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Philippa of Hainault
Philippa of Hainaut-mini
Queen consort of England
Tenure 24 January 1328 – 15 August 1369
Coronation 4 March 1330
Spouse Edward III of England
Issue
more...
Edward, the Black Prince
Isabella, Lady of Coucy
Joan of England
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York
Mary, Duchess of Brittany
Margaret, Countess of Pembroke
Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester
House House of Avesnes
(House of Plantagenet by marriage)
Father William I, Count of Hainaut
Mother Joan of Valois
Born (1314-06-24)24 June 1314
Valenciennes
Died 15 August 1369(1369-08-15) (aged 55)
Windsor Castle
Burial Westminster Abbey
This article is about the English queen. For the Portuguese queen, see Philippa of Lancaster.

Philippa of Hainault (24 June[1] 1314 – 15 August 1369) was Queen of England as the wife of King Edward III.[2] Edward, Duke of Guyenne, her future husband, promised in 1326 to marry her within the following two years.[3] She was married to Edward, first by proxy, when Edward dispatched the Bishop of Coventry "to marry her in his name" in Valenciennes (second city in importance of the county of Hainaut) in October 1327.[4] The marriage was celebrated formally in York Minster on 24 January 1328, some months after Edward's accession to the throne of England. In August 1328, he also fixed his wife's dower.[5]

Philippa acted as regent on several occasions when her husband was away from his kingdom and she often accompanied him on his expeditions to Scotland, France, and Flanders. Philippa won much popularity with the English people for her kindness and compassion, which were demonstrated in 1347 when she successfully persuaded King Edward to spare the lives of the Burghers of Calais. It was this popularity that helped maintain peace in England throughout Edward's long reign.[6] The eldest of her fourteen children was Edward, the Black Prince, who became a renowned military leader. Philippa died at the age of fifty-five from an illness closely related to dropsy. The Queen's College, Oxford was founded in her honour.

Family[edit]

Philippa was born in Valenciennes in the County of Hainaut, in the Low Countries, a daughter of William I, Count of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland, and Joan of Valois, the granddaughter of Philip III of France.[7] She was one of eight children and the second of five daughters. Her eldest sister Margaret married Emperor Louis IV in 1324; and in 1345, she became the suo jure Countess of Hainaut upon the death of their brother William in battle. William II, Count of Hainaut, nicknamed the Audacious, was also possessor of the counties of Zealand and Holland as well as of the seigniory of Frieze: these vacant inheritances were devolved to Margaret after agreement between Philippa and her sister.[8] Edward III of England, however, in 1364–65, in the name of his wife Philippa, demanded the return of Hainaut and other inheritances which had been given over to the Dukes of Bavaria–Straubing. He was not successful, as it was the custom in these regions to favour male heirs.[9]

Philippa was interested in learning and was as avid a reader as her mother, Joan of Valois, who introduced French literary culture to the court of Hainaut.

Betrothal[edit]

King Edward II had decided that an alliance with Flanders would benefit England and sent Bishop Stapledon of Exeter on the Continent as an ambassador. On his journey, he crossed into the county of Hainaut to inspect the daughters of Count William of Hainaut, to determine which daughter would be the most suitable as an eventual bride for Prince Edward. The bishop's report to the king describes one of the count's daughters in detail. A later annotation says it describes Philippa as a child, but historian Ian Mortimer argues that it is actually an account of her older sister Margaret.[10] The description runs:

The lady whom we saw has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is clean-shaped; her forehead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than her forehead. Her eyes are blackish-brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that it is somewhat broad at the tip and also flattened, and yet it is no snub-nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full, and especially the lower lip. Her teeth which have fallen and grown again are white enough, but the rest are not so white. The lower teeth project a little beyond the upper; yet this is but little seen. Her ears and chin are comely enough. Her neck, shoulders, and all her body are well set and unmaimed; and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is brown of skin all over, and much like her father; and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us. And the damsel will be of the age of nine years on St. John's day next to come, as her mother saith. She is neither too tall nor too short for such an age; she is of fair carriage, and well taught in all that becometh her rank, and highly esteemed and well beloved of her father and mother and of all her meinie, in so far as we could inquire and learn the truth.[11]

Four years later Philippa was betrothed to Prince Edward when, in the summer of 1326, Queen Isabella arrived at the Hainaut court seeking aid from Count William to depose King Edward. Prince Edward had accompanied his mother to Hainaut where she arranged the betrothal in exchange for assistance from the count. As the couple were second cousins, a Papal dispensation was required;[12] and it was sent from Pope John XXII at Avignon in September 1327. Philippa and her retinue arrived in England in December 1327 escorted by her uncle, John of Hainaut. On 23 December she reached London where a "rousing reception was accorded her".[13]

