Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II

Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II - Paul Doherty Paul Doherty goes deep within the medieval world, and comes up with a new theory of the death of Edaward II. Doherty digs into the royal family and dirty secrets that the monarchy would have rather kept hidden..

Isabella, the French princess that was supposed to bring peace, instead she was jealous and was determined to see anyone who vied with her position with her husband brought down. Edward II was a strange king. He preferred to not have to govern to much, delegating as much as he could to those around him, which earned him the disrespect of his barons and lords. They wanted a strong king, one that would expand their holding, instead they got a weak king, governed by his favorites to the detriment of everyone else around him.

Hugh de Spenser was by far the worst thing that could have happened to the King. He was greedy, looking to expand his power and prestige by any means necessary. De Spenser and Edward did more to poison the queen and most of the country against them than they might have realized at the time,although most kings operated under the assumption of divine right, therefore they could do no wrong.

Queen Isabella went to France looking for help in reclaiming her husband. Instead she found Roger Mortimer, and fell in love. She then brought her lover and an army to England, in order to regain control. She wanted it all. In many ways she wasnt any different than De Spenser, although she used the country against the King, at first having a reason to invade, then sweeping in and claiming all that she wanted. After Edward and De Spenser were captured, Edward III came to the throne, of course being ruled by his mother and Mortimer. They were hoping that they could control the king for as long as they wanted, but the underestimated the desire of the teen to be his own person, and rule his own kingdom as he saw fit. After several years of chaffing under his mothers thumb, he quietly gathered his support and captured both the queen and her lover. Mortimer was executed after a short imprisonment, while the queen was sent quietly from court for a while, then regained her place as the queen mother. Edward III held his mother in high regard, either refusing to believe or actually thinking that his other was completely ruled by Mortimer and had no thoughts of treason on her own.

The death of Edward II has long raised speculation, as it has been completely shrouded in mystery for hundreds of years. Doherty does a great job of fleshing out the mystery and adding his own theory to the mix. I enjoy a historian who is not afraid to look outside the box and not take the "accepted" view of history. As he looks into the death he finds several pieces of evidence that do support Edward II having escaped somehow from Berkeley Castle, and living out his life elsewhere, although we do not know what happened after he escaped. The accepted view is that Edward II was quietly murdered at Berkeley, and then quietly covered up so that many questions would not be asked, and allow the country to move on into a new rule. There are questions however as to how Edward could have escaped from his prison. One theory that Doherty does not bring up, and may not have considered is that, Edward's servant knowing he was about to be murdered, helped his master to escape, but how?? If Mortimer and the queen sent men to murder the king, they would have wanted as few people as possible to be in the area at the time. By putting the rumor about that men were trying to help the king to escape, it could have drawn out the majority of the men who were stationed at the castle, and giving more secrecy to the men that were sent to kill the king. Instead it would have given the King the perfect opportunity to escape unnoticed. But how did it happen? We will probably never really know how or what happened.

I loved this book! It was a great read, well documented and researched, with some interesting new theories thrown into the mix! Anyone who wants to think about the what if's of history, this is a good one to read!