Edward II [Plantagenet], King of England

Father:      Edward I, King of England (1239-1307)

Mother:      Eleanor of Castile (1241-1290)

Birth:      25 Apr 1284      Caernarvon Castle, Caernarvonshire, Wales

“The actual day of Edward’s birth was 25 April, the feast of St. Mark. It was on St. Mark’s Day that clergy and people, with crosses veiled in black, sang in procession the ‘Letania major’, with prayers for good weather, good harvests and good health in the ensuing year. The place of birth was described as ‘Carnarvon in Snowdonia’. The words might apply to either town or castle, but it was natural that as time went on the event came to be associated with Edward I’s majestic stronghold. Expert opinion, however, has concluded that this is impossible and that not a stone of the present castle was laid earlier than 1285. There was, however, already a timber-built castle, with a ditch round it and very likely it was in this residence, formerly occupied by his predecessors of the native princely house, that the baby destined to be prince of Wales first saw the light.”1

Baptism:      1 May 1284      St. Publicius Church, Llanbeblig, Caernarvonshire, Wales

“On Mayday the baby, now a week old, was baptised. As Edward, he received a name associated both with his father and with the greatest of English royal saints, Edward the Confessor. Since the building of St. Mary Chapel in Caernarvon did not commence until 1307, the likeliest place for Edward’s baptism is the original parish church of St. Publicius in Llanbeblig, the mother church of Caernarvon, half a mile from the town.”1

Death:      21 Sep 1327      Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire

“Edward III received news of his father’s death late at night on Wednesday 23 September at Lincoln (D.A. Harding, ‘The Regime of Isabella and Mortimer, 1326-1330’, M.Phil. thesis, University of Durham, 1985, p. 145). The death was announced publicly on Monday 28 September, the last day of Parliament. It was stated officially that Edward had died of natural causes at Berkeley Castle on the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist (21 September) (Doherty, Isabella, p. 228.) The accounts rendered by Thomas de Berkeley and John Maltravers tally with this date: they claimed £5 a day for their expenses in guarding the living king from the date they received him (3 April) to 21 September, and after that they claimed the same rate for custody of the dead king’s body until 21 October, when the corpse was handed over to the Abbot of St Peter’s, Gloucester (Moore, Documents Relating to the Death and Burial of King Edward II, p. 217).”2

Burial:      20 Dec 1327      Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire

“The dead king was taken into the abbey (on 21 Oct.) and laid before the high altar. The corpse lay at Gloucester for almost two months. One reason for the delay in burying Edward was the long drawn-out military expedition in Scotland; another was the deliberate ploy by Isabella and Mortimer not to complete the obsequies with unseemly haste. They only reached Gloucester on 19 December, the day before the funeral took place (E/101/382/10. M.20). Quantities of gold leaf were bought for decorating the harness around the coffin. Four standards and twenty pennants were specially made. More gold leaf was used to embroider the funeral robes laid over the casket. Four great lions, edged with gilt, were specially fashioned by the royal painter and placed on each side of the hearse. Statues of the four Evangelists with eight angels were placed, carrying golden censers. On 20 December, after the funeral Mass and the ‘Requiem’, Edward’s corpse was interred on the left side of the high altar.”3

Occupation:      King of England 1307-1327

Spouse:

Princess Isabella of France

Marriage:      25 Jan 1308      Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

“Edward agreed to meet Philip on Sunday, 21 January 1308. Whether by accident or design, he failed to leave England until the 23rd. He arrived at Boulogne on 24 January. On Thursday, 25 January, Edward and Isabella met at the door of the cathedral church of Notre Dame Boulogne where they exchanged vows and were married. The wedding was a major event for European royalty. Mary, the Queen Dowager of France, Isabella’s brothers, Louis, Philip and Charles, the Archduke of Austria, the Duke of Brabant and other European nobility. On Sunday, 28 January, there was a general wedding feast. On the 30th, Edward acted as host at a great banquet arranged for the French court. The King and his new Queen took lodgings near the cathedral, the rest of his retinue sheltering in canvas tents which had been set up around the harbour town of Boulogne.”3

Children:

Edward III (1312-1377)

John of Eltham (1316-1336)

Eleanor of Woodstock (1318-1355)

Joan of the Tower (1321-1362)

Affair:

Unknown Mistress

“The identity of Adam’s mother is unknown, though presumably Edward had a reasonably serious relationship with her, as I can’t imagine that he would have acknowledged her child as his own unless he was certain that he was the father – which of course implies that he knew her well enough and for long enough to be sure that she wasn’t having sex with anyone else. Given that ‘Adam’ is not a name from Edward’s family, presumably the unknown mistress was the daughter or sister of a man called Adam, or a man called Adam was the boy’s godfather. I haven’t a clue as to who this man might be – Edward had several servants with this name, including Adam of Lichfield, his lion-tamer.”4

Children:

Adam (~1308->1322)

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Sources

1. Hilda Johnstone, Edward of Carnarvon, 1284-1307, Manchester University Press (Manchester: 1946).

2. Ian Mortimer, The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327-1330, Pimlico (London: 2004).

3. Paul Doherty, Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II, Carroll & Graf (New York, 2003).

4. Kathryn Warner, “In Which I Fail To Discover Any New Information About Edward II’s Illegitimate Son,” 21 July 2009.