again and joined the king. The nobles, however, would not endure his return. They seized him, brought him to Warwick Castleand he was beheaded on Blacklow Hill. Edward was full of grief and anger for the cruel death of his friend; but he was forced to keep it out of sight, for all the barons were coming round him for the Scottish war.
While he had been wasting his time, Robert Bruce had obtained every strong place in Scotland, except Stirling Castle, and there the English governor had promised to yield, if succor did not come from England within a year and a day. The year was almost over when Edward came into Scotland with a fine army of English, Welsh, and Gascons from Aquitaine; but Robert Bruce was a great and able general, and Edward II was no general at all; so when the armies met at Bannockburn, under the walls of Stirling, the English were worse beaten than ever they had been anywhere else. Edward was obliged to flee away to England. The king comforted himself with a new friend, Hugh le Despencer.
Queen Isabella now had four children. King Edward II had never tried to gain her love, and she hated him more and more. There was some danger of a quarrel with her brother, the King of France, and she offered to go with her son Edward, now about fourteen, and settle it. But this was only an excuse. She went about to the princes abroad, telling them how ill she was used by her husband, and asking for help. A good many knights believed and pitied her, and came with her to England to help. All the English who hated the Le Despencers joined her, and she led the young prince against his father. Edward and his friends were hunted across into Wales; but they were tracked out one by one, and the Despencers were put to a cruel death, though Edward gave himself up in hopes of saving them.
The imprisonment of King Edward II
|Kings in the Middle Ages|
|Middle Ages Index|