Wife of King Edward III: Philippa of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault was born on the 24th June 1314 in Valenciennes, in the county of Hainaut.  She was the daughter of William III, Count of Holland and Hainaut, and Joan Valois, grand-daughter of Philip III of France.

King Edward II of England, desired an alliance with Flanders, by way of marriage to his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward to one of Count William of Hainauts daughter’s.

Bishop Stapledon of Exeter, acted as ambassador for Edward II, to determine which daughter would be most suitable as a bride for his son.

In the summer of 1326, Queen Isabella and Prince Edward attended Hainault Court.  Isabella sought assistance to depose the current King Edward her husband, in return for the couple’s betrothal.  Once dispensation had been granted for the marriage of cousins (both great-grandchildren of Philip III of France through their mothers).

In the December of 1327, Philippa arrived in England, with her escort, her uncle; John of Hainaut.  On the 23rd December she reached London, to a rousing reception of cheers.

On the 24th January 1328, Philippa of Hainault married King Edward III at York Minster Cathedral.

Philippa and Edward’s Children:

Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales (The Black Prince) – (1330-1376) married Joan Plantagenet the Countess of Kent.

Isabella (1332-1382) married Enguerrand de Coucy, Seigneur de Coucy, Earl of Bedford.

Princess Joan of England (1335-1348).

Prince William of Hatfield (1337-1337).

Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) married (1) Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster (2) Violante Visconti.

John of Gaunt (1340-1399) married (1) Blanche Plantagenet (2) Constance of Castille (3) Katherine Swynford.

Edmund of Langley (1341-1402) married (1) Isabella of Castille (2) Joan of Holland.

Princess Blanche Plantagenet (1342-1342).

Princess Mary Plantagenet (1334-1362) married John V, Duke of Brittany.

Margaret Plantagenet (1346-1361) married John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke.

Thomas of Woodstock (1335-1397) married Eleanor de Bohun.

Thomas of Windsor (1347-1348)

William of Windsor (1348-1348)

Edward was not ruler of England at the time of his marriage, for his mother Queen Dowager Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, acted jointly as regents, until Edward came of age.

In October of 1330, King Edward staged a coup, ordering the arrest of Isabella and Mortimer, and taking control of his kingdom.

Roger Mortimer was tried for treason, found guilty and beheaded at Tyburn.  Isabella was sent to Berkhamsted Castle, and then placed under house arrest at Windsor Castle until 1332.  Finally she was moved to Castle Rising in Norfolk, where she would spend the remainder of her life.

Philippa served as England’s regent during Richard’s absence in 1346, when King David planned an attack on England.

Philippa proved a worthy Queen, gathering English forces near Newcastle.  She put courage into her troops, riding out upon a white charger, (much like Joan of Arc would have done).

The English troops and longbow archers served their Queen well, with victory over the Scots.

In 1369, Edward visited Philippa at her deathbed, asking if she had any final wish.  She only wanted one thing, that they both be buried side by side in Westminster Abbey.

Philippa of Hainault died from Black Death on the 15th August 1369 at Windsor Castle.  She was buried at Westminster Abbey, following a state funeral on the 29th January 1370.

When she died, Edward never really recovered; his reason for living had gone.  Edward and England mourned the passing of their Queen.

In 1377, King Edward III died, and he fulfilled Philippa’s dying wish, and was buried next to his beloved Queen.

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