Philippa de Coucy
Philippa de Coucy, Countess of Oxford, Duchess of Ireland (before 18 April 1367 – October 1411) was a first cousin of King Richard II of England and the wife of his favourite, Robert de Vere, 9th Earl of Oxford, Marquess of Dublin, Duke of Ireland.
Philippa was born at Eltham Palace shortly before 18 April 1367, the younger daughter of Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy, by his wife Isabella, eldest daughter of King Edward III of England. She was named after her grandmother, Philippa of Hainault. In 1371, at the age of four, she was betrothed to Robert de Vere, who was himself only five years older and was already Earl of Oxford. They were married on 5 October 1376; they had no children.
Like her mother, Isabella, Philippa was created a Lady of the Garter. Her husband quickly became a favourite of the young King Richard.
Repudiation and divorce
In 1387, de Vere repudiated Philippa and Pope Urban VI granted him a divorce. De Vere had begun an affair with Agnes de Launcekrona, a lady-in-waiting of Richard II's queen, Anne of Bohemia, and he took Agnes as his second wife. This created a scandal throughout the kingdom; Philippa's royal uncles, the Dukes of Lancaster, Gloucester, and York were especially angered. De Vere's mother, Maud de Ufford, sided with Philippa and took her into her own household, saying that she held Philippa " more dear than if she had been her own daughter". Philippa continued to be styled as the Countess of Oxford and Duchess of Ireland.
Shortly afterwards in 1388, de Vere was disgraced and sent into exile in Louvain, Brabant. On 17 October 1389, the Pope declared the divorce invalid. He was killed while out hunting boar in 1392. Philippa became an attendant of Richard II's second wife, Isabella of Valois, whom she accompanied to France after Richard's death in 1400.
She died in October 1411 at the age of 44 years.
- Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, p.233
- Linda Clark, Authority and Subversion, p. 26, Google Books, retrieved on 6 November 2009
- Mary Anne Everett Green, Lives of the Princesses of England (1855)