Art: Edward II, Head-On

England's Edward II used to shock his court by an inordinate fondness for bathing and for an ambitious Gascon knight named Piers Gaveston. But after his wife, Isabella of France, got fed up and had Edward murdered in 1327, the hero worship of the populace triumphed over the sour recollections of the aristocrats who had known him. Although he has never been canonized, Edward II became (like his forerunner, Edward "the Confessor," no kin) a royal "saint."

Pilgrims who flocked to Edward II's tomb in St. Peter's Abbey (now Gloucester Cathedral) never got a...

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