Edward Plantaganet: Birth: 5 JUN 1341 in Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England. Death: 21 JAN 1376/77 in Sheen Palace, Surrey, England/Int. Westminter Abbey.Middlesex, Eng.
Note: !Reigned 1307-1327 deposed and murdered. 1st Prince of Wales. His reign was troubled by extravagances, his militarist disasters in Scotland notably Bannockburn (1314) and unpopularity of his favorite peers Gaveston who died in 1312 and Hugh le dDespencer 1262-1326. He was deposed on 21 Jan 1327, and murdered by a red-hot poker in his bowels. Invested as the first Prince of Wales in 1301.
Edward was the fourth son of King Edward I and his first wife, Eleanor of Castile. The deaths of his older brothers made the infant prince heir to the throne; in 1301 he was proclaimed prince of Wales, the first heir apparent in English history to bear that title. The prince was idle and frivolous, with no liking for military campaigning or affairs of state. Believing that the prince's close friend Piers Gaveston, a Gascon knight, was a bad influence on the prince, Edward I banished Gaveston. On his father's death, however, Edward II recalled his favorite homosexual lover Piers Gaveston from exile, abandoned the campaign against Robert Bruce, and devoted himself to frivolity.
Gaveston incurred the opposition of the powerful English barony. The nobles were particularly angered in 1308, when Edward made Gaveston regent for the period of the king's absence in France, where he went to marry Isabella, 15, daughter of King Philip IV. Gaveston married the king's niece, Margaret of Gloucester, and received the earldom of Cornwall. In 1311 the barons, led by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, forced the king to appoint from among them a committee of 21 nobles and prelates, called the lords ordainers. They proclaimed a series of ordinances that transferred the ruling power to themselves and excluded the commons and lower clergy from Parliament. After they had twice forced the king to banish Gaveston, and the king had each time recalled him, the English barons finally had the king's favorite kidnapped and treacherously executed.
In the meantime, Robert Bruce had almost completed his re conquest of Scotland, which he had begun shortly after 1305. In 1314 Edward II and his barons raised an army of some 100,000 men with which to crush Bruce, but in the attempt to lift the siege of Stirling they were decisively defeated (Battle of Bannockburn).
For the following eight years the earl of Lancaster virtually ruled the kingdom. In 1322, however, with the advice and help of two new royal favorites, the baron Hugh le Despenser, and his son, also Hugh le Despenser, Edward defeated Lancaster in battle and had him executed. The le Despensers thereupon became de facto rulers of England. They summoned a Parliament in which the commons were included and which repealed the ordinances of 1311 on the ground that they had been passed by the barons only. The repeal was a great step forward in English constitutional development, for it meant that thenceforth no law passed by Parliament was valid unless the House of Commons approved it.
Edward again futilely invaded Scotland in 1322, and in 1323 signed a 13-year truce with Bruce. In 1325 Queen Isabella accompanied the prince of Wales to France, where, in accordance with feudal custom, he did homage to king Charles IV for the fief of Aquitaine. Isabella, who desired to depose the le Despensers, allied herself with some barons who had been exiled by Edward. In 1326, with their leader, Roger de Mortimer, Isabella raised an army and invaded England. Edward and his favorites fled, but his wife's army pursued and executed the le Despensers. Edward II was effectively deposed by his wife Isabelle and her lover Mortimer, who had the parliament of Westminster force the king's abdication and replace him with his son of 14, who reigned until 1377 as Edward III. Edward II was captured in 1326, deposed in 1327, imprisoned in Berkeley Castle where he was mistreated in hopes that he would die of disease and malnutrition, but the king had a strong constitution, so he was put to death with cruelty September 21; it was announced that he died of natural causes.
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