Philippa of Hainault
Mother of the English Nation
- Kathryn Warner
15th January 2022
Philippa of Hainault: Mother of the English Nation is the first full-length biography of the queen at the centre of the some of the most dramatic events in English history. Philippa's marriage to Edward III was arranged in order to provide ships and mercenaries for her mother-in-law to invade her father-in-law’s kingdom in 1326, yet it became one of the most successful royal marriages and endured for more than four decades. The chronicler Jean Froissart described her as, ‘The most gentle Queen, most liberal, and most courteous that ever was Queen in her days.’
Philippa stood by her husband’s side as he began a war against her uncle, Philip VI of France, and claimed his throne. She frequently accompanied him to France and Flanders during his early campaigns of the Hundred Years War. She also acted as regent in 1346 when Edward was away from his kingdom at the time of a Scottish invasion. She appeared on horseback to rally the English army to victory.
Philippa became popular with the people due to her kindness and compassion. This popularity helped maintain peace in England throughout Edward's reign. Her son, later known as the Black Prince ‒ the eldest of her thirteen children ‒ became one of the greatest warriors of the Middle Ages. Her extraordinary life did not escape tragedy: in 1348 three of her children died, almost certainly of the Black Death.