Today on February 1, 1327, the young Edward III was crowned King of England in a hastily organized coronation ceremony.
Edward III, known as Edward of Windsor, was just fourteen years old at the time of his coronation. The elaborate ceremony was held in Westminster Abbey with Archbishop Reynolds placing the crown upon his head. His father King Edward II had been recently deposed of by his mother, Isabella of France. Due to concerns of confirming his legitimacy, organizers hurriedly planned the coronation ceremony. Within a year, Edward married Philippa of Hainault. The royal couple had thirteen children together but none of them would ever succeed Edward. Over the span of his fifty-year reign, Edward III became one of Europe’s most formidable military powers. He is ultimately remembered for restoring royal authority.
Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer effectively ruled over the country during the initial years of Edward’s reign. Mortimer was notorious for being especially cruel towards his step-son. This eventually caused Edward to lead a successful coup against his regents in 1330. Mortimer was swiftly executed for his actions and his mother was forever banished from the kingdom. Edward III was the grandson of the powerful and notoriously cruel King Edward I, nicknamed the Hammer of the Scots. Like his grandfather, he renewed hostilities with Scotland and sought to impose English authority over the country.
In 1340, Edward boldly assumed the title of King of France and outlined several territorial claims to the country. Six years later, he landed in Normandy at the head of a large army accompanied by his son, known as the Black Prince. On August 26, 1346, English forces decisively beat the entire French army at the Battle of Crecy. In the following year, they dealt another major blow to France by capturing the strategic port city of Calais. In 1356, the Black Prince achieved a stunning victory at the Battle of Poitiers. The reign of Edward III marked the high point of English dominance on continental Europe. The turbulent and bloody conflict with France raged on for another century and is now known as the Hundred Years’ War.