Edward III

Edward III (* 13 November 1312, † 21 June 1377) was born at Windsor Castle, the first child of Edward II and Isabella of France. His father was delighted with the birth. The prince’s childhood was certainly marked by the ongoing conflicts between the king and the nobility. In 1325, Edward II sent his son to France as agreed with Charles VI to take the oath of liege for the French territories. Isabella followed him soon after. When she announced that she would not return to England until Edward II had removed the Despensers from his court, she presented a danger in two respects. A queen who refused to return to her country was in principle a security risk. But since she also prevented the return of the heir to the throne, there were far-reaching political consequences, especially against the background of Anglo-French relations. To secure the support of Wilem of Hainault, the husband of her cousin Jeanne de Valois, for an invasion of England, Isabella arranged a marriage between her son Edward and Jeanne’s daughter Philippa. After Isabella and Mortimer had overthrown the Despensers and Edward II had abdicated in favour of his son, the wedding took place in England in 1328. In the early years, Edward III had to watch as his mother and her lover ruled the country in a less than favourable manner. Only when Philippa was already six months pregnant could Isabella no longer prevent the coronation of her daughter-in-law. With the birth of the heir to the throne, who was also named Edward, Edward III felt strong enough to take power. Mortimer was executed and Isabella was forced to withdraw from politics, although the good relationship with her son remained.
Edward III was in many ways reminiscent of his grandfather Edward I. However, he made the nobility his most important ally. Although during his reign the reconquest of Scotland failed, the Hundred Years' War with France began and England was ravaged by two great plague epidemics, he is counted among the great English monarchs because he managed to stabilise the country. Only one king before him (Henry III) and two queens after him (Victoria, Elizabeth II) reigned longer than Edward III. Despite the clearly political arrangement, his marriage to Philippa was very happy. Together they had thirteen children. Her death in 1369 was a severe shock to the king, who began to suffer from a form of senile dementia in 1371. His eldest son Edward, the Black Prince, died of dysentery in 1376. The latter’s son became king of England in 1377 as Richard II and took after his grandfather Edward II very much.

Edward II

The Prince of Wales is a marginal figure in the play, with nothing to suggest that he will one day become an important ruler.

Aktualisiert am 18.01.2023

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