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Philippa of Hainault

 Queen consort of Edward III of England(1311-1369)

Philippa of Hainault as the daughter of William I, Count of Hainault, and his wife Jeanne de Valois, grand-daughter of King Philip III of France. She was born in Valenciennes (then in Flanders, but now in France) and was married to King Edward III of England at York Minster in 1328. She accompanied Edward on his military campaigns in Scotland and Flanders. Today, she is chiefly remembered for her dramatic intervention with Edward at Calais in 1346. After a long siege, Edward had offered not to destroy the town if six of its leading citizens would strip to their underwear, place nooses around their necks, and come out of the town gate to surrender the keys to him before being hanged. Philippa, who was pregnant, persuaded Edward not to execute them, saying it would bring bad luck for the child. The incident was later to inspire Rodin’s monumental 1888 sculpture The Burghers of Calais. Philippa bore Edward fourteen children, of whom nine survived infancy, including Edward the Black Prince and John of Gaunt (born in Ghent) leader of the Lancastrian faction in the Wars of the Roses. Queen’s College Oxford is named after Philippa. She died at Windsor and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

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