Queen Phillippa, England's first black queen
Philippa was the daughter of William of Hainault, a lord in part of what is now Belgium. When she was nine the King of England, Edward II, decided that he would marry his son to her, and sent one of his bishops, a Bishop Stapeldon, to look at her. His description was:
"The lady whom we saw has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is clean shaped; her forehead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than the forehead. Her eyes are blackish brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full and especially the lower lip…all her limbs are well set and unmaimed, and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is brown of skin all over, and much like her father, and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us."
Four years later Prince Edward went to visit her, and fell in love with her. She was betrothed to him and in 1327, when she was only 14, she arrived in England. They married the next year. In 1330 she gave birth to her first child.
The child was called Edward, like his father, but is better known as the Black Prince. Many say that he was called this because of the colour of his armour, but there are records that show that he was called 'black' when he was very small. The French called him 'Le Noir'.
Philippa was a remarkable woman. She was very wise and was known and loved by the English for her kindliness and restraint.
Mr S. Sutton