Family Tree for Edward II, son of King Edward I showing:
King Edward II was born 25th April 1284 to King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile at Caernarfon Castle, Wales. He was the fourteenth of the couple’s fifteen children. When he was four months old he became heir to the throne when his elder brother, Alfonso, died.
Edward was educated by Dominican friars and was taught riding and military skills by Guy Ferre.
In 1301 Edward was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. This began a tradition that exists to this day whereby the eldest son of the reigning monarch takes the title Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.
In 1289, as part of a treaty with Scotland, Edward was betrothed to Margaret, Maid of Norway, the 6 year old heir to the Scottish throne. The aim of the treaty was to bring peace to Scotland and to give Edward I a hand in the politics of Scotland. However, the young Margaret died on the journey from Norway to Scotland.
A year later, in 1291, Edward was betrothed to the half sister of Philip IV of France, Blanche. The betrothal was broken by Edward’s father who was going to marry her himself but then changed his mind.
in 1294, Edward was betrothed for the third time to Philippa, daughter of Guy of Flanders. Philip IV of France was so annoyed that he forced Guy to repudiate the marriage then kept Philippa imprisoned for life.
Marriage and Family
In 1299, it was agreed that Edward would marry Philip IV’s 4 year old daughter, Isabella. The marriage went ahead in 1308 when Isabella was 13 years old. The couple had four children, but they were not especially close, largely due to Edward’s close relationship with Piers Gaveston.
By 1326 the marriage had broken down and Isabella had begun an affair with Edward’s enemy, Roger Mortimer.
Piers Gaveston joined Edwards household in 1300. The two soon became very close friends and may have had a homosexual relationship. Edward’s favourite was knighted in 1306, a move which elevated his status. However, he was exiled by Edward I the following year.
King Edward I died soon afterwards and Edward became King Edward II. He immediately recalled Piers Gaveston and created him Earl of Cornwall. Gaveston’s increasing power began to anger the barons as well as Edward’s wife Isabella and father-in-law Philip IV of France.
With opposition mounting, Edward had no choice but to remove Gaveston. Oiers was created Lieutenant of Ireland and sent to manage the country.
When Gaveston returned in 1309, tensions with the barons increased again. The following year parliament refused to grant Edward taxation in protest against the power of Gaveston. In 1312, with Edward still refusing to reduce the influence of Gaveston, the Barons planned to capture Edward, Isabella and Gaveston. The three split up and Gaveston surrendered to the Earl of Pembroke. However, he was seized by the Earl of Warwick who executed him after a show trial.
Edward was distraught at the death of his favourite, but with Gaveston gone, the nobles pledged allegiance to Edward.
In 1316, England was plunged into civil war when the Barons led by Roger Mortimer opposed Edward’s rule. Edward did have the support of the Despenser family and father and son, both named Hugh, soon gained the favour of the King. Edward showered the Despensers with gifts and money.
In 1318 a truce was made and it was agreed that all decisions made by the King should be approved by a council of nobles. However, Edward continued to favour the Despensers and in 1321 the civil war resumed. The nobles demanded that the Despensers be exiled and Edward was forced to comply to restore peace.
In 1323 Charles IV demanded that Edward pay homage to him in respect of Gascony. In 1325 Edward’s wife, Isabella and his son, Edward, went to France to pay homage to Charles. Isabella decided not to return to England or her husband and began a relationship with Roger Mortimer who had been exiled to France. Those nobles who were dissatisfied with Edward’s rule soon joined them in France.
In 1326 Roger Mortimer, Queen Isabella and Prince Edward landed at Orwell on the east coast of England with a small invasion force. They quickly gained support and within months had captured and executed Hugh Despenser elder and younger.
Abdication and Death
In January 1327 the nobles decided that Edward II should be forced to abdicate in favour of his son. On 21st January 1327, Edward was named Edward of Caernarvon while his son became King Edward III. As the new king was still a minor Roger Mortimer and Isabella of Francce would act as joint regents.
Edward died, in custody, on 21st September 1327
Published Oct 11, 2021 @ 8:14 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2021). King Edward II of England 1284 – 1327. Available: https://www.treesofblue.com/king-edward-ii-of-england-1284-1327. Last accessed October 11th, 2021