Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
NameEdward III PLANTAGANET KING OF ENGLAND
Birth1312
Death1377
SpousePhilippa of Hainault
Birth1314
Death1369
Children
Birth1330
Death1376
Birth1340
Death1399
Notes for Edward III PLANTAGANET KING OF ENGLAND
Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377) was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His reign saw vital developments in legislation and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament—as well as the ravages of the Black Death. He remains one of only five monarchs to have ruled England or its successor kingdoms for more than fifty years.

Edward was crowned at the age of fourteen, following the deposition of his father. When he was only seventeen years old, he led a coup against the de facto ruler of the country, his mother's consort Roger Mortimer, and began his personal reign. After a successful campaign in Scotland in 1333, he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1337,[1] starting what would become known as the Hundred Years' War. Following some initial setbacks, the war went exceptionally well for England; the victories of Crécy and Poitiers led to the highly favourable Treaty of Brétigny. Edward's later years, however, were marked by international failure and domestic strife, largely as a result of his inactivity and bad health.

Edward III was a temperamental man, but also capable of unusual clemency. He was in many ways a conventional king, whose main interest was warfare. Admired in his own time and for centuries after, Edward was denounced as an irresponsible adventurer by later Whig historians such as William Stubbs. This view has been challenged recently, and modern historiography credits him with some significant achievements.

Early life
Edward was born at Windsor Castle on 13 November 1312, and was often referred to as Edward of Windsor in his early years.[3] The reign of his father, Edward II, was a particularly problematic period of English history.[4] One source of contention was the king's inactivity, and repeated failure, in the ongoing war with Scotland. Another controversial issue was the king's exclusive patronage of a small group of royal favourites. The birth of a male heir in 1312 temporarily improved Edward II's position in relation to the baronial opposition. To further bolster the independent prestige of the young prince, the king had him created Earl of Chester at only twelve days of age.

In 1325, Edward II was faced with a demand from the French king, Charles IV, to perform homage for the English Duchy of Aquitaine.[9] Edward was reluctant to leave the country, as discontent was once again brewing domestically, particularly over his relationship with the favourite Hugh Despenser the Younger.[1Instead, he had his son Edward created Earl of Aquitaine in his place and sent him to France to perform the homage.[11] The young Edward was accompanied by his mother Isabella, who was the sister of King Charles, and was meant to negotiate a peace treaty with the French.[12] While in France, however, Isabella conspired with the exiled Roger Mortimer to have the king deposed.[13] To build up diplomatic and military support for the venture, Isabella had Prince Edward engaged to the twelve-year-old Philippa of Hainault.[14] An invasion of England was launched and Edward II's forces deserted him completely. The king was forced to relinquish the throne to his son, who was crowned as Edward III on 1 February 1327.
It was not long before the new reign also met with other problems caused by the central position at court of Roger Mortimer, who was now the de facto ruler of England. Mortimer used his power to acquire noble estates and titles, and his unpopularity grew with the humiliation at Stanhope Park and the ensuing Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, signed with the Scots in 1328.[16] Also the young king came into conflict with his guardian.

Mortimer knew his position in relation to the king was precarious and subjected Edward to disrespect and humiliation. The tension increased after Edward and Philippa, who had married on 24 January 1328, had a son on 15 June 1330.[17] Eventually, Edward decided to take direct action against Mortimer. Aided by his close companion William Montagu and a small number of other trusted men, Edward took Mortimer by surprise at Nottingham Castle on 19 October 1330. Mortimer was executed and Edward III’s personal reign began.

Early reign

Edward III was not content with the peace agreement made in his name, but the renewal of the war with Scotland originated in private, rather than royal initiative. A group of English magnates known as The Disinherited, who had lost land in Scotland by the peace accord, staged an invasion of Scotland and won a great victory at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in 1332.[19] They attempted to install Edward Balliol as king of Scotland in David II's place, but Balliol was soon expelled and was forced to seek the help of Edward III. The English king responded by laying siege to the important border town of Berwick and defeated a large relieving army at the Battle of Halidon Hill.[20] Edward reinstated Balliol on the throne and received a substantial amount of land in southern Scotland.[21] These victories proved hard to sustain, however, as forces loyal to David II gradually regained control of the country. In 1338, Edward was forced to agree to a truce with the Scots.]


