Edward the Black Prince

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The Black Prince
Edward, the Black Prince (1330-1376), Earl of Chester (from 1333), Duke of Cornwall (from 1337), Prince of Wales (from 1343) and, from 1362, “Prince of Aquitaine”, was so named because of the black armour he wore. He was the eldest son of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault. During his lifetime and in posterity he has been held to be the embodiment of the chivalric ideal, a claim not justified in all respects.

His reputation as a military commander is assured. His actions under his father at Crecy in 1346, and his victories at Poitiers (1356) and Najera in Spain (1367) marked him as one of the greatest of medieval commanders. His chivalric reputation suffers from his sack of Limoges in 1370. His rule in Aquitaine was not considered a success, and his administration of his estates in England has been described as efficient but harsh.

He married for love – the beautiful Joan, the “Fair Maid of Kent” – in 1362.

He was forced to return to England in 1371 due to the ill-health which was to lead to his death in 1376, a year before his father. He was survived by his young second son, who would become Richard II a year later when the old Edward III died.


Reference: The Oxford Companion to British History.

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