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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Philippa of Hainault

b. 1310 or 1315, Valenciennes, Flanders (modern-day France); d. 1369, Berkshire, England

Philippa was born to Count William III of Hainault and Jeanne of Valois. In 1330, she married King Edward III of England, with whom she had twelve children. Throughout her reign, Philippa exercised her royal prerogative of mercy in many domestic criminal cases, gaining widespread respect as a compassionate ruler. Although she had little direct role in political affairs, she took an active interest in the economy, encouraging trade with the Low Countries, importing Flemish weavers into England, and establishing coal mining on her estate in Newcastle.