To mark his claim on the French crown, Edward III quartered the three lions of England with the fleurs de lys of France in his royal arms in 1340.[23]
One reason for the change of strategy towards Scotland was a growing concern for the relationship between England and France. As long as Scotland and France were in an alliance, the English were faced with the prospect of fighting a war on two fronts.[24] The French carried out raids on English coastal towns, leading to rumours in England of a full-scale French invasion.[22] In 1337, Philip VI confiscated the English king's duchy of Aquitaine and the county of Ponthieu. Instead of seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict by paying homage to the French king, the way his father had done, Edward responded by laying claim to the French crown as the grandson of Philip IV.[25] The French, however, invoked the Salic law of succession and rejected his claim. Instead, they upheld the rights of Philip IV's nephew, King Philip VI (an agnatic descendant of the House of France), thereby setting the stage for the Hundred Years' War (see family tree below).[26] In the early stages of the war, Edward's strategy was to build alliances with other Continental princes. In 1338, Louis IV named Edward vicar-general of the Holy Roman Empire and promised his support.[27] These measures, however, produced few results; the only major military victory in this phase of the war was the English naval victory at Sluys on 24 June 1340, which secured English control of the Channel.

Meanwhile, the fiscal pressure on the kingdom caused by Edward's expensive alliances led to discontent at home. The regency council at home was frustrated by the mounting national debt, while the king and his commanders on the Continent were angered by the government in England's failure to provide sufficient funds.[29] To deal with the situation, Edward himself returned to England, arriving in London unannounced on 30 November 1340.
Finding the affairs of the realm in disorder, he purged the royal administration of a great number of ministers and judges.[31] These measures did not bring domestic stability, however, and a stand-off ensued between the king and John de Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury. Stratford claimed that Edward had violated the laws of the land by arresting royal officers.[32] A certain level of conciliation was reached at the parliament of April 1341. Here Edward was forced to accept severe limitations to his financial and administrative freedom, in return for a grant of taxation.[33] Yet in October the same year, the king repudiated this statute and Archbishop Stratford was politically ostracised. The extraordinary circumstances of the April parliament had forced the king into submission, but under normal circumstances the powers of the king in medieval England were virtually unlimited, a fact that Edward was able to exploit.

Rodger called Edward III's own claim to be the "Sovereign of the Seas" into question, arguing there was hardly any Royal Navy before the reign of Henry V (1413-22). Rodger also argues that for much of the fourteenth century, the French had the upper hand, apart from Sluys in 1340 and, perhaps, off Winchelsea in 1350.

Fortunes of war

By the early 1340s, it was clear that Edward's policy of alliances was too costly, and yielded too few results, to be continued. The following years saw more direct involvement by English armies, including in the Breton War of Succession, but these interventions also proved fruitless at first.[36] A major change came in July 1346, when Edward staged a major offensive, sailing for Normandy with a force of 15,000 men.[37] His army sacked the city of Caen, and marched across northern France, to meet up with English forces in Flanders. It was not Edward's initial intention to engage the French army, but at Crécy, just north of the Somme, he found favourable terrain and decided to fight an army led by Philip VI.[38] On 26 August, the English army defeated a far larger French army in the Battle of Crécy.[39] Shortly after this, on 17 October, an English army defeated and captured King David II of Scotland at the Battle of Neville's Cross.[40] With his northern borders secured, Edward felt free to continue his major offensive against France, laying siege to the town of Calais. The operation was the greatest English venture of the Hundred Years' War, involving an army of 35,000 men.[41] The siege started on 4 September 1346, and lasted until the town surrendered on 3 August 1347.

Map showing the area (in pink) gained by England through the Treaty of Brétigny.
After the fall of Calais, factors outside of Edward's control forced him to wind down the war effort. In 1348, the Black Death struck England with full force, killing a third or more of the country's population.[43] This loss of manpower led to a shortage of farm labour, and a corresponding rise in wages. The great landowners struggled with the shortage of manpower and the resulting inflation in labour cost.[44] To curb the rise in wages, the king and parliament responded with the Ordinance of Labourers in 1349, followed by the Statute of Labourers in 1351. These attempts to regulate wages could not succeed in the long run, but in the short term they were enforced with great vigour.[45] All in all, the plague did not lead to a full-scale breakdown of government and society, and recovery was remarkably swift.[46] This was to a large extent thanks to the competent leadership of royal administrators such as Treasurer William de Shareshull and Chief Justice William Edington.

