On This Day

Edward II

King of England Edward II

Profession: King of England

Nationality:
England
English

Why Famous: Edward was the fourth son of King Edward I, and became the heir apparent after the death of his older brother Alphonso, and succeeded his father after his death in 1307. He reigned until his deposition in 1327.

Edward's reign was controversial in the beginning for the involvement of his favourite Piers Gaveston, with whom he may have had a sexual relationship. Gaveston's arrival in the court was opposed by the barons, who felt that Gaveston had too much power. Increased unrest at his presence and other tensions led to the Ordinances of 1311, a series of regulations on Edward's power, that were accepted and then revoked by the King. Gaveston was executed 1312 by the Earl of Warwick, leading to several years of dispute between the barons and the King.

In 1314 Edward was defeated in battle by Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn, and compounding this was a disastrous famine between 1315 and 1317, leading to more criticism of his rule. In 1321 a group of barons seized the lands of Hugh Despenser the Younger, an ally of Edward's, after which the King executed the Earl of Lancaster.

Faced with an increasingly unstable situation and rising opposition to his rule, Edward's wife, Isabella, defected and joined sides with Roger Mortimer, a baron who Edward had exiled. They invaded England in 1326, and Edward's regime soon collapsed, forcing him to Wales, where he was captured and died in September 1327, likely executed on the orders of the new government.

Born: April 25, 1284
Birthplace: Caernarfon Castle, Wales, Kingdom of England
Star Sign: Taurus

Died: September 21, 1327 (aged 43)
Cause of Death: Likely murdered on the orders of the new regime

Historical Events

  • 1301-02-07 Edward of Caernarion (later Edward II) becomes first (English) Prince of Wales
  • 1322-10-14 Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeats King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland's independence

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