Philippa of Hainault (1313–1350)
Although daughter of William of Hainault, a lord in modern-day Belgium, court sources from the late 1320s state clearly that Philippa had at least partial West African heritage.
Betrothed to Prince Edward of England in 1327, Philippa became the first Black queen in British history at the age of 17.
Philippa played a far more active role in government than any queen before her: she accompanied her husband on campaigns abroad, and several times ruled in her husband’s absence, the first woman in Medieval British history to become unopposed regent.
She founded Queen’s College, Oxford, and enriched Britain’s artistic and philosophical life by inviting many scholars from Hainault to study in semi-permanent residence in Britain.