It was not until the mid-1350s that military operations on the Continent were resumed on a large scale. In 1356, Edward's oldest son, Edward, the Black Prince, won an important victory in the Battle of Poitiers. The greatly outnumbered English forces not only routed the French, but captured the French king, John II. After a succession of victories, the English held great possessions in France, the French king was in English custody, and the French central government had almost totally collapsed.[50] There has been a historical debate as to whether Edward's claim to the French crown originally was genuine, or if it was simply a political ploy meant to put pressure on the French government.[51] Regardless of the original intent, the stated claim now seemed to be within reach. Yet a campaign in 1359, meant to complete the undertaking, was inconclusive.[52] In 1360, therefore, Edward accepted the Treaty of Brétigny, whereby he renounced his claims to the French throne, but secured his extended French possessions in full sovereignty.

[edit]Later reign

While Edward's early reign had been energetic and successful, his later years were marked by inertia, military failure and political strife. The day-to-day affairs of the state had less appeal to Edward than military campaigning, so during the 1360s Edward increasingly relied on the help of his subordinates, in particular William Wykeham.[54] A relative upstart, Wykeham was made Keeper of the Privy Seal in 1363 and Chancellor in 1367, though due to political difficulties connected with his inexperience, the Parliament forced him to resign the chancellorship in 1371.[55] Compounding Edward's difficulties were the deaths of his most trusted men, some from the 1361–62 recurrence of the plague. William Montague, Earl of Salisbury, Edward's companion in the 1330 coup, died as early as 1344. William de Clinton, who had also been with the king at Nottingham, died in 1354. One of the earls created in 1337, William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, died in 1360, and the next year Henry of Grosmont, perhaps the greatest of Edward's captains, succumbed to what was probably plague.[56] Their deaths left the majority of the magnates younger and more naturally aligned to the princes than to the king himself.[57]


King Edward III grants Aquitaine to his son Edward, the Black Prince. Initial letter "E" of miniature, 1390; British Library, shelfmark: Cotton MS Nero D VI, f.31
Increasingly, Edward began to rely on his sons for the leadership of military operations. The king's second son, Lionel of Antwerp, attempted to subdue by force the largely autonomous Anglo-Irish lords in Ireland. The venture failed, and the only lasting mark he left were the suppressive Statutes of Kilkenny in 1366.[58] In France, meanwhile, the decade following the Treaty of Brétigny was one of relative tranquillity, but on 8 April 1364 John II died in captivity in England, after unsuccessfully trying to raise his own ransom at home.[59] He was followed by the vigorous Charles V, who enlisted the help of the capable Constable Bertrand du Guesclin.[60] In 1369, the French war started anew, and Edward's younger son John of Gaunt was given the responsibility of a military campaign. The effort failed, and with the Treaty of Bruges in 1375, the great English possessions in France were reduced to only the coastal towns of Calais, Bordeaux, and Bayonne.[61]
Military failure abroad, and the associated fiscal pressure of constant campaigns, led to political discontent at home. The problems came to a head in the parliament of 1376, the so-called Good Parliament. The parliament was called to grant taxation, but the House of Commons took the opportunity to address specific grievances. In particular, criticism was directed at some of the king's closest advisors. Chamberlain William Latimer and Steward of the Household John Neville were dismissed from their positions.[62] Edward's mistress, Alice Perrers, who was seen to hold far too much power over the aging king, was banished from court.[63][64] Yet the real adversary of the Commons, supported by powerful men such as Wykeham and Edmund de Mortimer, Earl of March, was John of Gaunt. Both the king and the Black Prince were by this time incapacitated by illness, leaving Gaunt in virtual control of government.[65] Gaunt was forced to give in to the demands of parliament, but at its next convocation, in 1377, most of the achievements of the Good Parliament were reversed.[66]
Edward himself, however, did not have much to do with any of this; after around 1375 he played a limited role in the government of the realm. Around 29 September 1376 he fell ill with a large abscess. After a brief period of recovery in February 1377, the king died of a stroke at Sheen on 21 June.[67] He was succeeded by his ten-year-old grandson, King Richard II, son of the Black Prince, since the Black Prince himself had died on 8 June 1376.[68]
[edit]Achievements of the reign

Legislation

The middle years of Edward's reign were a period of significant legislative activity. Perhaps the best-known piece of legislation was the Statute of Labourers of 1351, which addressed the labour shortage problem caused by the Black Death. The statute fixed wages at their pre-plague level and checked peasant mobility by asserting that lords had first claim on their men's services. In spite of concerted efforts to uphold the statute, it eventually failed due to competition among landowners for labour.[69] The law has been described as an attempt "to legislate against the law of supply and demand", which made it doomed to fail.[70] Nevertheless, the labour shortage had created a community of interest between the smaller landowners of the House of Commons and the greater landowners of the House of Lords. The resulting measures angered the peasants, leading to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.

The reign of Edward III coincided with the so-called Babylonian Captivity of the papacy at Avignon. During the wars with France, opposition emerged in England against perceived injustices by a papacy largely controlled by the French crown.[72] Papal taxation of the English Church was suspected to be financing the nation's enemies, while the practice of provisions – the Pope providing benefices for clerics – caused resentment in the English population. The statutes of Provisors and Praemunire, of 1350 and 1353 respectively, aimed to amend this by banning papal benefices, as well as limiting the power of the papal court over English subjects.[73] The statutes did not, however, sever the ties between the king and the Pope, who were equally dependent upon each other.

Other legislation of importance includes the Treason Act of 1351. It was precisely the harmony of the reign that allowed a consensus on the definition of this controversial crime.[75] Yet the most significant legal reform was probably that concerning the Justices of the Peace. This institution began before the reign of Edward III but, by 1350, the justices had been given the power not only to investigate crimes and make arrests, but also to try cases, including those of felony.[76] With this, an enduring fixture in the administration of local English justice had been created.

Parliament and taxation
Parliament as a representative institution was already well established by the time of Edward III, but the reign was nevertheless central to its development.[78] During this period, membership in the English baronage, formerly a somewhat indistinct group, became restricted to those who received a personal summons to parliament.[79] This happened as parliament gradually developed into a bicameral institution, composed of a House of Lords and a House of Commons.[80] Yet it was not in the upper, but in the lower house that the greatest changes took place, with the expanding political role of the Commons. Informative is the Good Parliament, where the Commons for the first time – albeit with noble support – were responsible for precipitating a political crisis.[81] In the process, both the procedure of impeachment and the office of the Speaker were created.[82] Even though the political gains were of only temporary duration, this parliament represented a watershed in English political history.

The political influence of the Commons originally lay in their right to grant taxes.[83] The financial demands of the Hundred Years' War were enormous, and the king and his ministers tried different methods of covering the expenses. The king had a steady income from crown lands, and could also take up substantial loans from Italian and domestic financiers.[84] To finance warfare on Edward III's scale, however, the king had to resort to taxation of his subjects. Taxation took two primary forms: levy and customs. The levy was a grant of a proportion of all moveable property, normally a tenth for towns and a fifteenth for farmland. This could produce large sums of money, but each such levy had to be approved by parliament, and the king had to prove the necessity.[85] The customs therefore provided a welcome supplement, as a steady and reliable source of income. An "ancient duty" on the export of wool had existed since 1275. Edward I had tried to introduce an additional duty on wool, but this unpopular maltolt, or "unjust exaction", was soon abandoned.[86] Then, from 1336 onwards, a series of schemes aimed at increasing royal revenues from wool export were introduced. After some initial problems and discontent, it was agreed through the Ordinance of the Staple of 1353 that the new customs should be approved by parliament, though in reality they became permanent.

Through the steady taxation of Edward III's reign, parliament – and in particular the Commons – gained political influence. A consensus emerged that in order for a tax to be just, the king had to prove its necessity, it had to be granted by the community of the realm, and it had to be to the benefit of that community.[88] In addition to imposing taxes, parliament would also present petitions for redress of grievances to the king, most often concerning misgovernment by royal officials.[89] This way the system was beneficial for both parties. Through this process the commons, and the community they represented, became increasingly politically aware, and the foundation was laid for the particular English brand of constitutional monarchy.

Chivalry and national identity

Central to Edward III's policy was reliance on the higher nobility for purposes of war and administration. While his father had regularly been in conflict with a great portion of his peerage, Edward III successfully created a spirit of camaraderie between himself and his greatest subjects. Both Edward I and Edward II had been limited in their policy towards the nobility, allowing the creation of few new peerages during the sixty years preceding Edward III's reign.[92] The young king reversed this trend when, in 1337, as a preparation for the imminent war, he created six new earls on the same day.[93] At the same time, Edward expanded the ranks of the peerage upwards, by introducing the new title of duke for close relatives of the king.[94] Furthermore, Edward bolstered the sense of community within this group by the creation of the Order of the Garter, probably in 1348.

A plan from 1344 to revive the Round Table of King Arthur never came to fruition, but the new order carried connotations from this legend by the circular shape of the garter. Polydore Vergil tells of how the young Joan of Kent, Countess of Salisbury – allegedly the king's favourite at the time – accidentally dropped her garter at a ball at Calais. King Edward responded to the ensuing ridicule of the crowd by tying the garter around his own knee with the words honi soit qui mal y pense – shame on him who thinks ill of it.

This reinforcement of the aristocracy must be seen in conjunction with the war in France, as must the emerging sense of national identity. Just as the war with Scotland had done, the fear of a French invasion helped strengthen a sense of national unity, and nationalise the aristocracy that had been largely Anglo-French since the Norman conquest. Since the time of Edward I, popular myth suggested that the French planned to extinguish the English language, and as his grandfather had done, Edward III made the most of this scare.[97] As a result, the English language experienced a strong revival; in 1362, a Statute of Pleading ordered the English language to be used in law courts,[98] and the year after, Parliament was for the first time opened in English.[99] At the same time, the vernacular saw a revival as a literary language, through the works of William Langland, John Gower and especially The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Yet the extent of this Anglicisation must not be exaggerated. The statute of 1362 was in fact written in the French language and had little immediate effect, and parliament was opened in that language as late as 1377. The Order of the Garter, though a distinctly English institution, included also foreign members such as John V, Duke of Brittany and Sir Robert of Namur. Edward III – himself bilingual – viewed himself as legitimate king of both England and France, and could not show preferential treatment for one part of his domains over another.

Assessment and character

Edward III enjoyed unprecedented popularity in his own lifetime, and even the troubles of his later reign were never blamed directly on the king himself.[104] Edward's contemporary Jean Froissart wrote in his Chronicles that "His like had not been seen since the days of King Arthur".[67] This view persisted for a while but, with time, the image of the king changed. The Whig historians of a later age preferred constitutional reform to foreign conquest and discredited Edward for ignoring his responsibilities to his own nation. In the words of Bishop Stubbs:

“ Edward III was not a statesman, though he possessed some qualifications which might have made him a successful one. He was a warrior; ambitious, unscrupulous, selfish, extravagant and ostentatious. His obligations as a king sat very lightly on him. He felt himself bound by no special duty, either to maintain the theory of royal supremacy or to follow a policy which would benefit his people. Like Richard I, he valued England primarily as a source of supplies. ”
William Stubbs, The Constitutional History of England[105]
Influential as Stubbs was, it was long before this view was challenged. In a 1960 article, titled "Edward III and the Historians", May McKisack pointed out the teleological nature of Stubbs' judgement. A medieval king could not be expected to work towards the future ideal of a parliamentary monarchy; rather his role was a pragmatic one—to maintain order and solve problems as they arose. At this, Edward III excelled.[106] Edward had also been accused of endowing his younger sons too liberally and thereby promoting dynastic strife culminating in the Wars of the Roses. This claim was rejected by K.B. McFarlane, who argued that this was not only the common policy of the age, but also the best.[107] Later biographers of the king such as Mark Ormrod and Ian Mortimer have followed this historiographical trend. However, the older negative view has not completely disappeared; as recently as 2001, Norman Cantor described Edward III as an "avaricious and sadistic thug" and a "destructive and merciless force."

