Joan of Kent

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Joan of Kent, princess of Wales (c.1328–85). Joan was a daughter of Edmund, earl of Kent (d. 1330), and succeeded as countess in 1353. While considerably under age, she secretly married Thomas Holand. In his absence in Prussia, she soon contracted a second marriage with the earl of Salisbury; this was annulled nine years later, in 1349. Within a year of Holand's death, this reputed beauty married Edward the Black Prince and accompanied him to Gascony, where their sons Edward (d. 1370) and Richard ( II) were born. Widowed again in 1376, Joan had charge of Richard's upbringing until his accession, and is believed to have remained a restraining influence upon him. A popular figure, she was well received by turbulent Londoners and humble rebels, while John of Gaunt and John Wyclif benefited from her kindly intervention.

R. L. Storey

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Joan of Kent, 1328–85, English noblewoman; daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent, youngest son of Edward I. She early gained wide note for her beauty and charm, though the appellation Fair Maid of Kent, by which she became known, was probably not contemporary. Her marriage to the earl of Salisbury was annulled on the grounds of a precontract with Sir Thomas Holland, whom she then married. Upon the death of her brother in 1352 she became countess of Kent in her own right. In 1361, after Holland's death, she married Edward the Black Prince, by whom she had two sons, Edward (1365–70) and Richard (later Richard II). In 1378 she was instrumental in halting proceedings against John Wyclif, though there is insufficient evidence to determine if she accepted his doctrines. As long as she lived, she was probably the principal influence on her son Richard II.