Coronation of Philippa of Hainault as Queen of England
The Coronation of Philippa of Hainault as Queen Consort of England took place on 18th February 1330. This was three years after the marriage of Edward III to Philippa, a ceremony that had been conducted in York a year after the proclamation of Edward as King Edward III. Philippa of Hainault was to become one of Medieval England’s most loved Queens and most successful consorts.
In 1326 Isabella of France, wife of King Edward II, had arranged for her husband to be overthrown, in favour of her son, Edward III. England was deeply divided, with Edward II having had clear favourites such as Hugh Despenser, whose role in court angered some senior nobles, including the Queen herself.
Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer hatched a plan to overthrow Edward II. Whilst in France, officially on diplomatic duties, she instead looked for military support for her plot. The support was forthcoming from Count William of Hainault in return for the marriage of his third eldest daughter, Philippa, to Isabella’s son.
The Count provided a force of 1500 men for Isabella’s invasion of England. Successful, it would see his eldest unmarried daughter travel to England to wed the new King of England. Isabella’s plan worked. Edward II was overthrown and forced to abdicate in favour of Edward III. Hugh Despenser was disposed of in a particularly gruesome execution, and shortly afterwards it is believed Edward II was killed.
Edward III was proclaimed King on 25th January 1327. It triggered the start of plans for the contracted marriage to take place. Papal dispensation was needed, and duly granted. Philippa then travelled to England in time to celebrate Christmas of 1327. The marriage ceremony took place in January 1328.
Edward and his bride were both young. The king was 15, his Queen nearing her 14th birthday. Isabella used this to her own advantage, wielding power and acting as regent. In this period there is little record of Philippa before her coronation. This leads to suggestions that the coronation was deliberately delayed by Isabella, to prolong the Queen Mother’s own authority.
The coronation ceremony took place on 18th February 1330. The young queen was at this time 5 months pregnant, the couple’s first child, Edward of Woodstock, being born in June.
Philippa’s role as Consort grew in importance once Edward assumed full personal rule in October 1330.
Coronation of Queen Philippa of Hainault from Jean Froissart’s Chronicles. Image source, wikipedia. BnF MS 2675 fol.27r