Edward of Caernarfon was the eldest surviving son of King Edward I of England and only surviving son of his first wife, Eleanor of Castille - and because of that, he was - among other things -heir apparent and the first "English Prince of Wales". But all in all,king was most of the time was dissapointed with his son and had very little hope that Caernarfon will be good king. All in all, king was right, as during his reign, Edward II failed miserably on many ocassions - his biggest failure were waiting too long until he intervened in Scotland. He wasted money land and titles on his favorites, was submissive to France, had no idea how to subjugate Ireland and had no idea how to solve financial problems of the crown. Caernarfon's rule was so bad, that he was eventually dethroned by rebels and replaced by his teenage son while he was still alive, and then murdered.

But what if Longshanks was more lucky in 1284, and his first surviving son is more like him ? Assuming that Edward jr. will be more charismatic ( at least in term of "political charisma") and also effective military leader, more interested in making money than spending them is there a chance that England will be able to keep at least part of what it gained during reign of his father? Or England was just too overextanded and there was no way it wouldn't be pushed back into their old place?
 
Edward of Caernarfon was the eldest surviving son of King Edward I of England and only surviving son of his first wife, Eleanor of Castille - and because of that, he was - among other things -heir apparent and the first "English Prince of Wales". But all in all,king was most of the time was dissapointed with his son and had very little hope that Caernarfon will be good king. All in all, king was right, as during his reign, Edward II failed miserably on many ocassions - his biggest failure were waiting too long until he intervened in Scotland. He wasted money land and titles on his favorites, was submissive to France, had no idea how to subjugate Ireland and had no idea how to solve financial problems of the crown. Caernarfon's rule was so bad, that he was eventually dethroned by rebels and replaced by his teenage son while he was still alive, and then murdered.

But what if Longshanks was more lucky in 1284, and his first surviving son is more like him ? Assuming that Edward jr. will be more charismatic ( at least in term of "political charisma") and also effective military leader, more interested in making money than spending them is there a chance that England will be able to keep at least part of what it gained during reign of his father? Or England was just too overextanded and there was no way it wouldn't be pushed back into their old place?
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.
He massacred the men of Berwick, all of them, and killed of thousands of Scots at Dunbar in 1296 and claimed victory of sorts. When Scots went on the war path again in 1297 Edward responded like a "warrior king". He sailed to the continent in August to take care of his estates over there and left his 12-year-old son as a regent.
  • 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).
Now Edward had a small problem. He had no money, he had war on two fronts, and no army. So what a true "warrior king" does? Of course, he calls for feudal levy! And what happened? The barons refused to answer to the call. This made Eddie the Short Fuse a bit angry. When he faced the barons at the parliament of Salisbury in 1297 and the earl of Norfolk explained to him why they were not too keen to go to war in Scotland, Edward the "Great Diplomat" used his skills as a negotiator to win over the barons. - By God earl, you either go or hang! he told the representative of the barons. We have no knowledge how many men-at-arms were at present, I guess a few hundred, but the barons got the message.
  • Submissive to France? How do you figure? He got deposed by his French queen for not being submissive enough.

As Kathryn Warner writes:

Finally, one thing I'd dearly love to know: why you so often assume that a man described by fourteenth-century chroniclers as "one of the strongest men in his realm," "a handsome man, of outstanding strength," "tall and strong, a fine figure of a handsome man" and so on, a man who by all evidence was tall, well-built, muscular, enormously strong and a huge fan of the outdoors and exacting physical exercise - why this man must somehow have really been feminine and girly, a cowardly weakling who snivelled, whined, mewled and threw tantrums. Have you seen a fourteenth-century primary source that I've somehow missed, which states that he ever behaved like this? Because I've got to say, if there isn't, these things you say about him look very much like unpleasant prejudices based on what you think his sexual orientation was and stereotypes of how you think gay men are supposed to behave. So please do cite that missing source for me. Because I'd hate to think that you form your opinion of a man who lived 700 years ago on modern attitudes that frankly - sorry to be so harsh but here it is - look bigoted to me.

Edward II being "slow to respond" in Scotland, how? He was there ASAP as his father died.
Edward the Slow hurried to his father when he died up north and went immediately forward with the invasion of Scotland. He was victorious and set up an English government in the land and called for peace in 1308.

When troubles began again, he sent immediately orders to his captains and soldiers in Scotland to take care of business. He could not attend himself since he had serious state business elsewhere. He was going to marry the daughter of the king of France, a must if he wanted to keep the peace on the continent and not make the same mistake his father had done: to have wars on two fronts. These do not look like the actions of a man who has no clue nor can make any decisions. Actually they look like decisions of a king who does all he can to avoid complete military and diplomatic disaster.
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
 

VVD0D95

Banned
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
That does actuallt make me wonder if Edward ii and Isabella could ever work together or not.
 
