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Philippa of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault (c.1314–69), queen of Edward III. Edward married Philippa in 1328. Her main achievement was to provide him with at least twelve children, of whom nine survived infancy. Chroniclers praised her, and she was probably an important influence on the king, though her personality is difficult to recapture. She spent more time in the company of her husband than did most queens, even on occasion accompanying him in France. She is probably best known for her intervention in 1347, when she is said to have pleaded with Edward not to execute the six ‘Burghers of Calais’ when they surrendered the keys of the town to him. In 1352 there were complaints about disorder on her estates, and the role of her officials. She could be extravagant, and this may explain the amalgamation of her household with that of the king in her final years.

Michael Prestwich

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