Questions and Answers

About "The First Vial" and Medieval Times

October 8, 2008

DEATH OF A KING

How did Edward II meet his end?
What was the ghastly murder?


Edward II had a weak character and always needed someone to lean on. He was a disorganized man, a poor ruler.

When his son (who became Edward III) was fifteen years old, Edward II was deposed with these scathing words from Parliament's proctor - 'I do make this protestation in the name of all those that will not, for the future, be in your fealty or allegiance; nor claim to hold anything of you as king but account you as a private person, without any manner of royal dignity.'

A deposed monarch is considered a menace and a rallying point for all discontent and a violent solution is often found for a defeated ruler. Poor Edward II fared no better.

Eventually confined to a little cell in Berkeley Castle, a night came when the other inmates of the castle were awakened from sleep by shrieks emenating from the king's cell. The horror and agony in his cries were so loud that they reached the ears of the village nearby. Knowing full well what it meant, the people hid their heads under the bedclothes.

In the morning it was told that Edward had expired in the night from natural causes and the guards and domestic staff were permitted to view his body. It was laid out on a disordered bed in his cell and all saw that the features of the dead man were still contorted with violence and pain. And for good reason. The assassins waited until their victim was sound asleep then flung a table on top of him. While two men held down the table, a third proceeded to burn out his inside organs with a red-hot bar of iron. Inserted through a horn, no marks were made on the surface of the body.

So ended the life of this unfortunate king.

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