Edward II succeeded his tyrannical father Edward I to the English throne in July 1307. An inherently weak king, Edward lacked his father’s appetite and flair for war while he suffered at Court from political infighting and poor advisers.
His invasion of Scotland in 1314 was forced upon him by the foolhardy ultimatum presented to England by Edward Bruce, King Roberts’s brother: either relieve the besieged English-held Stirling Castle or surrender it to the Scots. While ha had no will to respond to the challenge, he had even less choice in accepting it.
Edward’s approach to Bannockburn was riddled with as much self doubt as his desire not to be there. Almost inevitably, his tactical incompetence surrendered the huge numerical advantage he had and hastened his defeat. On the second day of battle and reading the runes, he fled the battlefield under the protection of Aymer de Valence and Richard de Burgh, father of Bruce’s wife Elizabeth.
The defeat at Bannockburn demonstrated Edward was no worthy successor to his father and further losses at the hands of the Scots during their successful campaigns against the north of England in following years, weakened his monarchy even further. Edward eventually suffered deposition and arrest, and was imprisoned at Berkeley Castle, one of the English rooks in this set. Although he escaped briefly, he was recaptured only to die there in suspicious circumstances in September 1327.