Edward III

Portrait of Edward III

Presumed to have been written 1589-95 and registered at the Stationer’s Office on the 1st December 1595, followed by further editions in 1596 (Q1), 1599 (Q2). The literary sources include Jean Froissart, (c.1337-1410) with his “Chroniques” (c.1495), John Bourchier‘s English translation in 1523-5, as well as William Painter‘s, (1540-94) “The Palace of Pleasure” (1566-7), and of course Raphael Holinshed’s (c. 1528-c. 1580) “The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland” (2nd ed., 1587). Although classified amongst the Apocrypha by either William Shakespeare or Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe, there is every reason to suppose that Edward de Vere may have collaborated at least in some parts of this play. Indeed he might have sketched out the play and given it over to Marlowe to complete. There is an intriguing ancestral link to the Roman Catholic Mary Queen of Scots (House of Stuart) and Edward III, she being the great niece of Henry VIIIth (House of Tudor). Edward IIIrd’s great, great grand-daughter Margaret Beaufort married Edmund, Earl of Richmond and their son became the first Tudor monarch (Henry VIIth). This may explain the deep-seated animosity and ambiguous alliances that plagued the English throne right into Shakespeare’s time, particularly in marriage and conspiracy between the regents of Wales and Spain and conversely those of Italy, Scotland and France. The Stuart dynasty were in actual fact French and originated from Brittany. The play Edward III was published anonymously in 1596. It was first attributed to Shakespeare in a bookseller’s catalogue published in 1656. Various scholars have suggested Shakespeare’s possible authorship, since a number of passages appear to bear his stamp, among other sections that are remarkably uninspired. In 1996, Yale University Press became the first major publisher to produce an edition of the play under Shakespeare’s name, and shortly afterward, the Royal Shakespeare Company performed the play (to mixed reviews). In 2001, the American professional premiere was staged by Pacific Repertory Theatre, which received positive reviews for the endeavour. A consensus is emerging that the play was written by a team of dramatists including Shakespeare early in his career – but exactly who wrote what is still open to debate. William Montgomery edited the play for the Second Edition of the Complete Oxford Shakespeare (2005), where it is attributed to “William Shakespeare and Others”‘.

The order of the Garter Knights was first instituted in England by Edward III (1348) along with the legend that the Countess of Salisbury dropped her garter at a court ball which was then found and picked up by the King. The onlookers seeing the King with the blue garter assumed he was having an affair with the Countess. Anyway, the King then attached the garter on his own leg saying: “Honi soit qui mal y pense” meaning that evil comes to those who think evil of it. Much later the garter became associated with Edward’s order of Knights and the Latin phrase became the motto for the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales. At that time the order was confined to the sovereign and his family with 24 Knights companions. The order remains to this day as a bit of an anachronism. The most famous statesman to be appointed or received into the order being Sir Winston Churchill.

The links to my publications “Shakespeare’s Qaballah”, a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry, “Parthenogenesis” are as follows:


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The links to my publications 
“Shakespeare’s Qaballah”,
a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry,