Philippa was born in Flanders, the daughter of William VI of Hainault and second cousin of Edward III. She married Edward on January 24, 1328, at York Minster. They had thirteen children, including five sons who lived into adulthood and whose rivalry would eventually bring about the long-running civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses.
The French writer Jean Froissart came with Philippa to England as her secretary, and his observations on life at court are a valuable source of information about this period. Philippa is remembered by history as a tender-hearted woman, who interceded with her husband and persuaded him to spare the lives of the six burghers of Calais, whom he had planned to execute as an example to the townspeople. She died of dropsy at Windsor, and was buried at Westminster.
Her children include: