Joan, Countess of Kent was Princess of Wales and was also known as Joan, Fair Maid of Kent. Her other titles included Princess of Aquitaine, Countess of Salisbury and Baroness Wake of Liddell. She was also the 26th great grandmother to my children.
Joan at one time was described by French historian Jean Froissart as “the most beautiful woman in all the realm of England, and the most loving.”
Joan was born September 29, 1328. Her father was Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent (1301-1330), half-brother to Edward II, King of England and son of Edward I, and her mother was Margaret, Baroness Wake (1300-1349), daughter of Philip III, King of France. It was her father Edmund who supported Edward II in conflict with Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March and his lover Isabella of France, resulting in Edmund’s execution.
In the spring of 1340 at the age of eleven, Joan was married in secret, without royal consent, to Sir Thomas de Holand ( – 1360), Knight of the Garter, of Broughton, Buckinghamshire, son of Sir Robert de Holand and Matilda la Zouche.
In 1352, she succeeded her brother as Countess of Kent, Baroness Wake and Baroness Woodstock.
While Thomas was overseas, her family forced her into a marriage with William de Montagu (1328-1397) before February 10, 1341. She decided not to disclose the earlier marriage for fear Sir Thomas would be executed for treason. William was the son of William de Montagu, Lord Montagu and Earl of Salisbury and Katharine de Grandson and succeeded as Earl of Salisbury in 1344. Joan and William had one son, Sir William de Montagu (1341- ).
The marriage of Joan and William was annulled in November 17, 1349 after Sir Thomas de Holand proved that he had married Joan in 1339. Thomas was made Lord Holand in 1353/4 and succeeded as Earl of Kent, dying in the winter of 1360. He was buried at the Church of the Grey Friars in Stamford, England.
The pope ordered the re-establishment of the first marriage to Sir Thomas de Holad on November 17, 1349. It was later confirmed by another Papal Bull that the Earl of Salisbury acquiesced and married another woman who remained his wife. Joan returned to her first husband and had the following children:
- Sir Thomas de Holand II, Earl of Kent (1350-1397)
- John de Holand, Duke of Exeter (1350-1400)
- Edmund de Holand, Duchess of Brittany ( – )
- Matilda de Holand, Countess of Ligny ( – )
Joan’s third marriage was by Papal dispensation September 10, 1361 to Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales (1330-1376), son of Edward III, King of England and Philippa de Hainaut. Edward was also known as “The Black Prince”. Joan and Edward had two sons:
- Edward of Angoulême (1365-1372)
- Richard II, King of England (1367- murdered in 1400)
Around 1365, Edward went to war on behalf of King Peter of Castile. After his return and by 1372, Edward was no longer able to perform his duties as Prince of Aquitaine and he returned to England, when the plaque has rampant. Joan became the Dowager Princess of Wales upon the succession of her son Richard, her elder son having died in 1372.
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- Royal Genealogies Website; http://ftp.cac.psu.edu/~saw/royal/royalgen.html.
- Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy; Pimlico; Rev Ed edition (13 Jun 2002); London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999.
- Kings and Queens of England – The Plantagenets, The Royal Family online; http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page58.asp, accessed.
- Foundation for Medieval Genealogy online; http://fmg.ac/, accessed.
- Charles Mosley, Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 106th Edition (: 1999,).
- The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdon, Extant, Extinct or Dormant (G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I.).
- Weis, Frederick Lewis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came To America Before 1700, 8th Edition (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 2004).
- George Smith, Dictionary of National Biography, Vols. 1-21 (: Oxford Press, 1885-1990).
- Weis, Frederick Lewis, Th.D., The Magna Carta Sureties, 1215, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.), 5th Ed., c1999.
- Wikipedia.org; http://www.wikipedia.org.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.org