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#OnThisDay in 1376: Edward, The Black Prince, died

Edward of Woodstock, also commonly referred as Black Prince, was born on the 15th of June in the year 1330. He was the eldest child of King Edward III of England and his wife, Philippa of Hainult and the future father to Richard II of England. Edward was also the first Duke of Cornwall (1337), the Prince of Wales (1343) and the Prince of Aquitaine (1362-1372).

Edward, Prince of Wales as depicted in Bruges Garter Book receiving knighthood from the Order of the Garter.

Edward, Prince of Wales as depicted in Bruges Garter Book receiving knighthood from the Order of the Garter. © Wikimedia Commons

In his early years, he was only known as “Edward of Woodstock” as he was born in Woodstock Palace at Oxfordshire, for medieval traditions calls for acquiring nicknames at the place where you were born. He was  believed to be a brilliant commander and leader at battles, thus gaining another title for himself: “Edward, The Black Prince.” 

A couple of evidences can prove his credentials as an exceptional military strategist such as the following: Under the lead of Edward, the first English victory over the French was obtained in the initial phase of Hundred Years’ War which was termed the Battle of Crecy in the year 1346.

The second phase was the Battle of Poitiers which occurred on the 19th of September in 1356 and the third was the Battle of Agnicourt that happened during the 25th of October, 1415. These three won battles by the English was a part of the century-long feud between England and France .

In 1348. Edward become one of the co-founders of the Order of the Garter, in which he also had became one of the knights of the Order.

Edward lived a strict life of order and chivalry, as he participated in negotiating with the Pope, attended both council and local meetings, as well as serving as a High Sheriff of Cornwall. His residences during his reign were the following: Wallingford Castle in Berkshire and Berkhamsted Castle in Hertforshire.

Battle of Crecy as depicted by Jean Froissart in an illuminated manuscript. © Wikimedia Commons

Battle of Crecy as depicted by Jean Froissart in an illuminated manuscript. © Wikimedia Commons

Edward married Joan of Kent or “The Fair Maid of Kent” with the papal consent of Pope Innocent Vl but the engagement sparked major controversy mainly because of Joan’s sordid and unsettled previous marital affairs involving Thomas Holland and William Montacute. The other matter that people was concerned about was the fact that Joan was an Englishwoman, thus no foreign alliance will be fortified.

Edward and his army contracted  dysentery during one of their expeditions to Spain to restore Don Pedro the Cruel to the throne. Soon, like the rest of his men, Edward died at the Westminister Palace on the 8th of June in 1376. As per his request, Edward desired to be buried at the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral as the same as his wife, Joan, Countess of Kent. However, his request was revoked after his death; instead he was  buried in the south side of Thomas Becket shrine.

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