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the traitors wife




Edward II, King of England (1307-27)

“I’ve always had the gift of loving the wrong people,” said the king ruefully.


Isabella of France, his queen

Edward nodded. “Everyone tells me how beautiful she is. I can see it. But beauty is like a tapestry. What hangs well in one room may simply not in another.” He threw a stone in an ornamental pond. “Sometimes I wonder if she was not hung in the wrong room.”


Edward III, son of Edward II and Isabella of France, King of England (1327-77)

She sighed and jerked at a weed. “You know the new king. Is he the man to end this?”

“I don’t know. . . . But he is a boy, after all."


Eleanor de Clare, daughter to the Earl of Gloucester, granddaughter to King Edward I, and niece to Edward II. Married to Hugh le Despenser the younger

"Eleanor would have been a fine wife for you. Sweet and shy, but with a sly wit once you get to know her.”

“And now I won’t have the opportunity. I shall throw myself in the Thames forthwith.”


Hugh le Despenser the younger, Eleanor's husband

The king’s question had been purely rhetorical. He was going on, “I shrugged off your fool stunt with Tonbridge Castle. I’ve never tried to collect your fine for your assault on John de Ros. I’ve been extraordinarily patient with your escapades regarding Wentloog. But now you take a man out of my own Tower and execute him, without seeking my permission! You’ve presumed too long on my good nature, Hugh.”

“That was not my intent, your grace. I’ve my reasons—”

“Oh, I’m sure you do, sir.”


Hugh le Despenser the elder, father to Hugh le Despenser the younger

Hugh shook his head. “No. I have not their confidence, being older than most of the earls and not of their rank. And—”

“And they dislike you because you have been steadfastly loyal to me,” finished Edward. “Someday, good friend, you shall have your reward.”


Piers Gaveston, Edward II's beloved friend

“And this Gaveston? Do you truly believe he and the king are nothing more than brothers to each other?”

“I don’t know, your grace, and it would be presumptuous of me to guess, I think. I can only tell you this: the king loves Gaveston more than anyone in the world. And Gaveston for all of his ways loves the king too, I think.”


Roger Mortimer, knight

“He is an odious man!” Eleanor jabbed her needle fiercely into her embroidery hoop. Joan of Bar, who had made the mistake of telling the other ladies that she thought Mortimer handsome, started.

“He is outspoken,” said the queen thoughtfully.


William la Zouche, knight

"She has been in love with him some time, all quite chaste though, I assure you. Why, I don’t know. He’s not what you would call handsome, he’s quite taciturn, and he has the charisma of a sumpter horse. But there you have it.”






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