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King Edward III


1312 - 1377

English king. Edward III was born at Windsor, the eldest son of Edward II and Isabella of France. Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, one of several disaffected Barons, had imprisoned and then killed the unpopular Edward II. They held power until the young Edward reached majority. Rather more effective than his father, Edward arrested his mother and Mortimer as soon as he took power, hanging the latter. He married Philippa of Holland in 1328.

Edward was crowned in 1327, and the uneasy truce with Scotland was quickly ended, with the Scottish army invading. Although a further truce was concluded, when Robert the Bruce died in 1329, Edward involved himself in the politics of the succession. Edward supported Edward Balliol (c.1283 - 1364), who was a malleable if incompetent individual, and invaded laying siege to Berwick-upon-Tweed and heavily defeating the Scots at Hallidon Hill (1333). Edward was forced to support Balliol's precarious rule on two further occasions (1335, when he marched to Perth and 1336, when he burned Aberdeen), before tiring of what he saw as an unprofitable campaign and turning his attentions to France. He appointed himself King of France (his mother had been daughter of the French king) and invaded. He continued a series of popular campaigns in France for the remainder of his life.

The young David II (1324 - 1371) had taken the opportunity to invade, but the Scottish army was defeated at Neville's Cross (1346) and David taken prisoner. It took 13 years and 100,000 marks for Edward to release him.

Edward died at Richmond. He left England stronger, richer and more respected than it had been even in the times of his grand-father, Edward I (1239 - 1307).


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