Edward II and his Minions

Harold F. Hutchison describes how the tastes and affections of King Edward II were disgusting to the medieval orthodoxy of monks and barons.

Edward II, of all our English monarchs, has been the most vilified and the most condemned. ‘A big dull unmannerly oaf’; ‘absolutely destitute of all those qualities which constitute Edward I’s claim to greatness’; ‘a scatter-brained wastrel’; ‘totally unfit to rule’; ‘a brutal and brainless athlete’; ‘an aimless trifier without poise or sense of values’; ‘lazy and incapable’1 - these are samples of the unrestrained language in which sober historians have delivered their unanimous condemnation of the character and career of Edward II.

Most of the medieval chroniclers at least admired his physical qualities - ‘faire of body and grete of strengthe’, which reminded his one contemporary, and very able, biographer of the ‘strengthe and comliness of his father’; but they too are unanimous in lamenting Edward II’s idleness, his ‘low’ tastes, and, above all, his affection for unworthy ‘favourites’.2

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