That does actuallt make me wonder if Edward ii and Isabella could ever work together or not.
Going back to Kathryn Warner again, it's her opinion that they actually did, at least until Hugh Despenser the Younger came into the picture. Isabella was more-or-less content in her relationship with Edward for most of their marriage, and the two worked well together and were even quite affectionate (at least by royal marriage standards). Isabella wasn't exceptionally 'neglected' by her spouse and doesn't appear to have minded Edward's early male-male romances (I'll admit there is some ambiguity, but, come on, we're kidding ourselves if we think that isn't what was going on).

None of Edward's male favourites prior to Hugh Despenser the Younger actually stood to threaten Isabella's position (with her husband and at court); none of them even really tried to. But Hugh was different; he actually tried to undermine her position with her husband and actively sought to curb her influence. When she goes to France, she refuses to come back unless Edward agrees to repudiate Hugh; Edward refuses, Isabella gets in with a crowd of exiled English nobles disaffected with Edward, and the rest is history.

Basically, to preserve their relationship, all you have to do is make sure nobody like Hugh Despenser the Younger gets into Edward II's life.
 
  • 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.
Would you have a source for the last claim? Everything I've read talks about how Edward and Eleanor had a genuinely loving relationship, and I'm somewhat bewildered Edward would say something like that.
 

VVD0D95

Banned
Going back to Kathryn Warner again, it's her opinion that they actually did, at least until Hugh Despenser the Younger came into the picture. Isabella was more-or-less content in her relationship with Edward for most of their marriage, and the two worked well together and were even quite affectionate (at least by royal marriage standards). Isabella wasn't exceptionally 'neglected' by her spouse and doesn't appear to have minded Edward's early male-male romances (I'll admit there is some ambiguity, but, come on, we're kidding ourselves if we think that isn't what was going on).

None of Edward's male favourites prior to Hugh Despenser the Younger actually stood to threaten Isabella's position (with her husband and at court); none of them even really tried to. But Hugh was different; he actually tried to undermine her position with her husband and actively sought to curb her influence. When she goes to France, she refuses to come back unless Edward agrees to repudiate Hugh; Edward refuses, Isabella gets in with a crowd of exiled English nobles disaffected with Edward, and the rest is history.

Basically, to preserve their relationship, all you have to do is make sure nobody like Hugh Despenser the Younger gets into Edward II's life.
A hunting accident for him then
 
Would you have a source for the last claim? Everything I've read talks about how Edward and Eleanor had a genuinely loving relationship, and I'm somewhat bewildered Edward would say something like that.
Walter of Guisborough's Chronicle and the Fineshade Chronicle. Edward called his son and heir "thou misbegotten whoreson" in a fit of temper just before the end of his life. But his temper during his last marriage was apparently so bad that Queen Marguerite actually had to protect her kids from it
 
That does actuallt make me wonder if Edward ii and Isabella could ever work together or not.
Since they had 4 kids together and there apperently was strong chemistry between them, I quess the real question should be "could it work longer".

Edward's early male-male romances (I'll admit there is some ambiguity, but, come on, we're kidding ourselves if we think that isn't what was going on).
I actually can believe that there was no sexual context in Edweard's "questionable policy" regarding his favorites. Maybe he wanted to support his trustworthy people and build his own faction, maybe he believed that it's royal prerogative...

Also it's funny how recently this "ambiguity" works in his favour in last decades.

(do you have a source on the "Edward I was disappointed/very little hope"? BTW).
Not gonna lie, I don't remember which book it was exactly.
Edward I was a bully
To be fair, Edward II tried to be a bully as well - unlike his father, he failed at it miserably.
I wouldn't call Edward II a terrible ruler by a long shot.
He wasn't exactly what England needed at the time, so I see no reason why he couldn't be called that. Sure, he was by no means idiot - but still he failed at everything, had no real idea how to solve any of his problems and couldn't handle either his barons or his wife. Also he has achieved nothing as ruler, King John at least was first english king "playing with ships" plus he had other minor victories here and there - sure only temporary, sure they usually backfired but still...

As to the whole "pro French" accusation. Need we point out that it was Edward's French queen who led the revolution against him?
Well technically, it was a rebellion, not a revolution. and you know that you are not the most popular guy around when your subjects are going to rather side with your "foreign" wife than support you. Also, since he avoided direct confrontation with France (to be fair, it wasn't bad idea - as he couldn't hold Gascony by force), and prefered uneasy friendship with his brothers-in-law, you can see why he wasn't so popular.
 
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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.
There's also the matter of him agreeing to expel all the Jews from England in exchange for a loan.
 
