Princess Philippa of Clarence was born at Eltham Palace in Kent on the 16th August 1355. She was named after her grandmother, Philippa of Hainault, queen of Edward III, who was one of her Godparents.
The first grandchild of Edward III she was the only child of Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, and his 1st wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. Lionel was the 1st of Edward and Philippa’s children to marry.
Lionel was the 3rd son of Edward and Philippa, but the 2nd to survive childhood. Born in 1338, he was married to Elizabeth de Burgh in the Tower of London on the 9th September 1342. Lionel was almost 4 years old and his bride was 6 years older, born in 1332. Elizabeth was the daughter and heiress of William de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster, who had died the year after her birth. It seems the couple lived together as husband and wife from 1352, when Lionel was 14 and Elizabeth 20. Lionel became Earl of Ulster by right of his wife and took possession of vast estates in Ireland and the Honour of Clare, in Suffolk; from which he was created Duke of Clarence by Parliament on 13th November 1362.
Philippa lost her mother when she was just 8 years old. Elizabeth died in Dublin in December 1363, she was buried at Clare Priory in Suffolk. Lionel was married again in May 1368, in Milan, to Violante Visconti, daughter of the Lord of Milan. He died at Alba just 5 months after the wedding, in October 1368, and was buried at Pavia; his body was later reinterred to lie beside Elizabeth at Clare Priory in Suffolk.
The dukedom of Clarence became extinct on Lionel’s death, but the earldom of Ulster and Honour of Clare passed to Philippa, his only daughter and heiress.
Although an orphan at the tender age of 13, Philippa’s future had been settled even by the time of her mother’s death in 1363. When only in her 4th year she was married, at the Queen’s Chapel in Reading, in February 1359, to 7-year-old Edmund Mortimer. Edmund was the great-grandson of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March and lover of Edward II’s queen, and Edward III’s mother, Isabella of France.
Mortimer had been executed on Edward III’s orders in 1330 and the marriage was viewed as a reconciliation with the Mortimer family, powerful lords on the Welsh Marches. The children’s wedding was also the 1st in a string of royal marriages. Philippa was married before any of her aunts and uncles; but weddings for her uncle John of Gaunt to Blanche of Lancaster and her aunt Margaret to John Hastings, 2nd Earl of Pembroke followed in May the same year.
The marriage alliances were all part of Edward III’s policy to provide for his large brood of children and tie the great baronial families of the kingdom to the crown, by bringing them into the Royal family.
Edmund Mortimer succeeded to his father’s earldom as the 3rd Earl of March in the year after the marriage and the couple spent their time between properties in England, Wales and Ireland.
Their 1st child was born when Philippa was 15; she gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, at Usk in Monmouthshire, on 12th February 1371. 3 more children followed; Roger born at Usk on 11th April 1374, Philippa, born at Ludlow in Shropshire on 21st November 1375 and finally Edmund, who was born at Ludlow on 9th November 1377.
Marriage to Philippa had brought her husband power and influence. Through his steward, Peter de la Mare, he was instrumental in the Good Parliament of 1376, which argued against the influence of Edward III’s lover, Alice Perrers, and her friends, on the government of the kingdom. He spoke up for royal legitimacy and, using similar language to that used against his grandfather, Roger Mortimer, decried the influence an adulterous affair was having on the dignity of the crown.
Following Edward III’s death in 1377, until her own death 6 months later, Philippa was, technically, heiress presumptive to the crown of her cousin, Richard II. However, in a supplementary document to his will, Edward III had practically disinherited his eldest granddaughter. He settled the inheritance of the throne on his grandson, Richard, son of his eldest son, the Black Prince and then, in turn, starting with John of Gaunt, on his surviving sons and their sons.
Edward had thus attempted to destroy any claim Philippa might have had to the throne whilst at the same time, revoking the royal status of the Mortimer earls of March.
Although there appear to be several death dates for Philippa, the most likely is that she died as a result of complications following Edmund’s birth, as she had made a will in November 1377, suggesting she was preparing for death. She passed away on, or shortly before, 7th January 1378 and was buried at Wigmore, Herefordshire, the burial-place of the Mortimers.
Edmund’s star, however, continued to rise and he was appointed Lieutenant of Ireland by Richard II on 22nd October 1380. He died at Cork on 26th or 27th December 1381 and his body was brought back to Wigmore for burial. He was succeeded as 4th Earl of March by his eldest son, Roger; who had succeeded Philippa as Earl of Ulster on her death.
Roger spent many years in wardship following his father’s death. He was courageous, but had a reputation for religious and moral laxity. He was killed in Ireland in 1398, while acting as the king’s Lieutenant. It is possible that, at some point, he was named heir to the throne by Richard II, although there is considerable doubt in this.
Of Philippa and Edmund’s other children Elizabeth married Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy sometime before May 1380. They had 2 children, but he was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. Elizabeth then married Thomas, 1st Baron Camoys, with whom she had a son who died young. Elizabeth died on 20th April 1417 and was buried at Trotton in Sussex, with her 2nd husband.
