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This article is about the English queen. For the Portuguese queen, see Philippa of Lancaster.

Philippa of Hainault (24 June 1314 – 15 August 1369) was the Queen consort of Edward III of England.


Philippa was born in Valenciennesmarker (then in Flanders, now Francemarker) and was the daughter of William I, Count of Hainaut and Jeanne of Valois, the granddaughter of Philip III of France.

She married Edward at York Minstermarker, on 24 January 1328, eleven months after his accession to the English throne and, unlike many of her predecessors, she did not alienate the English people by retaining her foreign retinue upon her marriage or bringing large numbers of foreigners to the English court. She gave birth to her first son, Edward, nine days before her nineteenth birthday.

Philippa accompanied Edward on his expeditions to the Kingdom of Scotland (1333) and Flanders (1338-40), where she won acclaim for her gentleness and compassion. She is best remembered as the tender-hearted woman who, in 1347, interceded with her husband and persuaded him to spare the lives of the Burghers of Calaismarker, whom he had planned to execute as an example to the townspeople following his successful siege. She acted as regent in England on several occasions when her husband was on the Continent.

Philippa grew portly in her later years, and this supported the affectionate English view of her as a friendly, homely, and motherly woman. She gave birth to 14 children and outlived 9 of them. Two died during the Black Death of 1348.

On 15 August, 1369, Philippa died of an illness akin to dropsy in Windsor Castlemarker, and was buried at Westminster Abbeymarker. By all accounts, her 40-year marriage to Edward had been happy, despite his involvement with a controversial mistress, Alice Perrers, during the latter part of it.


[[Image:Philippa of Hainault Arms.svg|thumb|right|upright|Philippa of Hainault's arms as Queen consort]]

Philippa and Edward had fourteen children, including five sons who lived into adulthood and whose rivalry would eventually bring about the long-running civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses.

Another three sons and two daughters died in infancy.


Tomb effigy of Philippa of Hainault
Through her children, Philippa reintroduced the bloodline of an earlier English King, Stephen, into the royal family. She was descended from Stephen through Matilda of Brabant, the wife of Floris IV, Count of Holland. Their daughter Adelaide of Holland married John I of Avesnes, Count of Hainaut, Philippa's paternal great-grandfather. Matilda of Brabant in turn was the great-granddaughter of Stephen through her mother Matilda of Boulogne, the wife of Henry I, Duke of Brabant.

Philippa was also 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, 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. Through her maternal great-grandmother, Maria of Hungary, she was descended from Elisabeth of Bosnia (born before 1241), a daughter of Kuthen, Khan of the Cumens, thus bringing Western Asian blood into the English royal line.

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



  • Salmonson, Jessica Amanda.(1991) The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. page 212. ISBN 1-55778-420-5
  • page 92
  • pages 185 & 186
  1. by Leo Van de Pas

See also


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