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Fascinating Facts: Edward III

Fascinating facts: Edward III [1327-1377]
  • When he was crowned, at 14, his father was still alive, and his mother Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer ruled as Regents.
  • He was tall and handsome, with red-blonde hair. He was the ideal knight, strong, aggressive and skilled at feats of arms.
  • He liked magnificence in dress and kept an opulent court.
  • Edward had no instruction in kingship but learned from the Regents what not to do, and read widely in English history.
  • He fought the Scots and the French, including the famous battle at Crécy in August 1346. Edward put heart into his troops, riding up and down their ranks on a warhorse, and the battle was won.
  • He had such a splendid court, and was so lavish, that he was compared to King Arthur, and in the manner of the Round Table, in 1348 he inaugurated the Order of the Garter.
  • At the moment of his greatest success, the kingdom was struck by the Black Death. One third of the population died including two of his children.
  • When the plague was over, Edward and his grown sons fought in France again, and eventually gained Aquitaine in return for renouncing his claim to the French throne.
  • Edward had the misfortune to outlive his glory. In his last years, weak and feeble-minded, he fell under the control of his Chamberlain and Steward, who enriched themselves at his expense and tarnished the high reputation of the court.
  • When he died he was alone. His mistress Alice Peres came, not to comfort him, but to steal the rings from his fingers.