Queen of England[edit]

Philippa of Hainaut is shown seated under the canopy

Philippa married Edward at York Minster, on 24 January 1328, eleven months after his accession to the English throne; although, the de facto rulers of the kingdom were his mother, Queen Dowager Isabella and her avaricious lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, who jointly acted as his regents. Soon after their marriage the couple retired to live at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. Unlike many of her predecessors, Philippa did not alienate the English people by retaining her foreign retinue upon her marriage or by bringing large numbers of foreigners to the English court. As Isabella did not wish to relinquish her own status, Philippa's coronation was postponed for two years. She eventually was crowned queen on 4 March 1330 at Westminster Abbey when she was almost six months pregnant;[14] and she gave birth to her first son, Edward, the following June just nine days before her sixteenth birthday.

In October 1330, King Edward commenced his personal rule when he staged a coup and ordered the arrest of his mother and Mortimer. Shortly afterward, the latter was executed for treason, and Queen Dowager Isabella was sent to Castle Rising in Norfolk, where she spent the remainder of her life.

Joshua Barnes, a medieval writer, said "Queen Philippa was a very good and charming person who exceeded most ladies for sweetness of nature and virtuous disposition." Chronicler Jean Froissart described her as "The most gentle Queen, most liberal, and most courteous that ever was Queen in her days."

Philippa accompanied Edward on his expeditions to Scotland, and the European continent in his early campaigns of the Hundred Years War where she won acclaim for her gentle nature and compassion. She is best remembered as the kind woman who, in 1347, persuaded her husband to spare the lives of the Burghers of Calais, whom he had planned to execute as an example to the townspeople following his successful siege of that city.

She acted as regent in England on several occasions when her husband was away from his kingdom. She also influenced the king to take an interest in the nation's commercial expansion.[15] Philippa was a patron of the chronicler Jean Froissart, and she owned several illuminated manuscripts, one of which currently is housed in the national library in Paris.

Later years and death[edit]

Effigies of Edward III and Philippa of Hainaut

Always buxom and matronly, Philippa's figure had become stout in her later years. She had given birth to fourteen children and outlived nine of them. Three of her children died of the Black Death in 1348.

On 15 August 1369, Philippa died of an illness similar to dropsy in Windsor Castle at the age of fifty-five. She was given a state funeral six months later on 29 January 1370 and interred at Westminster Abbey. Her tomb, placed on the south side of the Chapel of Edward the Confessor, displays her alabaster effigy which was executed by sculptor Jean de Liège.

By all accounts, her forty-year marriage to Edward had been happy, despite his adulterous affair with her lady-in-waiting, Alice Perrers, during the latter part of it.

Issue[edit]

Philippa of Hainaut's arms as Queen consort[16]

Philippa and Edward had fourteen children,[17] including five sons who lived into adulthood and the rivalry of whose numerous descendants would, in the fifteenth century, bring about the long-running and bloody dynastic wars known as the Wars of the Roses.

Legacy[edit]

Philippa was a descendant of Harold II of England through his daughter Gytha of Wessex, married to Vladimir II Monomakh of Kiev. His bloodline, however, had been reintroduced to the English royal family by Philippa's mother-in-law, Isabella of France, who was a granddaughter of Isabella of Aragon, the wife of Philip III of France. Isabella of Aragon's mother, Violant of Hungary, was a daughter of Andrew II of Hungary, a grandson of Géza II by Euphrosyne of Kiev, herself a granddaughter of Gytha. She was matrilineally descended from Elizabeth the Cuman (born before 1241), a daughter of Kuthen, Khan of the Cumens,[18] thus bringing Central Asian genes into the English royal line.[19]

In 2004 she was voted fifth in a "Greatest Black Briton" poll.[20] Her presence derived from a claim promoted by the Black Cultural Archives that bishop Stapledon's description of her "brown" skin, broad nose and wide nostrils, is evidence of African ancestry. This view is dismissed by Edward III's biographer Ian Mortimer, who says that her family history is well-known.[21]

The Queen's College, Oxford is named after Philippa. It was founded in 1341 by one of her chaplains, Robert de Eglesfield, in her honour.

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ David Williamson, Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain, p.81, Webb and Bower Publishers, Ltd., London, 1986
  2. ^ Strickland, Agnes, Lives of the queens of England from the Norman conquest, Vol.2, (George Barrie and Sons, 1902), 222.
  3. ^ Geoffroy G. Sury, Guillaume Ier (d'Avesnes) comte de Hainaut et sa fille Philippe, in « Bayern Straubing Hennegau : la Maison de Bavière en Hainaut, XIVe – XVe s. », Edit. Geoffroy G. Sury, Bruxelles, 2010 (2e éd.), p. 55 : – Un parchemin daté du 27 August 1326 à Mons, au sceau brisé, énonce qu'Edouard, duc de Guyenne (futur Edouard III roi d'Angleterre), fils aîné du roi Edouard (II) d'Angleterre, s'engage à prendre pour épouse, endéans les deux ans, Philippa, fille du comte Guillaume (Ier) de Hainaut, etc. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d'ordre (cote) 574, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 128.
  4. ^ Sury Geoffroy G., Guillaume Ier (d'Avesnes) comte de Hainaut et sa fille Philippe, in, « Bayern Straubing Hennegau : la Maison de Bavière en Hainaut, XIVe – XVe s. », Edit. Geoffroy G. Sury, Bruxelles, 2010 (2e éd.), p. 55 : – Un parchemin daté du 30 August 1327 à Avignon, à un sceau, énonce que le pape Jean (XXII) accorde les dispenses nécessaires pour le mariage du roi Edouard (III) d'Angleterre et de Philippa, fille du comte Guillaume (Ier) de Hainaut, etc., sa parente au troisième degré. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d'ordre (cote) 583, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 130. ; – Un parchemin daté du 8/10/1327 à Nottingham, au sceau disparu, énonce qu'Edouard (III), roi d'Angleterre, donne procuration à R., évêque de Coventry, pour épouser en son nom, Philippa, fille du comte Guillaume (Ier) de Hainaut, etc., et régler la constitution de son douaire. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d'ordre (cote) 587, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 131.
  5. ^ Un parchemin daté du 15 August 1328 à Northampton, au sceau disparu, énonce qu'Edouard (III), roi d'Angleterre, confirme la fixation du douaire de son épouse Philippa de Hainaut. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d'ordre (cote) 596, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 132.
  6. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved 10 March 2010
  7. ^ Leese, Thelma Anna, Blood royal: issue of the kings and queens of medieval England, 1066–1399, (Heritage Books Inc., 2007), 140.
  8. ^ Geoffroy G. Sury, « Bayern Straubing Hennegau: la Maison de Bavière en Hainaut, XIVe – XVe s. », Edit. Geoffroy G. Sury, Bruxelles, © 2010 (2e éd.), p. 66 : – Un chirographe sur parchemin daté du 17 October 1346 à Ypres (Ieper), dont le sceau est détruit, énonce un accord conclu entre l’impératrice Marguerite II comtesse de Hainaut (épouse de Louis IV de Bavière, empereur germanique) etc., et sa sœur Philippe (Philippa de Hainaut), reine d’Angleterre (épouse du roi Edouard III) touchant la succession de leur défunt frère, Guillaume II comte de Hainaut, etc. Philippa, renonçant à ses prétentions sur le Hainaut, la Hollande, la Zélande et la Frise. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d’ordre (cote) 869, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 190.; – Un parchemin daté du 7/09/1346 à Francfort (Frankfurt am Main), dont le sceau est détruit, énonce que Louis IV de Bavière empereur du St.-Empire Romain Germanique s’engage pour lui-même et ses héritiers, et au nom de son épouse, l’impératrice Marguerite, à ne jamais céder, diviser ni engager les comtés de Hainaut, de Hollande, de Zélande et de la seigneurie de Frise, qui appartiennent à la dite Marguerite (Marguerite II (d’Avesnes) comtesse de Hainaut) et à ses héritiers, sauf les droits de ses sœurs, et, après le décès de cette dernière, à leur deuxième fils, Guillaume (futur Guillaume III comte de Hainaut) duc (I) de Bavière, et, celui-ci décédé, à Albert (futur Albert Ier comte de Hainaut), duc (I) de Bavière, leur troisième fils. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d’ordre (cote) 868, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 190. (Or. sur pch.; dét. (Frankfurt am Main, 7/09/1346.); – Un autre parchemin daté du 8/09/1346 à Geertruidenberg, d’après une traduction latine de l’allemand datée du 16 March 1347 (date nouv. st.), énonce que Marguerite II comtesse de Hainaut (épouse de Louis IV de Bavière, empereur germanique) etc., commet son fils Guillaume (futur Guillaume III comte de Hainaut) au gouvernement des comtés de Hainaut, de Hollande, de Zélande, et de la seigneurie de Frise durant son absence. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d’ordre (cote) 868, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 190.
