Philippa of Lancaster, queen

(1360-1415)
   Wife of King João I of Portugal and daughter of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III. Born in England, she was educated at home within the bosom of the royal family and little is known of her life until she was 26 and sailed to Castile with her father. The marriage of King João I and Philippa was celebrated in Oporto in 1387, and during the next 15 years of the queen's life, at least half of the time was expended in pregnancy and childbearing. From age 27 to 42, a remarkable physical feat for that era or any other, Philippa bore the so-called "illustrious generation" of children that included Prince Henry of Aviz (Prince Henry the Navigator), Prince Pedro, and King Duarte (r. 1433-38). Her six sons alone dominated politics for generations, and although what precise role she had in their education is unclear, her influence was present in continuing the Anglo- Portuguese Alliance and in encouraging the expansion of Portugal into North Africa.
   Philippa maintained a long correspondence with her family in England, was very religious, and introduced a new liturgy into the Portuguese Church services. Philippa, who was a strong influence in encouraging the crusade to attack Muslim North Africa, died of the Black Plague on the eve of the epoch-making Ceuta expedition in 1415. Although she died at Odivelas, eventually her remains were transferred to the great Monastery of Batalha (1416), where the effigy on her fine tomb is the only faithful likeness of her in Portugal.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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