Edward II of England
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(B. 1284, 25 years old in 1309)
Prince of England (1284-) and heir of the kingdom of England
Edward II is the fourth son of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, but he becomes the heir of the throne when his brother dies a few months after his birth. If King Edward tries to train him to become a good military leader and ruler for the kingdom, Edward II is more interested in entertainment that is not normally worthy of a noble man, such as boating or craftwork. He is always crushed by his father authority and becomes a frivolous, unconfident young man who prefers to rely on others instead of making his own decisions.
In order to help his son grow virile and mature, Edward I accepts a young man, Piers Gaveston, at the court of England and set things up for his son to befriend this wise, skilful fighter. But the relationship between both young men grows into something more when Edward II proposes Gaveston to make a pact and become brothers-in-arms, thus sharing all their possessions and fighting to death for each other. King Edward is not pleased with this since it implied Gaveston has a right on the kingdom of England.
Before the Battle of Basingstoke in 1304, Edward II deserts the battlefield with a company of knights to enter a tournament in Cornwall. The young men enjoy their trip and celebrate with wine and beer, when Edward I arrives with his personal guards. The irate king instantly confiscates the lands of all the knights who followed Prince Edward and banishes Gaveston whom he suspects of being the instigator of the desertion. On their way back to London, both son and father remain quiet, but upon his arrival at the castle, Prince Edward seeks refuge in the arms of his mother and praises her to help him. The Queen finally convinces Edward I to give their lands back to the young knights, but she does not succeed in getting the King’s pardon for Gaveston.
In 1304, King Edward arranges a wedding with the young daughter of King Philippe IV of France, Isabelle, reputedly beautiful. But although the princess is, indeed, charming, Edward II does not notice any of her charms.
King Edward falls ill in 1307, speaking nonsense during assemblies of the King’s Council. As sole heir of the kingdom of England, Edward II is appointed regent until the recovery of his father. The first thing he does is to call Gaveston back in England. He does not get involved in the kingdom's matters thus displeasing many lords. Furthermore, in 1308, he lends part of his royal army to Gaveston so he can march on Cornwall to take the earldom back from Mortimer's hands. The English barons grow more and more resentful over the Prince, and Thomas Plantagenet leads the first revolt against royalty, also in 1308. He claims the right of regency for himself, as the King’s nephew, and marches on London with an army he previously assembled in his earldom of Lancaster. He is soon followed by Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and son-in-law of King Edward, who settles his troops on a field in the West of London. Then, a few months later, William the Conqueror's army arrives from the south.
By 1309, Edward II has to defend London in order to preserve his Crown. Thankfully, his father recovers. However, the King is deeply disappointed by his son's lack of authority, leadership and abilities to govern the kingdom.