Edward II: His Sexuality and Relationships

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Category: Humanities

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9781399098175

RRP: $65.00


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Edward II is one of the most unsuccessful and unconventional kings in English history, and is well-known for having passionate and probably intimate relationships with men. In modern times, he has often been considered an LGBT+ icon of sorts. Edward II’s Relationships looks at the men in the king’s life and examines the relations he had with them in the context of medieval notions of sexuality and the famous, albeit almost certainly mythical, idea that he was murdered with a red-hot poker as punishment for having sex with men. It also investigates Edward’s associations with women. Though often thought of as a gay man, it is more likely that Edward was bisexual: he fathered an illegitimate son in his early twenties, at the age of forty had an intimate encounter with a woman in London which is recorded in his household account, and might even have had an incestuous relationship with his own niece. Edward’s marriage to the king of France’s daughter Isabella, arranged when they were children, has often been depicted as a tragic disaster from start to finish. Edward II’s Relationships takes a detailed look at the royal marriage and at all the evidence that it was in fact a happy and mutually supportive partnership for many years, and at Isabella’s important though over-romanticised association with the baron Roger Mortimer. Because Edward is often assumed to have been solely attracted to men, numerous modern authors have depicted him as a grotesque caricature of a camp, weak, foppish gay man. Edward II’s Relationships reveals him as he truly was: as a chronicler puts it, ‘one of the strongest men in his realm’. AUTHOR: Kathryn Warner holds a BA and an MA with Distinction in medieval history and literature from the University of Manchester, and is the author of biographies about Edward II and his queen Isabella, and other fourteenth-century figures. Kathryn has had work published in the English Historical Review, has given a paper at the International Medieval Congress, and appeared in a BBC documentary. 25 b/w illustrations

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