Philippa’s daughter and namesake, Philippa, married John Hastings, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, son of the Earl of Pembroke who had married Edward III’s daughter, Margaret. Following his death in 1389, she married Richard FitzAlan, 11th Earl of Arundel, who was executed in 1397. Her 3rd marriage was to Thomas Poynings, 5th Baron St John of Basing, around November 1399. She died in 1400 or 1401 and was buried at Boxgrove Priory in Sussex.
Edmund’s namesake, Philippa and Edmund’s youngest son was married in about 1402 to Katherine, the daughter of Owen Glendower. They had several children, but all died young. Edmund himself died sometime between 1409 and 1411.
Philippa’s grandson, Roger’s son, Edmund, succeeded his father as Earl of March and Ulster; he became the king’s ward following his father’s death and, following the usurpation he was kept in Henry IV’s family circle.
Edmund seems to have suffered from a lack of ambition and when some barons tried to place him on the throne in 1415, it was Edmund himself who revealed the Southampton Plot to Henry V.
Edmund died of plague in Ireland in January 1425, but it is his sister, Anne Mortimer, who had been married to Richard of Conisbrough, that Philippa’s claim to the throne was passed to Anne and Richard’s son, Richard, Duke of York; thus laying the foundations for the Wars of the Roses and the accession of Edward IV and, later, his brother, Richard III.
Pictures taken from Wikipedia.
Sources: The Perfect King, the Life of Edward III by Ian Mortimer; The Life and Time of Edward III by Paul Johnson; The Reign of Edward III by WM Ormrod; The Mammoth Book of British kings & Queens by Mike Ashley; Britain’s’ Royal Families, the Complete Genealogy by Alison Weir; Brewer’s British Royalty by David Williamson; The Plantagenets, the Kings Who Made Britain by Dan Jones; mortimerhistorysociety.org.uk.
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In a time when men fought and women stayed home, Nicholaa de la Haye held Lincoln Castle against all-comers. Not once, but three times, earning herself the ironic praise that she acted ‘manfully’. Nicholaa gained prominence in the First Baron’s War, the civil war that followed the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215.
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Defenders of the Norman Crown: The Rise and Fall of the Warenne Earls of Surrey tells the fascinating story of the Warenne dynasty, of the successes and failures of one of the most powerful families in England, from its origins in Normandy, through the Conquest, Magna Carta, the wars and marriages that led to its ultimate demise in the reign of Edward III. Defenders of the Norman Crown: Rise and Fall of the Warenne Earls of Surrey is now available from Pen & Sword Books, Amazon in the UK and US, Bookshop.org and Book Depository.
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Reblogged this on Lenora's Culture Center and Foray into History.
Thank you so much. 🙂
Reblogged this on History's Untold Treasures and commented:
H/T History, the Interesting Bits
Much appreciated. Thank you Meghan. 🙂
Reblogged this on Brittius.
Many thanks Brittius 🙂
Reblogged this on Wendy J. Dunn.
Thank you Wendy, much appreciated. 🙂
Very interesting, tweeted it and will put a link to it on my website at http://www.catherinehokin.com if that’s ok with you – my second novel is about John of Gaunt so very buried in this period.
That’s wonderful. Thank you Catherine, and good luck with your novel. 🙂
I’d love to know the page numbers of the sources. The Wikipedia article on Philippa is sadly lacking, but they insist upon having good citations.
Wikipedia is never the most reliable source and should always be approached with caution – their citations are unverified and the information is often inaccurate. All the books I use are reputable sources – and have indexes in the back if you need to look up more on Philippa. I’m afraid I don’t put the page numbers because, to be honest, each article is more than enough work as it is. However, I do list all the sources I have used and all the information in the article is backed up by at least 2 sources. Hope this helps. Sharon 🙂
I think I read somewhere that Edmund Mortimer Senior’s (if I may call him that) Welsh wife and children might have died of Plague in the Tower of London c1413-14. I do seem to recall there was a recorded outbreak of it at that time, and it seems some of the later outbreaks were particularly bad for younger people and children.
I guess we’d say now it was because older people who’d lived through previous outbreaks were more immune, but children born after weren’t. Very sad 😦
I think you’re right! Haven’t looked into it deeply yet, but i do believe they died while in the king’s custody. Plague seems a likely cause. Poor kids.
Yeah, I did an essay on something to do withe the Plague as an undergraduate, and seem to recall reading some modern scientists and historians opinions on it. There was even one outbreak that became known as ‘the children’s plague’ because most of the victims were children.
The Tower, where I think they were held did not have quite such an unpleasant reputation at that time.
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Oh wow! Philippa was buried at Boxgrove Priory. That’s not far from me- though its not in Lewes. Unless its supposed to be St Pancras Abbey, which is the big one that was in Lewes?
Hmm, think that’s atypo and Lewes snuck in there. I’ve spent so long researching the Warennes that Sussex is almost always preceded by Lewes. Yes, the priory in Lewes is St Pancras. I visited last October, there’s not much left now, but it’s a beautiful, serene setting.
Yeah we visited once. I think there’s most left of the privies. Boxgrove priory is more on the way to Chichester in West Sussex. I only know because its not far from me, as stated. 🙂