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.