They met as children while a marriage was being arranged between them by Edward’s mother, Queen Isabella, and Count William of Flanders, Philippa’s father. After an eight day visit it was reported that Philippa wept bitterly at Edward’s departure. The separation didn’t last long. Two years later she was on her way to London to marry him. By the time of her coronation, which had been delayed by her controlling mother-in-law, she was nearly sixteen and already pregnant with their first child. They had fourteen altogether but only three survived them.
Edward was flamboyant, extravagant and temperamental while Philippa was a good match for him with her calm demeanour and quiet compassionate manner. They were both devoted to their family. Edward was born in 1312 and was crowned king at the age of fourteen. Philippa was two years younger.
She went with her husband on expeditions to Scotland, France and Flanders. Other times she acted as regent while he was away. Edward’s reign was eventful encompassing the vicious Black Death that swept Europe and the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War with France. Edward wanted to bring England back to the position of power that had faded during the reign of his father. He instituted many reforms.
Philippa was loved by the English people. She showed herself to be compassionate when she persuaded her husband on more than one occasion to reduce a death penalty for groups of people he planned to execute as an example. Queen’s college at Oxford was founded in her name. Jean Froissart described her as "The most gentle Queen, most liberal, and most courteous that ever was Queen in her days."
Unusual for the times, Edward III was faithful to his wife, not taking mistresses, until the last few years of her life when he fell into the clutches of the greedy Alice Perrars, Lady in Waiting to Philippa.
Philippa died of dropsy at the age of 55. She was buried in the Chapel of St. Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. Edward ordered an elaborate tomb for her with an alabaster statue. After her death he fell into a decline both in physical and mental health. He was showing signs of dementia and this was not helped by his mistress Alice Perarrs. A lot of the accomplishments of his early reign were lost in these times. He died of a stroke. It was said Alice tore his rings from his fingers before he was cold in death.
A sad end to a long reign and a happy marriage. He was buried in the chapel of St. Edward the confessor with his wife.