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Long Live the King

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.
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About the Author

Kathryn Warner has been a recognised expert on the reign of Edward II (1307-27) for more than ten years. She works part-time as an English teacher, and carries out historical research on the fourteenth century. She gives lectures about Edward, his life and reign and possible survival after 1327, in the UK and in Italy.

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