Long Live the King : The Mysterious Fate of Edward II
Edward II's death at Berkeley Castle in 1327, murdered by having a red-hot poker inserted inside him, is one of the most famous and lurid tales in all of English history. But is it true? For five and a half centuries, few people questioned it, but with the discovery in a Montpellier archive of a remarkable document, an alternative narrative has presented itself: that Edward escaped from Berkeley Castle and made his way to Ireland, to the pope in Avignon and through Brabant, Cologne and Milan to an Italian hermitage. Was Edward in fact still alive years after his supposed death? Many influential people among his contemporaries certainly believed that he was, and acted upon that belief.
In Long Live the King, medieval historian Kathryn Warner explores in detail Edward's downfall and forced abdication in 1326/27, the role played in it by his wife Isabella of France, the wide variation in chronicle accounts of his murder at Berkeley Castle, and the fascinating possibility that Edward lived on in Italy for many years after his official funeral was held in Gloucester in December 1327.