From what is known of Edward's character, he could be impulsive and temperamental, as was seen by his actions against Stratford and the ministers in 1340/41. At the same time, he was well known for his clemency; Mortimer's grandson was not only absolved, but came to play an important part in the French wars, and was eventually made a Knight of the Garter. Both in his religious views and his interests, Edward was a conventional man. His favourite pursuit was the art of war and, in this, he conformed to the medieval notion of good kingship.

As a warrior he was so successful that one modern military historian has described him as the greatest general in English history. He seems to have been unusually devoted to his wife, Queen Philippa. Much has been made of Edward's sexual licentiousness, but there is no evidence of any infidelity on the king's part before Alice Perrers became his lover, and by that time the queen was already terminally ill. This devotion extended to the rest of the family as well; in contrast to so many of his predecessors, Edward never experienced opposition from any of his five adult sons.
Notes for Philippa of Hainault
Philippa of Hainault, or, Philippe (d'Avesnes) de Hainaut (24 June[1] 1314 – 15 August 1369) was the Queen consort of King Edward III of England.[2] Edward, Duke of Guyenne, her future husband, promised in 1326 to marry her within the following two years.[3] She was married to Edward, first by proxy, when Edward dispatched the Bishop of Coventry "to marry her in his name" in Valenciennes (second city in importance of the county of Hainaut) in October 1327.[4] The marriage was celebrated formally in York Minster Cathedral on 24 January 1328, some months after Edward's accession to the throne of England. In August 1328, he also fixed his wife’s dowry.

Philippa acted as regent on several occasions when her husband was away from his kingdom and she often accompanied him on his expeditions to Scotland, France, and Flanders. Philippa won much popularity with the English people for her kindness and compassion, which were demonstrated in 1347 when she successfully persuaded King Edward to spare the lives of the Burghers of Calais. It was this popularity that helped maintain peace in England throughout Edward's long reign.[6] The eldest of her fourteen children was Edward, the Black Prince, who became a renowned military leader. Philippa died at the age of fifty-five from an illness closely related to dropsy. The Queen's College, Oxford was founded in her honour.

Family

Philippa was born in Valenciennes, county of Hainaut, a daughter of William I, Count of Hainaut, nicknamed the Good, and Joan of Valois, the granddaughter of Philip III of France.[7] She was one of eight children and the second of five daughters. Her eldest sister Margaret married Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor in 1324; and in 1345, she became the suo jure Countess of Hainaut upon the death of their brother William in battle. William II, Count of Hainaut, nicknamed the Audacious, was also possessor of the counties of Zealand and Holland as well as of the seigniory of Frieze: these vacant inheritances were devolved to Margaret after agreement between Philippa and her sister.[8] Edward III of England, however, in 1364-65, in the name of his wife Philippa, demanded the return of Hainaut and other inheritances which had been given over to the Dukes of Bavaria–Straubing. He was not successful, as it was the custom in these regions to favour male heirs.

Philippa was interested in learning and was as avid a reader as her mother, Joan of Valois, who introduced French literary culture to the court of Hainaut.

Betrothal

King Edward II had decided that an alliance with Flanders would benefit England and sent Bishop Stapledon of Exeter on the Continent as an ambassador. On his journey, he crossed into the county of Hainaut to inspect the daughters of Count William of Hainaut, in order to determine which daughter would be the most suitable as an eventual bride for Prince Edward. The bishop's report to the king as regards Philippa (who was about eight years old at that time) reads in part: "The lady ..... has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is clean-shaped; her forehead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than the forehead. Her eyes are blackish-brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that it is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub-nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full, and especially the lower lip. Her teeth which have fallen and grown again are white enough, but the rest are not so white. The lower teeth project a little beyond the upper; yet this is but little seen. Her ears and chin are comely enough. Her neck, shoulders, and all her body and lower limbs are reasonably well shapen; all her limbs are well set and unmaimed; and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is of brown skin all over like her father; and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us." Four years later Philippa was betrothed to Prince Edward when, in the summer of 1326, Queen Isabella arrived at the Hainaut court seeking aid from Count William to depose King Edward. Prince Edward had accompanied his mother to Hainaut where she arranged the betrothal in exchange for assistance from the count. As the couple were second cousins, a Papal dispensation was required;[10] and it was sent from Pope John XXII at Avignon in September 1327. Philippa and her retinue arrived in England in December 1327 escorted by her uncle, Sir John of Hainaut. On 23 December she reached London where a "rousing reception was accorded her".

Queen of England

Philippa married Edward at York Minster, on 24 January 1328, eleven months after his accession to the English throne; although, the de facto rulers of the kingdom were his mother, Queen Dowager Isabella and her avaricious lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, who jointly acted as his regents. Soon after their marriage the couple retired to live at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. Unlike many of her predecessors, Philippa did not alienate the English people by retaining her foreign retinue upon her marriage or by bringing large numbers of foreigners to the English court. As Isabella did not wish to relinquish her own status, Philippa's coronation was postponed for two years. She eventually was crowned queen on 4 March 1330 at Westminster Abbey when she was almost six months pregnant;[12] and she gave birth to her first son, Edward, the following June just nine days before her sixteenth birthday.

In October 1330, King Edward commenced his personal rule when he staged a coup and ordered the arrest of his mother and Mortimer. Shortly afterward, the latter was executed for treason, and Queen Dowager Isabella was sent to Castle Rising in Norfolk, where she spent the remainder of her life.

Joshua Barnes, a medieval writer, said "Queen Philippa was a very good and charming person that exceeded most ladies for sweetness of nature and virtuous disposition." Chronicler Jean Froissart described her as "The most gentle Queen, most liberal, and most courteous that ever was Queen in her days."
Philippa accompanied Edward on his expeditions to Scotland, and the European continent in his early campaigns of the Hundred Years War where she won acclaim for her gentle nature and compassion. She is best remembered as the kind woman who, in 1347, 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.

She acted as regent in England on several occasions when her husband was away from his kingdom. She also influenced the king to take an interest in the nation's commercial expansion.[13] Philippa was a patron of the chronicler Jean Froissart, and she owned several illuminated manuscripts, one of which currently is housed in the national library in Paris.

]Later years and death

Always buxom and matronly, Philippa's figure had become stout in her later years. She had given birth to fourteen children and outlived nine of them, two having died of the Black Death in 1348.

On 15 August 1369, Philippa died of an illness similar to dropsy in Windsor Castle at the age of fifty-five. She was given a state funeral six months later on 29 January 1370 and interred at Westminster Abbey. Her tomb, placed on the south side of the Chapel of Edward the Confessor, displays her alabaster effigy which was executed by sculptor Jean de Liège.

By all accounts, her forty-year marriage to Edward had been happy, despite his adulterous affair with her lady-in-waiting, Alice Perrers, during the latter part of it.

Issue

Philippa and Edward had thirteen children, including five sons who lived into adulthood and the rivalry of whose numerous descendants would, in the fifteenth century, bring about the long-running and bloody dynastic wars known as the Wars of the Roses.

Edward, the Black Prince (1330 – 1376)
Isabella of England (1332 – 1379)
Joan of England (1335 – 1348)
William of Hatfield (16 February - 8 July 1337)
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence (1338 – 1368)
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (1340 – 1399)
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York (1341 – 1402)
Blanche (1342 – 1342)
Mary (1344 – 1362)
Margaret (1346 – 1361)
Thomas of Windsor (1347 – 1348)
William of Windsor (24 June 1348 – 5 September 1348)
Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester (1355 – 1397)

Legacy

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, who was 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. She was matrilineally descended from Elizabeth the Cuman (born before 1241), a daughter of Kuthen, Khan of the Cumens,thus bringing Central Asian genes into the English royal line.

The Queen's College, Oxford is named after Philippa. It was founded in 1341 by one of her chaplains, Robert de Eglesfield, in her honour.
Philippa also is known to be the "most royal" Queen consort of England due to four of her great-great-grandfathers having been kings of France, Aragon, Naples, and Hungary.
Last Modified 18 Aug 2013Created 28 Jan 2018 using Reunion for Macintosh