Cultural depictions of Edward II of England
Edward II of England has been portrayed in popular culture a number of times.
Theatre and music
The most famous fictional account of Edward II's reign is Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II (c. 1592). It depicts Edward's reign as a single narrative, and does not include Bannockburn. It makes reference to Gaveston.
The English composer John McCabe's ballet, Edward II (1994), is also based on the Marlowe play. Edward II appears in Maurice Druon's series of historical novels The Accursed Kings. Actor Christopher Buchholz played him in the 2005 French TV series adaptation of the novels.
The English world music/folk/reggae band Edward the Second and the Red Hot Polkas, formed in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1985, took for its original name a punning reference to the supposed manner of Edward's murder in the nearby Berkeley Castle.
Margaret Campbell Barnes' Isabel the Fair, Hilda Lewis' Harlot Queen, Maureen Peters' Isabella, the She-Wolf, and Brenda Honeyman's The Queen and Mortimer all focus on Queen Isabella. Eve Trevaskis' King's Wake starts shortly after the fall of the Despensers and ends with the fall of Roger Mortimer.
Most recently, Susan Higginbotham in The Traitor's Wife: A Novel of the Reign of Edward II looks at the reign and its aftermath through the eyes of Hugh le Despenser's wife, Eleanor de Clare. Medieval mystery novelists P. C. Doherty and Michael Jecks have set a number of their books against the backdrop of Edward II's reign.
Part of the plot of Ken Follett's novel World Without End revolves around a secret letter that proved that Edward had survived and escaped imprisonment- a letter which was potentially greatly embarrassing to both Isabella and Edward III.
Chris Hunt's novel, Gaveston, published by the Gay Men's Press in 1992, was a novel based on Edward's life, in particular his relationship with Piers Gaveston, though also his subsequent relationships.
British novelist Robert Goddard's 2007 novel Name to a Face discusses the theories and circumstances of Edward II's survival. Within a fictionalized setting, it is speculated that an older Edward II may be the identity a semi-legendary medieval figure known as the Grey Man of Ennor, who travelled England mysteriously curing sufferers of the Black Death in the mid-14th century.
Film and television
On screen, Edward has been portrayed by:
- Ian McKellen in the BBC TV adaptation of Marlowe's Edward II (1970)
- Philippe Clévenot in the French TV adaptation of Marlowe's Edward II (1982)
- Steven Waddington in Derek Jarman's 1991 cinematic version of Christopher Marlowe's play - which utilized 20th century clothing and gay rights marches as an aspect of the story.
- Peter Hanly in Braveheart (1995). The film portrays Edward as weak, effeminate and homosexual with a Piers Gaveston-like lover. Several sequences are fictional, such as Edward's lover being pushed through a window to his death by Edward I, and Edward being cuckolded by William Wallace, who is represented as the real father of Edward III.
- Richard Brimblecombe in the British film The Bruce (1996)
- Ben Chaplin in the miniseries World Without End during which he survives his assassination and lives in exile in Kingsbridge under the name of Thomas Langley, the man who had been ordered to kill him.