This (long!) article was inspired by my huge irritation a) that so many people still think the Braveheart story of William Wallace fathering Isabella of France’s child is somehow factual – people hit this blog pretty well every day searching for it – and b) that the notion of Edward II not being the father of his own eldest child has so well and truly taken hold in the popular imagination. For examples, if you can stomach them, seehere, here, here, here and
here, and the novels cited below. Read them and weep. I cannot adequately express my annoyance that a man with an Oxford doctorate on Isabella (Paul Doherty) wrote a novel (Death of a King) in which Edward III’s biological father is Roger Mortimer, which Doherty must know is absolute BS but chose to sex up his novel by including it anyway and thereby giving the notion spurious plausibility. Agh.
EDIT: Thanks to Susan Higginbotham for telling me about a very recent post claiming that Edward II may have been ‘cuckolded’ and not the father of his children, in the Yahoo group of the Richard III Society, no less. Check out Susan’s excellent and elegant rebuttal.Braveheart features the future King Edward II as a fairly major character, with Edward – in real life, an enormously strong, athletic and handsome man – caricatured as a useless feeble court fop whose lover is thrown out of a window and whose wife cuckolds him with William Wallace. There are countless historical inaccuracies in Braveheart, which have been well detailed elsewhere, and I won’t go into them here. I just want to focus on one: the statement at the end of the film that Wallace is the real father of the baby Edward’s wife Isabella is carrying, who is, presumably, intended to be Isabella’s first-born child King Edward III.Let’s check some basic dates and facts here: