Edward II (1284-1327) and Isabella of France (1295-1358)
I've read that Edward II was a gay and his marriage with Isabella was just for public.When I 've watched "The Brave Heart" where they put the idea of Queen Isabella and William Wallace relation,but it's probably fiction.
Then I've read that true father of Edward III was Earl of Mortimer and not the king,whom they forced to abdicate.
What was the destiny of Isabella,her husband and Mortimer when Edward III became the king?
Edward II is rumored to have been bisexual. He fathered at least five children, one of them an illegitimate son named Adam FitzRoy.
His marriage to Isabella of France was a political alliance, as were virtually all royal marriages of the time. He married her the year after he became king, and it was expected that he should have sons to inherit the throne. Regardless of the fact that he preferred men as lovers, he did realize his duty to provide an heir for England and therefore continue his bloodline. It should be noted, too, that there was about eleven years difference between his age and that of his wife. When they were married in 1308, Edward II was 24 years old and Isabella was about 13 years old.
Even though he was widely believed to have had affairs with his male favorites, he did father four children with Isabella - Edward III; John, Earl of Cornwall; Eleanor, Duchess of Guelders; and Joanna, Queen of Scotland. Edward II is the undisputed father of Edward III and the other three children. Contemporary records and household accounts show that Edward and Isabella were together in the nine months before each child was born, so he is the father of all four. There is no evidence that Isabella had any other lover than Roger Mortimer.. and that relationship began almost five years after the birth of her youngest child, Joanna.
Her marriage was not a happy one, however, because Edward II often neglected his wife, spending most of his time with his court favorites (and presumed lovers). Isabella grew to hate her husband and his friends.
In the early years of their marriage, the Queen supported her husband and tried to be the model wife and consort. She did not begin her affair with Roger Mortimer until 1325, which was after her marriage to Edward was basically over. She had separated from and not lived with Edward since about 1322, and since that time had had her younger children taken from her, her lands seized and her French attendants had been arrested - all at the demand of the Despencers.
Both Isabella and Mortimer decided to overthrow Edward II and put the heir on the throne instead, because Edward's rule was becoming disastrous for England.. and she also wanted revenge on the hated Despencer family.
Mortimer's army defeated Edward and he was forced to abdicate. The Despencers were executed, and Isabella became Regent for her young son with Mortimer as the real power behind the throne. Edward II was held prisoner until 1327, when he was supposedly murdered at Berkeley Castle.
Whether Edward II's death was pre-meditated murder, accidental homicide or a "fatal accident" as was reported to Queen Isabella, is a matter of hot debate among historians. There are several theories as to the events leading up to Edward's death.
Edward III deposed Mortimer in 1330 and began ruling England in his own right. His mother had been Regent for four years, enriching both herself and Mortimer and living a lavish lifestyle at English expense. Edward brought Mortimer to trial for treason, for which he was found guilty, and had him executed at Tyburn.
The relationship between his mother and the Earl of March was never mentioned, and she was portrayed as his innocent victim. She was placed under house arrest until 1332, but by all accounts, the love between Isabella and Roger Mortimer was very real and theirs was a passionate relationship.. and a great love story. It is possible that she suffered a nervous breakdown after Mortimer's execution.
In her later years, though, she was a loving grandmother and a very wealthy woman, who spent quite a bit of her time at court and traveling around England. Eventually she took the habit of a nun before her death in 1358. She was buried in London in her wedding dress and Edward II's heart was buried with her, at her request.
** Isabella never met William Wallace. He was executed in 1305, when she was about 10 years old. Her marriage was still several years away, and she was living in France at the time of his execution. That part of Braveheart is completely a work of dramatic fiction. **
Who were the contemporary chroniclers who mentioned the rumors that Edward was gay?
The actual terms "homosexual" and "heterosexual" were not used until the 1880's, according to the Oxford Dictionary.. so these are relatively new words in the English language.
The medieval church believed that man, by his very nature, could be sexually attracted to just about anything, and that only a moral and religious upbringing would prevent these "unnatural" attractions from manifesting. Personally, I believe this was a lingering remnant of the vulgarities of the Romans.
So in contemporary sources during Edward II's reign, you will not find anyone who blatantly says he prefers men as his sexual partners. Such a work would undoubtedly have meant death for the writer, because sexual deviancy was a serious offense in medieval Europe.. and casting such dispersions on a reigning king would have been treason.
There are, however, several contemporary works available that reveal the relationships between Edward II and his favorites.. keeping in mind that these works do not explicitly repeat rumors of homosexuality between them.
Vita Edwardi Secundi is probably considered the most reliable source of information for this period, although the author is unknown. It covers the years between 1307-1326. There are valid theories that the author could be identified as John Walwayn, a lawyer and clerk to the Earl of Hereford.
Other primary resources include The Chronicles of London, St. Paul's and The Chronicles of Geoffrey Le Barker (aka Geoffrey le Baker).
Thank you for the response. I know that the terms "homosexual" or "gay" were not in vogue back then but was using them for today's audience. And I know it would be treasonous to put such allegations in writing but still, I wanted to know the name(s) of any chroniclers who wrote about the King's favorites. Thanks for providing the primary sources.
I guess this question (whether Edward was gay) can never be decided definitively unless he time travels to the future and tells us in his own words. This belief, pro or con, is subjective and people will believe what they want. It reminds me of a friend whose brother is gay and the friend said his brother believes half the world is gay and the other half wants to be gay. LOL.
The She-Wolf of France. I can't help but to feel a little sorry for poor Edward. I wonder what promoted Mel Gibson to portray Isabel as an innocent victim and Edward as a virtual moron.
Long before Isabella attained her status as a 'she-wolf,' Edward's father, Edward I had already banished Piers Gaveston for being too close to the Crown Prince. The sources for this are listed on Edward I's Wikipedia article (there's a definitive biography of Edward I from the 1980's that is the source for the Piers Gaveston information). No one knows what the whole deal was, but the instant Edward I died, Edward II welcomed Piers back into England - and for some reason, the barons were in general very unhappy with that.
Clearly, both Piers and Edward II had offspring - but today we know that doesn't preclude two men being in love in whatever way they were. Perhaps they were just very close friends - we have a hard enough time telling these kinds of things about living persons (unless they tell us), so there's no way we'll ever know about Piers and Edward - or later, Hugh the Younger Despencer. A scholar named Hamilton, writing in a scholarly journal called Medieval Prosopography (not a well accepted science btw) does cite a chronicle called the Chronicle of Melsa as stating that "Edward particularly delighted in the vice of sodomy."
The rumors that Edward was so inclined toward bisexuality (or whatever we would call it - or he would call it, if he could) started early, indeed. Chaplais has written a biography of Piers and cites two more comtemporary sources as saying the love between the two men was "excessive" and "undue." Whatever that means. Chaplais calls Piers the "adoptive brother" of Edward II. These same chroniclers take a dim view of Piers's influence on the King (mostly fiscal, but also extending to influence over lands and titles).
I am supposedly descended from Isabella through her son (?) William Alfred Knight. Is there any way to find out if WAK was really her son and Roger De Mortimer's?
|All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:21 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2013