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
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
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
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