Joan of Kent, Countess of Kent (1328 - 1385) MP

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Nicknames: "The Fair Maid", "The Fair Maid of Kent", "Countess of Kent", "JOAN of Kent", "formerly Plantagenet"
Birthplace: Woodstock Palace, Oxfordshire, England
Death: Died in Wallingford Castle, Wallingford, Berkshire, England
Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About Joan of Kent, Countess of Kent

Joan, Countess of Kent (29 September 1328 – 7 August 1385) is known to history as The Fair Maid of Kent. French chronicler Jean Froissart called her "the most beautiful woman in all the realm of England, and the most loving."

Joan is often identified as the countess of Salisbury who, legend says, inspired Edward III's founding of the Order of the Garter.It is just as possible, though, that that countess was her mother-in-law, Catherine Montacute, Countess of Salisbury.

Titles: Princess of Wales, Princess of Aquitaine, Countess of Salisbury, Countess of Kent, Baroness Wake of Liddell


  • Father: Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent
  • Mother: Margaret Wake, 3rd Baroness Wake of Liddell
  • Spouses: 1) Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent, 2) William Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, 3) Edward, Prince of Wales


  1. Edmund Holland
  2. Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent
  3. John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter
  4. Joan Holland, Duchess of Brittany
  5. Maud Holland, Countess of Ligny
  6. Edward of Angoulême
  7. Richard II of England


-------------------- -------------------- She was called "The Fair Maid of Kent" because of her extraordinary beauty. She was celebrated as one of the most beautiful women of her time and was probably the heroine upon which the "Order of the Garter" was founded. The French chronicler Froissart called Joan "the most beautiful woman in all the realm of England, and the most loving." She was much loved by the people of England and by her family.

Joan of Kent was born in 1328 to Edmund of Woodstock Plantagenet, 1st Earl of Kent, son of King Edward I of England, and Margaret Wake, 3rd Baroness Wake of Liddell. She was the third of four children. Her father, the Earl of Kent, was executed for political reasons when Joan was only a toddler. Her cousin, King Edward III, took responsibility for the family, and brought them to live at the royal court with him.

When Joan was twelve years old, she fell in love with a soldier named Thomas Holland. They married in secret, without the approval of Joan's parents. However, that same year, Thomas was sent overseas to fight in the Hundred Years' War, and that winter, Joan's parents married her to William Montague, son of the 1st Earl of Salisbury. Joan did not disclose her previous marriage to Thomas because she feared that he would be executed for treason.

Several years later, Thomas returned to England and discovered that his wife had been married to another man. Now, Thomas confessed his secret marriage to Joan in the hopes that her marriage to Montague would be declared invalid. When Montague discovered that Joan supported Thomas's case, he became very angry and locked Joan in their home as a prisoner. The marriage between Joan and Montague was eventually annulled in 1349, when Joan was twenty-one. Joan then went to live with Thomas, and the happily reunited couple had several children before Thomas's death in 1360.

Their children were: Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, born 1350; John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter, born circa 1352; Joan Holland, born 1356, who married John V, Duke of Brittany; and Maud Holland, born 1359, who married Waleran III of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny. Some sources also list a fifth child, Edmund Holland, born 1354, who died young.

Joan inherited the titles of Countess of Kent and Lady Wake of Liddell in 1352 with the death of the last of her siblings.

Joan's second marriage in 1651 was to her first cousin once removed, Edward the Black Prince, the eldest son of King Edward III. Though their marriage would have been forbidden because they were closely related, Pope Innocent VI intervened and granted a dispensation which allowed the couple to be married.

When Edward was invested Prince of Aquitaine, the couple moved to France, where they had their two children, Edward, born 1365, and Richard, born 1367.

She requested in her will she be buried with her first husband, Sir Thomas, at Grefriars Church, which is now the site of a hospital.

Bio by Charlotte, #47579980

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Joan "The Fair Maid of Kent" Plantagenet's Timeline

September 29, 1328
Woodstock Palace, Oxfordshire, England
Age 11
February 10, 1341
Age 12
Donyatt, England
Age 21
Upholland, Lancashire, England
Age 22
Upholland, Lancashire, , England
Age 27
Upholand, Lancashire, , England
Age 29
Upholland, Lancashire, England
Age 30
Upholland, Lancashire, , England
October 10, 1361
Age 33
Old Windsor, Berkshire, England