Monday, February 26, 2024

The Tomb of a Young Prince

This tomb is also the only Royal tomb in York Minster. It is that of William of Hatfield, the second son of King Edward III and Queen Philippa of Hainault (and thus the younger brother of "Edward, Black Prince of Wales" as Shakespeare so poetically describes him).

Despite the effigy (above), which show a young man in his teens, Prince William, born at Hatfield Manor near Doncaster, Yorkshire, was only about two months old at his death, having been born in December 1336 and dying in early February 1337. He was buried in York Minster on February 10, 1337.

The two signs marking his memorial in the Minster (the precise location of his burial there is unknown, and the memorial has been moved several times, most recently to its present position in 1979), one of which confusingly bears the date August 15, 1347, each bear the arms of the See of York (modern), Gules two keys in saltire wards upwards argent in chief a Royal crown or.

The walls of the niche containing Prince William's memorial are painted a bright red, and powdered with golden branches of broom plants, the planta genista badge of the Plantangenets.

The memorial is flanked by two metal flags or banners of arms:

The banner on the right (seen partially above in the first photo; unfortunately a second photo of the entire banner was badly out of focus) are the arms of his father, King Edward III, Quarterly France ancient and England.

The banner on the left is the arms of his mother, Philippa of Hainault,* Quarterly, 1 and 4, Or a lion rampant sable; 2 and 3, Or a lion rampant gules.

As much as I enjoy seeing the heraldry used here, to have lost a son at so young an age is a tragedy.

* Yes, I know that technically speaking they are the arms of the province or county of Hainault used by Philippa's father, William I, Count of Hainault. Can we stop nitpicking now, and get back to enjoying the heraldry?

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