There's also the matter of him agreeing to expel all the Jews from England in exchange for a loan.
forgot about that one

He wasn't exactly what England needed at the time
because his dad had left him pretty much nothing but steaming piles of shit everywhere. What did England need? More war? Maybe send their reputation down the toilet with the bankers, nobles and foreigners some more? Edward II wasn't a great king, but his father and his son certainly weren't either. Keep Despenser away from Edward and let him either make up with Lancaster (who held five earldoms and was Isabelle de France's uncle, as well as being leader of the opposition) or let Lancaster die, and you could probably get Edward II out of the mess he got himself into defending Despenser in the 1320s
 
And to the comment of Edward II not knowing how to work with money or the like, it's interesting to note that when he was deposed, the treasury contained £78,156. After Isabelle's "regency" there was only £41 in it, and in the meantime, England had gotten a £20000 ransom from Scotland. And the story about him "giving Isabelle's wedding gifts to Gaveston"? Edward had them sent from Boulogne to Gaveston - who he'd left in charge in England - for safekeeping until Isabelle got to England. Gaveston didn't just "keep them"
 

iMercadier

Banned
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
Edward I brutally beat Edward II when the later attempted to invest Piers Galveston with the County of Ponthieu, saying something along the lines of: “You lout of a son, would you suppose to divest yourself of all your lands before you have acquired any?” He then tore out pieces of Edward II’s hair, and banished both him and Galveston from court.
 
Edward II may have been gay; he may have been an inspirational figure and practically a saint; but was he a good king? To the last point- and only the last point- I think the answer was no. That depends to a certain extent on your view of kingship, and what a good king should do: for example, I view maintaining internal political cohesion inside the kingdom and encouraging economic growth as more important than growing the king's own treasury- views may legitimately differ.

But what if Edward II was my kind of a good king? Or rather than a "good king" lets say an effective national-strategic leader, to emphasize that I'm not considering his personal moral qualities or his personal attributes here, except insofar as they effect his leadership abilities. The alt-Edward I'm imagining might be much shorter, uglier, less personally brave, and even less personally charming than the OTL version- those aren't the attributes I'm discussing here.

First off, we can write off the foreign policy adventures of his son in France as utterly impractical before the Burgundian-Orleanist split and the development of English longbow-based infantry tactics.

I doubt that maintaining English possession of Scotland was in the cards either- Robert the Bruce's uprising was not the first to challenge Edward I's dubiously imposed rule over the country, after all. However, I don't think that Bannockburn was the best possible result an English army could have achieved under the circumstances- even though those circumstances, especially financially, were not good.

In the interests of plausibility, instead of suggesting that Edward II should have been ready to lead an army of feudal levies to victory against a competent and experienced enemy at the very beginning of his reign, I want to suggest that he should have placed responsibility for the war in Scotland onto his nobles and most experienced field commanders, and sought to avoid large decisive battles- at least initially- in favor of smaller confrontations and positional warfare. Such a strategy is probably not able to rescue Stirling Castle, and therefore its unlikely to be able to prevent the Bruce from establishing de jure and de facto rule over a Scottish Kingdom- but compared to OTL fighting the major portions of the campaign prior to a negotiated solution on Scottish border territory rather than English, maintaining a threatening force in the field until the end of hostilities, and placing blame for failures on the commanders on the scene rather than the king himself put the English in a much better position; both for the negotiations with the Scots, and in the interests of internal stability.

If Edward II is interested in foreign adventures, I see Ireland as the only realistic possibility where the risks don't massively outweigh the potential gains; but England has by this point been playing around in Ireland long enough that I don't see such an intervention as particularly inspirational for the nation, and Ireland lacks any obvious riches to defray the costs of any expedition, so I doubt a competent king would pursue much more there than OTL.

Internal politics strike me as Edward's greatest difficulty. England is still developing its constitutional system, with noble power and Parliaments established, but details, limits, and the practicalities of exercising power all in flux. Edwards I and III both used foreign adventures as one tool to rally support and build legitimacy- that's unlikely to be a good option for alt-Edward II, for reasons outlined above. Structural problems, like the Marcher Barons unhappiness at finding themselves lacking a March and the traditional powers associated with it (Roger Mortimer being the prime example) will remain even under the best possible ruler- no one's about to un-conquer Wales. Some things can be ameliorated cheaply- a few efforts to salve the Marcher's pride might go a long way, for example. Some things could be ameliorated if sufficient money is available- reinstating the Marcher's traditional tax breaks would help more than any maintenance of their other traditional honors, but that's clearly to expensive for Edward to contemplate.
And the Marcher Lords are merely an example- Edward has many elements of his nobility with grievances either because they actually are losing out as England changes, or because they believe they could be more powerful than they are. And that's without considering all the feuds he has to navigate, and the risks that appearing to side with any individual bears in such a fractious environment.
That said, I believe Edward could have managed better than he did. Forming alliances with the higher nobility against the lesser, or vice versa, is a time honored feudal tradition that he failed to take advantage of. Moreover, avoiding the appearance of weakness dating from the start of his reign and his disastrous personal association with Bannockburn would help a lot in discouraging the nobility from feeling that they could challenge him without consequence. Avoiding the political favorites, especially the political favorites who are outsiders to the established English political scene, would also help limit conflicts somewhat, or at least channel them by ensuring that unpopular policies are somewhat attached to nobles with political factions of their own rather than tying everything to isolated favorites utterly reliant on Edward to fight their battles. Another element is his financial acumen and his political willingness to spend money. Drawing down the treasury to make friends (or at least allies) is sometimes the right thing to do. I don't know enough about the details of Edward's finances to know if he could have afforded a few generous gestures to attract more of the nobility in the hopes that they'll win the King's favor lottery next; but such tactics have a historical record of success if the king can afford them and avoids selecting the same recipients every time.

