Who Was Edward III: (b. 1312, d. 1377.)
One of England's greatest kings, his mother and grandmother were daughters of French kings, from whom he derived his claim to the throne of France when the male line of the House of Capet died out with Charles IV in 1328.
Edward began his reign in 1327, when he was only 15, after his mother and her lover had murdered his father, the ineffective and homosexual Edward II , who's principal failure was not his sexual preferences but rather his getting beaten by the Scots in battle, his reliance upon inept favorites, and his ambitious wife. Just two years later, when Edward III was only 17, he engineered a coup against his mother, ousted her from power, and took the reigns of government. He executed his mother's lover, and many of her supporters, in interesting ways, but she was not interfered with in any way, save that she was completely excluded from government, and died a happy, unrepenetant woman. She was, after all, the daughter of the king of France.
From this you will note that Edward III had exceptional political, diplomatic, governmental, and conspiratorial skills. He was also literally a lion in battle, reputedly one of the premier knights of the age, as were his sons. There is a legend that at a tourney several knights wearing nondescript surcoats entered the lists. They carried all before them, against some of the finest chivalry in England, and when the laurels were being handed out revealed themselves to be Edward and a couple of his sons.
The historical judgement on Edward has been favorable. Of course ultimately the war was a disaster for England, leading to the loss of all continental territories by 1453. But during Edward's reign the kingdom made a tidy little profit. Also, the power of Parliament was advanced, as the king found it a useful tool.
During his last years, however, Edward's health declined. Aside from other problems he came to be dominated by his young mistress and her family. He slipped into senesence before his death. The Black Prince should have succeeded him, but was also in declining health and died shortly before his father, leaving the throne to a much less capable grandson, Richard II, who was a young teenager.
Edward III was a large, good looking man, as were all the Edwards. They looked like kings, which counted for a lot in those days. At six feet he was considerably taller (by several inches) than the average noble of the period, and commoners were shorter still because of poor diet. Reportedly he had blond hair, but, if he followed the pattern of Edward I, this probably turned dark ["black" in some accounts] in his maturity and white in old age. At least he wasn't bald.