History OnThisDay - 24 June 1310's - Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England

Philippa of Hainault was born on June 24th. between 1310 and 1315 at
Valenciennes, in the County of Hainault in the Low Countries.

Nowadays Valenciennes is located in France, just over the border with


Philippa of Hainault was the daughter of William I, Count of Hainault
and Joan of Valois, Countess of Hainault. Joan was a granddaughter of
King Philip III of France.

Philippa's eldest sister, Margaret, married to the German King Louis IV
and she became Holy Roman Empress.

Philippa of Hainault and her family were members of the noble House
of Avesnes.

Love and Marriage

King Edward II wanted a strong alliance between Flanders and England,
therefore he sent Bishop Stapledon of Exeter on the Continent as an
ambassador. On this trip, the bishop passed the County of Hainault to
inspect the count William's daughters.

Four years later Philippa was betrothed to Prince Edward. As the couple
were second cousins (through their mothers), a Papal dispensation was
required. This was sent from Pope John XXII at Avignon in September 1327.

In December 1327, Philippa and her retinue arrived in England. She was
escorted by her uncle John of Hainault. On 23 December she reached London.

On 24 January 1328 Philippa of Hainault married Edward at York Minster.
Soon after their marriage the couple retired to live at Woodstock Palace in
Oxfordshire. This royal marriage seemed to be happy.


Philippa and Edward had thriteen children, their numerous descendants would
in the fifteenth century bring the long-running and bloody dynastic wars known
as the Wars of the Roses.


Philippa was crowned queen on 4 March 1330 at Westminster Abbey, when
she was almost six months pregnant.

In October 1330 Edward began his personal rule when he ordered the arrest
of his mother and Roger Mortimer,1st. Earl of March. The latter was executed
for treason and Queen Dowager Isabella was sent to Castle Rising in Norfolk
where she had house arrest.

Philippa accompanied Edward on his expeditions to Scotland and the
European continent during the Hundred Years' War. In 1347 she 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.

During the absence of her husband in 1346, Philippa, was the regent of
England. Facing a Scottish invasion she gathered the English army and
she met the Scots in a successful battle near Neville's Cross.

Philippa was the patron of the cronichler Jean Froissart and she owned
several illuminated manuscripts, one is currently housed in the National
Library of Paris.


On 15 August 1369, Philippa died in Windsor Castle. Six months after
her death she was given a State Funeral on 9 January 1370 and she was
interred at Westminster Abbey.

Source picture: Wikipedia

A very royal destination: Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels

In 'hellhole' Brussels on the Mont des Arts, near the Central Railway Station,
one of the most interesting places of Belgium is located:
the Royal Library of Belgium. 

Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels - own picture

Some Royal history

The library was founded in 1837 by the young Belgian state and it 
was open for public in 1839.

However the real history of the collection went further back in

The collection dates back to the Dukes of Burgundy who became the
rulers of the Low Countries. There are books and manuscripts which
belonged to Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good and
Charles the Bold. 

Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold
were the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. Source pictures: Wikipedia

When Charles the Bold died, the collection already contained 950 volumes,
around 270 of them were held in the Manuscripts Department in Brussels.
Another 120 can be found elsewhere in Europe. 

After the death of Charles the Bold his collection went to his daughter
Mary of Burgundy, later to Philip the Handsome, Emperor Charles V and
to his son, Philip II of Spain.

King Philip II of Spain founded on 12 April 1559 the Royal Library of the
Low Countries. This was the predecessor of the present Royal Library of

In 1748, French troops occupied Brussels, they transferred around half the
collection to Paris, though most of these volumes were returned in 1770.

Between 1839 and 1953 the Manuscript Department acquired another 11,000
volumes. Some of them where Medieval works but others dated from the 16th,
17th and 18th century. 

Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels - own picture

The collection

The current collection contains:

400,000 books;
21,500 magazines;
150,000 maps;
32,000 manuscripts;
700,000 pictures;
and much more.

The building

Originally the Royal Library of Belgium was founded in a former palace of
Charles of Lorraine. 

In 1935, at the request of Queen Elisabeth I of Belgium and her son, King
Leopold III of Belgium, plans for a new Royal Library were drawn. 

In 1953 King Baudouin laid the first stone of the new Royal Library.
In 1969 its official inauguration took place.

The building itself is impressive though in a very modern style.

On 5 June 2018 there was a BENELUX gathering in Brussels.
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
and King Philippe  of Belgium were photographed on top of the Mont des Arts,
on the opposite of the Royal Library of Belgium. To see this picture, check this

Mont des Arts in Brussels - own picture taken in 2012

King Albert I of Belgium in front of the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels
own picture

For more information, check the official site of the Royal Library of belgium on
this link