Edward II

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Edward II,

1284–1327, king of England (1307–27), son of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, called Edward of Carnarvon for his birthplace in Wales.

The Influence of Gaveston

He became the first prince of Wales in 1301 and served in the Scottish campaigns from 1301 to 1306. The prince's dissipation caused his father to banish young Edward's friend Piers GavestonGaveston, Piers
, d. 1312, favorite of Edward II of England. Son of a Gascon knight at the court of Edward I, he was a boyhood playmate of the future Edward II and acquired great influence over him.
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, who, however, returned to England immediately on Edward II's succession (1307) to the throne. Edward married IsabellaIsabella,
1296–1358, queen consort of Edward II of England, daughter of Philip IV of France. She married Edward in 1308. Neglected and mistreated by her husband, Isabella nourished hatred for the royal favorites, the Despensers (see Despenser, Hugh le), who were
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 of France in 1308. Edward's reliance on Gaveston, both as intimate and adviser, to the exclusion of the baronial council, provoked a crisis. The barons forced Edward to banish (1308) Gaveston, but he soon returned (1309). In 1310 a baronial coalition compelled Edward to consent to the appointment of a committee of 21 lords ordainers to share his ruling powers. The committee drafted the Ordinances of 1311, which, in addition to banishing Gaveston, placed serious restrictions on the royal power. Gaveston was recalled (1311) again, however, and the barons resorted to arms, capturing and killing Gaveston in 1312.

Lancaster and the Despensers

Edward tried to renew his father's campaigns against Scotland, but his forces were routed by Robert IRobert I
or Robert the Bruce,
1274–1329, king of Scotland (1306–29). He belonged to the illustrious Bruce family and was the grandson of that Robert the Bruce who in 1290 was an unsuccessful claimant to the Scottish throne.
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 at Bannockburn in 1314. General disorder followed in England, and for a while the most powerful man in the country was Edward's cousin, Thomas, earl of Lancaster (see Lancaster, house ofLancaster, house of
, royal family of England. The line was founded by the second son of Henry III, Edmund Crouchback, 1245–96, who was created earl of Lancaster in 1267.
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). Lancaster was supplanted (1318) by a moderate group of barons under Aymer de Valence, earl of PembrokePembroke, Aymer de Valence, earl of
, d. 1324, English nobleman; nephew of Aymer of Valence, bishop of Winchester. He succeeded his father, William, half-brother of Henry III, as earl of Pembroke in 1296.
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, who conciliated the king and maintained a relatively stable government until 1321. In that year, Lancaster led a rebellion against the king's new favorites, Hugh le DespenserDespenser, Hugh le
, d. 1265, chief justiciar of England. He joined the barons in their struggle against Henry III and received various offices, becoming chief justiciar in 1260. He lost this office in 1261 but was restored to it in 1263.
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 (1262–1326) and his son. Lancaster was defeated and executed (1322). A Parliament at York (1322) revoked the Ordinances, and Edward, now dominated by the Despensers, regained control of the government. A truce was made (1323) with Robert I that virtually recognized him as king of the Scots. The Despensers carried through some notable administrative reforms, but their avarice caused them to make many enemies.

Abdication and Murder

When trouble threatened with the new king of France (Charles IV, brother of Edward's queen, Isabella), the queen went as envoy to France in 1325, taking her son (later Edward III). Having been alienated by Edward's neglect, she refused to return home while the Despensers ruled. Isabella, with her son and Roger de MortimerMortimer, Roger de, 1st earl of March,
1287?–1330, English nobleman. He inherited (c.1304) the vast estates and the title of his father, Edmund, 7th baron of Wigmore.
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, 1st earl of March, gathered a force and in 1326 invaded England. Edward II found no one to support him and fled westward. The Despensers were executed and Edward himself was captured and forced to abdicate (1327). He was imprisoned in Berkeley Castle and almost certainly murdered there.


See biography by H. F. Hutchison (1971); J. C. Davies, Baronial Opposition to Edward II (1918, repr. 1967); T. F. Tout, The Place of the Reign of Edward II in English History (2d ed. rev. by H. Johnstone, 1937); H. Johnstone, Edward of Carnarvon, 1284–1307 (1947).

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Edward II

weak English king whose love for Gaviston, Earl of Cornwall, so arouses the anger of the nobles that he loses the crown and is murdered. [Br. Drama: Marlowe Edward II in Magill II, 286]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Edward II

1284--1327, king of England (1307--27); son of Edward I. He invaded Scotland but was defeated by Robert Bruce at Bannockburn (1314). He was deposed by his wife Isabella and Roger Mortimer; died in prison
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
More useful for graduate students and scholars are the links she draws with Roslyn Knutson's later chapter on Edward II in repertory.
For example, in medieval scribal culture, as Alan Stewart wrote, though "the letter may contain the standard conceit of the absent friend's speech, the messenger is not purely metaphoric: it betrays the fact that the letter cannot exist without 'the messenger,' that the messenger is part of the letter." (5) Accordingly, the choice of messenger matters greatly in Edward II. This element goes beyond mere "proscriptions and subscriptions" that Brailowsky mentions in his title and concerns itself with signification, the producing, sending, and receiving of correspondence.
The court of the newly crowned Edward II is thrown into chaos when he recalls his gay lover Piers Gaveston back from exile to share his reign.
Conversely, just such a triumph might allow Edward II to see off his opponents in England.
Edward II was at Gloucester in around 1323, enjoying Abbot John Thonky's hospitality.
The accommodationist political stance evident in such a choice is thrown into relief when one compares McKellen's Richard III to another film of a Renaissance history play released earlier in the same decade, Derek Jarman's Edward II (1991).
"The mightiest kings have had their minions," Mortimer senior tells his nephew in Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, listing a string of classical precedents.
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE ELBOWS THE BARD ASIDE as Washington, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Company opens its new $89-million Sidney Harman Hall with a brawny rep of Tamburlaine and Edward II (through Jan.
The specially-commissioned photographic image depicts Birmingham Royal Ballet, and is titled Edward II.
Similarly, the title pages of three of Marlowe's plays advertised their company owners: Dido, Queen of Carthage, the Children of the Queen's Chapel; Edward II, Pembroke's Men; and The Massacre at Paris, the Admiral's Men.
Brown's 'Tampering with the Records: Engendering the Political Community and Marlowe's Appropriation of the Past in Edward II' explores another area where Marlowe's work challenges developing notions of Englishness: the writing of history.