One of the first English history plays, Christopher Marlowe's script collapses Edward's twenty-year reign into a matter of days, showing a man made vulnerable as he follows his own heart rather than submitting to his royal responsibilities. Edward alienates his wife Queen Isabella and his court nobles by indulging his favourite, Gaveston, who is killed in the ensuing power struggle. When Edward takes another favourite, Isabella conspires with Mortimer, her ambitious lover, to depose the isolated King.
The site of Edward’s death in 1327, Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire is still occupied by the descendants of the same family who owned it at the time. In fact, the history of the family and the castle holds many stories: the Barons of the West gathered there before the meeting with King John at Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed, the very first American Thanksgiving was held by Berkeley men, and Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream was written for a Berkeley family wedding.