The death mask of Edward III….

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Edward III, Westminster Abbey

King Edward III of England reigned for fifty years. He was born on 13 November 1312, at Windsor, became a great and successful warrior king, and died at Sheen, a shadow of his former self on 21 June 1377. His decline was sad, because he’d been a truly able and shrewd monarch who’d steadied the realm after the chaos of his father’s reign. Between them all Edward II (and his favourites), his queen, Isabella of France, and her (probable) lover, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, had wrought havoc. The accession of Edward III, and his swift rise to rule in his own right saw a new age for England.

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King Edward III – from

We all picture Edward, first as a young warrior, then as an old man, as depictred on his tomb effigy in Westminster Abbey, but do we all know his actual death mask? I confess I didn’t.

I also confess that I find it incredibly sad that after such illustriousness, he was reduced to being a frail old man whose mind wandered.

To read more of Edward, I would recommend his biography The Perfect King, by Ian Mortimer. An eminently readable book!


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