I've said it before and I'll say it again, Edward II probably wasn't
as bad as he's often made out (do you have a source on the "Edward I was disappointed/very little hope"? BTW). Edward II is sandwiched between two "great" rulers. His dad and son cast pretty long shadows. OTOH, I wouldn't call Edward II a terrible ruler by a long shot.
- Edward I was a bully - sorry @VVD0D95, know he's something of a favourite of yours - and used those tactics in Scotland, in Wales, in his "mediation" between the Anjou and Aragonese claimants of the kingdom of Sicily, even against his own barons. And that's before we get onto calling Leonor of Castile "a whore" after she was dead. Charming guy.
- Great king? Brave man? I think not. Edward I was only present (I don't know if he actually fought) at three battles during his entire reign (Lewes in 1264, Evesham in 1265 and Falkirk in 1298). Rest of the time he was sitting in the command tent safely out of harm's way.
- Edward I had money problems. In fact, most of Edward II's financial problems were inherited from his dad's military campaigns (see the bullying point above).
- Submissive to France? How do you figure? He got deposed by his French queen for not being submissive enough.
As Kathryn Warner writes
Edward II being "slow to respond" in Scotland, how? He was there ASAP as his father died.
As to the "money troubles" part, Longshanks had left a terrible
credit record with everyone from parliament, the London merchants and the international banking elite. When Edward II called the lords up in 1309, they arrived in arms, told him that Gaveston had to go, but also "we want to be in charge". In 1310, they come to parliament unless Gaveston's gone. And then, after that happened, the lords showed up armed to the teeth (full armour, sword, mace, the works) - again. This time they told him that the war in Scotland - you know, the one Edward II's just
ended was his fault
(despite Edward I starting it).
When Edward tried to make peace with Bob the Bruce the answer was no. When Edward then tried to go to war with Bob, nobody answered. The lords told him "we've got more important things to do in London". The only lords who didn't
screw Edward over were Warenne, Gloucester and Cornwall, the rest sent the barest minimum that they could get away with and Lancaster backed them doing it.
As for the delay in actually going to war with Bruce, Edward going off to France for the knighting of his three brothers-in-law like it's a frat party, it isn't. Edward had no money, no army and Bob wouldn't fight against Edward until he knew he could win. At the "frat party" in France, Edward was going to secure that France didn't jump in, and that he would
go to war (even taking the field against Bruce himself - something his dad never did).
In 1313, Edward II has those humiliating ordinances that the lords put on him nullified and essentially makes them "eat their words". It's worth noting that most of these guys are the same lords who had issues with Edward a decade later. Sounding suspicious yet?
As to the whole "pro French" accusation. Need we point out that it was Edward's French queen
who led the revolution against him? That it was his French
queen who negotiated their children's marriages to Guelders, Scotland and Hainaut, that Edward II's original plan had been Edward III to Violante of Aragon (there was also talk of him marrying the OTL empress (Philippa's older sister) and one of Emperor Ludwig IV's daughters from his first marriage), Eleanor to Alfonso IX of Castile, Joan was to be married to Violante's brother, Pedro IV of Aragon.
And while it's a little off topic: Edward II's household accounts (as well as contemporary chroniclers) show that he wasn't a shirker for manual labour either. He dug ditches at Clarendon Palace side-by-side with his men, there's a record of him assisting in a forge at Porchester, and helped another group of men clearing ditches around the king's cottage near Westminster Abbey (after which he bought a round). Pretty hard to make that image agree with the usual "whiny", "whinging", "silly flowergirl [as he was called in one historical novel]"
I'd personally love to see a TL where Edward II doesn't
get deposed. Sure, maybe he'd go bad/mad after defeating Mortimer, but it'd be interesting to see what happens in England/Europe with a decent diplomat in charge and not a bully (Edward I/III) or an overly-ambitious woman (Isabelle de France; because you can't tell me that she wasn't
ambitious. Her whole orchestrating of the Tour de Nesle affair to my mind is enough indication of that)
@isabella @Space Oddity @CaptainShadow