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Joanna, Duchess of Brabant, also known as Jeanne (June 24 1322November 1 1406), was the heiress of Duke John III, who died in Brussels, December 5, 1355. Her mother was Marie d'Évreux.


Joanna's maternal grandparents were Louis d'Évreux and his wife, Margaret of Artois. Her paternal grandparents were John II, Duke of Brabant and his wife Margaret of England. Margaret of England was a daughter of Edward I of England and his first wife Eleanor of Castile.

Joanna was the eldest child born to her parents. Only herself and two other sister, Margaret and Marie lived to adulthood; her three younger brothers died in childhood.


Joanna's first marriage, in 1334, was to William IV, Count of Holland (1307 – 1345), who subsequently died in battle without producing an heir, thus foiling that project of unifying their territories.

Her second marriage was to Wenceslaus of Luxemburg. The famous document, the foundation of the rule of law in Brabant called the Blijde Inkomst ("Joyous Entry"), was arrived at in January 1355/6, in order to assure Joanna and her consort peacable entry into their capital and to settle the inheritance of the Duchy of Brabant on her "natural heirs", who were Joanna's sisters, they being more acceptable to the burghers of Brabant than rule by the House of Luxembourg.

As events transpired, the document was a dead letter, with the military incursion into Brabant of the Count of Flanders, Louis II, who had married Margaret, Joanna's younger sister, and considered himself Duke of Brabant by right of his wife. By August 1356 Joanna and Wencelaus had called upon the Emperor, Charles IV to support them by force of arms. Charles met at Maastrichtmarker with the parties concerned, including representatives of the towns, and all agreed to nullify certain terms of the Blijde Inkomst, to satisfy the Luxembourgmarker dynasty.

On Joanna's death, by agreement the Duchy passed to her great-nephew Antoine de Valois, the second son of her sister's daughter Margaret de Dampierre, Countess of Flanders, who had married Philip II, Duke of Burgundy.

Her tomb was not erected in the Carmelite church in Brussels until the late 1450s; it was paid for in 1459 by her descendant, duke Philip the Good of Burgundy. Though it was destroyed in the course of the French Revolutionary Wars, its appearance has been reconstructed from drawings and descriptions by Lorne Campbell, who concluded that the tomb was an afterthought, providing an inexpensive piece of propaganda for Philip's dynastic rights.


Joanna's ancestors in three generations'
Joanna, Duchess of Brabant Father:
John III, Duke of Brabant
Paternal Grandfather:
John II, Duke of Brabant
Paternal Great-Grandfather:
John I, Duke of Brabant
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Margaret of Flanders
Paternal Grandmother:
Margaret of England
Paternal Great-Grandfather:
Edward I of England
Paternal Great-Grandmother:
Eleanor of Castile
Marie d'Évreux
Maternal Grandfather:
Louis d'Évreux
Maternal Great-Grandfather:
Philip III of France
Maternal Great-Grandmother:
Maria of Brabant
Maternal Grandmother:
Margaret of Artois
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Philip of Artois
Maternal Great-Grandmother:
Blanche of Brittany

See also


  1. The war of succession, it politics and protagonists, events and cultural context, are examined in Sergio Boffa, Warfare in medieval Brabant, 1356-1406 2004.
  2. Campbell, "The Tomb of Joanna, Duchess of Brabant" Renaissance Studies 2.2, (2008) pp 163-72.
  3. Philip's position is outlined in Robert Stein "Philip the Good and the German Empire. The legitimation of the Burgundian succession to the German principalities", Centre Européen d'Etudes Bourguignonnes 36, 1996.

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