  9. ^ Geoffroy G. Sury, « Bayern Straubing Hennegau, XIV – XVe s.: la Maison de Bavière en Hainaut », Edit. Geoffroy G. Sury, Bruxelles, © 2010 (2e éd.), p. 128: – Les 12–18 mai 1364, Albert de Bavière, bail et gouverneur des comtés de Hainaut, etc., sollicita les Etats généraux de Hainaut, de Hollande, de Zélande et de Frise, de donner leurs avis sur les prétentions du roi Edouard (III) d’Angleterre, du chef de son épouse Philippa de Hainaut, à la succession des dits pays de Hainaut, de Hollande, de Zélande et de Frise. Ces quatre Etats déclarèrent que la coutume de ceux-ci réservait cette succession aux hoirs mâles, par primogéniture, et s’opposait au dénombrement desdits pays. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d’ordre (cote) 1052, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 223. (Or. sur pch. ; 8 sc. ébréchés et brisés, 16 sc. disp.); – Réponse opposée, (en 1364) après consultation des Etats des pays concernés, par le duc de Bavière (Albert Ier), bail et gouverneur des comtés de Hainaut, etc., aux prétentions du roi Edouard III d’Angleterre évoquées précédemment. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d’ordre (cote) 1053, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 224. (Minute sur parchemin, (Sans date (mai 1364.); – A Westminster, le 6 décembre 1365, le roi Edouard (III) d’Angleterre accorde un sauf-conduit au duc Albert de Bavière et à 120 suivants pour venir traiter à la Cour d’Angleterre du différend relatif au douaire de la reine Philippa (de Hainaut), son épouse, à la condition qu’il soit accompagné de membres des Etats de Hainaut, de Hollande, de Zélande, et de Frise, et muni de lettres de pleins pouvoirs délivrés par ces mêmes Etats pour parvenir à un accord définitif. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d’ordre (cote) 1061, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 225. (Or. sur pch.; sc. disp.)
  10. ^ Mortimer, Ian, The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation, Vintage 2008, p.34.
  11. ^ The original document is written in Norman French. This is the translation derived from The Register of Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, 1307–1326, ed. F. C. Hingeston-Randolph (London, 1892), p.169. It is used in several books of the 1950s-60s, including G. G. Coulton, Medieval Panorama: The English Scene from Conquest to Reformation, Meridian Books, New York, 1955, p.644.; W. O. Hassal, How They Lived: An Anthology of Original Accounts Written before 1485, Blackwell, Oxford, 1962, p.95. However, Michael Prestwich's 2005 summary translates the description of the hair as "between blonde and brown" (the original is "entre bloy et brun"); Plantagenet England, 1225-1360 Clarendon, Oxford, 2005, p.215
  12. ^ David Williamson, Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain, p.81
  13. ^ Thomas B. Costain, The Three Edwards, p.249, Doubleday and Company, Garden City, New York, 1958
  14. ^ Cawley, Charles, Kings of England, Edward III, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy  ,[better source needed]
  15. ^ Costain, p.242
  16. ^ Boutell, Charles (1863). A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular. London: Winsor & Newton. p. 276. 
  17. ^ Cawley, Charles, England, Kings (1066–1603), Foundation for Medieval Genealogy  ,[better source needed]
  18. ^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Kumans
  19. ^ WorldRoots.com. by Leo Van de Pas.
  20. ^ Nurse named greatest black Briton
  21. ^ Ian Mortimer, The Count of Hainault’s Daughter

Sources[edit]

  • Salmonson, Jessica Amanda. (1991) The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. page 212. ISBN 1-55778-420-5
  • Weir, Alison (1999). Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy. The Bodley Head London, UK. ISBN 0-7126-7448-9.  page 92.
  • Ashley, Mike (2002). British Kings & Queens. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1104-3.  pages 185 & 186.
  • Sury, Geoffroy G., « Bayern Straubing Hennegau : la Maison de Bavière en Hainaut, XIVe – XVe s. », (2nd Ed.), Geoffroy G. Sury, Edit., Brussels, 2010. pp. 55, 66 & 128.
  • Arnold, Margot. Queen Consorts of England: The Power Behind the Throne. New York: Facts On File, 1993.

See also[edit]

English royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Isabella of France
Queen consort of England
Lady of Ireland

24 January 1328 – 15 August 1369
Vacant
Title next held by
Anne of Bohemia

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