Alt-Edward doesn't need to be a perfect politician: if he can keep his kingdom united enough to make coup attempts suicidal and waits, England is likely to strengthen itself more or less on its own. This is the period of the growth in the wool trade and the English weaving industry, after all. Growing ties with Flanders and growing tax revenues from weaving profits should be able to cover a multitude of sins down the line.

Interestingly enough, having gone through all that, I don't think a high level history book summary of an alt-Edward II's reign would look that dramatically different from OTL, even if he were substantially more my idea of a competent strategic national leader. I'd still expect to see early military defeats in Scotland, disordered politics at home, and fewer foreign adventures than either his father or son.
But just because differences are subtle doesn't mean they're not important: a more successful campaign against Scotland, even one lacking dramatic victories and eventual imposition of English will onto the Scots, would likely help northern England's prospects and place the Scots into a more subservient position to England than OTL. Meanwhile, the lack of Mortimer and Isabella's coup is not merely personally convenient for Edward, but probably helps England's position in Ireland, her trade, and the stability of her rule of law in the short to medium term.
 
Edward II may have been gay; he may have been an inspirational figure and practically a saint; but was he a good king?
You know, it's fascinating how you can father at least 5 kids (with at least one illegitimate) and multiple women lovers and be considered not attracted to women...

But you have a point: somehow, Edward II is mostly well know for his failure in Scotland and this controversy - in fiction he's either some kid of dysfunctional idiot that can't act semi-seriously for a moment, and his only manly activities is beign abusive for his servants and family members, and other people are forced to help him to produce heir apparent (Sometimes he's Ralph Wiggum, sometimes he's Hitler from Der Undergang) or the decent enough fellow that only problem was his sexual orientation and that he didn't liked war. And both are equally exaggerated.

Still - if you have financial problem as OTL Edward II had, wasting what you have on your favorites for trivial reasons can't be called the smartest thing to do.
Interestingly enough, having gone through all that, I don't think a high level history book summary of an alt-Edward II's reign would look that dramatically different from OTL, even if he were substantially more my idea of a competent strategic national leader. I'd still expect to see early military defeats in Scotland, disordered politics at home, and fewer foreign adventures than either his father or son.
But just because differences are subtle doesn't mean they're not important: a more successful campaign against Scotland, even one lacking dramatic victories and eventual imposition of English will onto the Scots, would likely help northern England's prospects and place the Scots into a more subservient position to England than OTL. Meanwhile, the lack of Mortimer and Isabella's coup is not merely personally convenient for Edward, but probably helps England's position in Ireland, her trade, and the stability of her rule of law in the short to medium term.
Also, the way Edward ended his reign wasn't good for legitimacy of his ancestors. Had Edward lived few more years - even into his early 50's, and died for natural causes would make things much easier for future kings.

That depends to a certain extent on your view of kingship
That's excallent point. It's sure interesting why some rulers are condiered "good" while other trying to do the exact same thing are considered bad. You can tax your subjects like there was no tommorow and waste it all on some purpose equally as amibitious as pointless and be national icon because of how good knight you were (Richard I). or create more problems instead of solving already existing and failed in any plan you had, yet be popular cause you are apperently charismatic (Edward's II own father-in-law, Philip the Fair). Yet if you are hard working administrator, or skilled diplomat, you have to achieve wonders, or else you can end as laughting stock.
First off, we can write off the foreign policy adventures of his son in France as utterly impractical before the Burgundian-Orleanist split and the development of English longbow-based infantry tactics.
His father was able to intimidate Philip IV enough to keep Gascogne - despite the fact that the entire campaing wasn't exactly the best idea ever, as Edward I continued after his german allies were already defeate, but still - he was able to force Philip to give him back the Duchy, and Longshaks was respected for that by his subjects. That was just what was expected from King of England.

Maybe all what Edward had to do to be more popular, was to beat his brothers-in-law in some kind of competition? It sure wouldn't hurt his public image.
 
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