His father, a pitiful sovereign, preferred his favorites to his wife Isabelle. Rightfully nicknamed the 'She-Wolf of France,' she took revenge by deposing him with the help of her lover Roger Mortimer. Not content with having obliged him to abdicate, the latter had him killed in the horrible conditions of his cell in Berkeley Castle on September 21, 1327.
The Tragedy of Hamlet in London
Edward III, son of the unfortunate King, was crowned at fourteen. He was the first English sovereign appointed by an ordinance of Parliament.
The new King, despite holding little esteem for his predecessor, would avenge his father's death, anticipating Shakespeare's later tragedy Hamlet, in which the prince avenges his deceased father. At the age of seventeenth, Edward III secured the support of Henry of Lancaster, president of the regency council, and sent his servants to seize Mortimer in the room he shared with Queen Isabella at Nottingham Castle.
The former strongman of the kingdom, abandoned by all, was brought before the Parliament shortly thereafter, accused of all crimes and promptly executed. His mistress was asked to retire to Castle Rising in Norfolk for the rest of her days. Edward III stood by and forgave all the relatives of the evil couple. Afterwards, he would marry his children to the offspring of the great barons in order to reestablish family ties, a strategy which succeeded perfectly.
Edward III, who spoke French and was, like all Plantagenets, familiar with French culture, was not slow to quarrel with his cousin, the King of France Philip VI of Valois.
He came to claim the French throne for himself in 1337 and supported his pretentions by winning the naval Battle of Sluys, followed by the Battle of Cressy which saw the French knights defeated by enemy archers.
He conquered Calais the following year after a long siege. In 1356, when hostilities between the Valois and Plantagenets resumed after the plague, his eldest son, Edward of Woodstock (later known as the Black Prince) crushed French chivalry again in Poitiers and took King John II the Good, son and successor of Philip VI, as a prisoner. Edward III triumphed with the Treaty of Brétigny.
Heir of the Angevin dynasty, the King completed the anglicization of his kingdom.
In 1348, he founded the Most Noble Order of the Garter, with the motto 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' ('Shame on him who thinks evil of it').
According to legend, the Countess Joan of Salisbury lost her garter during a ball in Calais and the King, defying the court's discourteous sniggering, stooped down to pick it up.