Call the Accused. You Be the Judge.

King Edward the Second of England
King Edward the Second of England

You are Edward Plantagenet, King Edward the Second of England, son of the one they called Longshanks,?

This is a farce. I am the king, I am answerable to no one.

You are charged by History with gross incompetence in the performing of your duties and with being an effeminate homosexual. What do you say to that?

I would say give me your sword, and you would see how effeminate I am.

I’ll fillet you clean and stick your head on a post for the birds.

Let us first discuss your wife, the queen. She alleges she shared her marriage bed with another man.

Does she say there was three of us in it at once? She would say anything if it suited her purpose, that woman. Like this drivel here.

isabella4She alleges that you neglected her, that you were in love with another, a former squire called Piers Gaveston.

She was 12 years old when I married her!

Did she think I would ravish her that first night? What sort of animal do you think I am?

Besides it was a marriage made for political reasons, her father’s and mine. She knew that.

But when she reached a child-bearing age. Did you not ignore her?

We had four children. What does that tell you?

That you slept with her four times.

And you still think me effeminate?

I would say four bull’s eyes from four arrows is damn good archery in any time and place.

Can you boast the same?

But you did love Gaveston more?

Of course I did. What’s wrong with that?

If Piers had been a woman would anyone have sneered behind my back, would that have coloured their opinion?

If he were my mistress they would have laughed and clapped me on the back and made up bawdy rhymes praising my manhood.

Sleep with one man and they say you are a bad king. Sleep with a hundred women you are Henry the Eighth.

Queen Isabella
Queen Isabella

You never loved her, then?

No, I never loved her, not in that way, but what men do love their wives? That is not the purpose of marriage, it wasn’t in my day anyway.

But I was fond of her. I took care of her in every way. She had nothing to complain of.

But she did, didn’t she, by God!

She tried to warn you about this Piers Gaveston. You provoked your barons by sleeping with him and giving him favours and raising him above his station.

I ruled by the divine right of kings! I am answerable to God for what I do, no one else!

I did not need my barons’ permission to make him Duke of Cornwall or do anything else I wished.  God made me their king!

They were impudent and they paid for it, every one of them. Bastards.

But your rein was a disaster for England.

Is that what I am accused of here, of not being as great a warrior as Longshanks, that old curmudgeon? ‘

Well he never liked me and I hope he is spinning in his grave like a top.

Anyway, I never wanted to be King of England. I had no choice in the matter.

You led your troops to disaster at Bannockburn.

If the barons -Lancaster and Warwick and the rest – if they had sent troops to support me I might have prevailed.

Instead they sat at home and sulked and let me do their fighting for them and when luck deserted me they blamed for it.

I wonder, did luck desert me – or was it them that did the deserting?

Your failure against the Scots is one thing. Allowing your private relationships to lead England to civil war is another. You provoked the barons once with Gaveston. Then  you did it again with Hugh Despenser!

I had my reasons for Despenser. They are in the book.

You can believe them or disbelieve them as you please.

But surely you can’t think I was in love with him? He was hardly a man of Piers mettle, was he?

Piers meant that much to you? … Will you answer please?

If it was a woman, you would have understood it. History would have made it into one of the great love stories.

Instead I have been pilloried like this!

I have had enough. You have all badgered me all my life, in death you will surely let me be. Talk about me in my absence all you want. I shall answer no more of your questions.

Damn you all!

Please click the book cover image to read more about Colin Falconer and his historical novels.

 

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Very clever, Colin. It’s the best and most entertaining way I’ve ever seen to promote a book and make the reader enjoy every word.

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