Joan of Kent, 1328–85, English noblewoman; daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent, youngest son of Edward I. She early gained wide note for her beauty and charm, though the appellation Fair Maid of Kent, by which she became known, was probably not contemporary. Her marriage to the earl of Salisbury was annulled on the grounds of a precontract with Sir Thomas Holland, whom she then married. Upon the death of her brother in 1352 she became countess of Kent in her own right. In 1361, after Holland's death, she married Edward the Black Prince, by whom she had two sons, Edward (1365–70) and Richard (later Richard II). In 1378 she was instrumental in halting proceedings against John Wyclif, though there is insufficient evidence to determine if she accepted his doctrines. As long as she lived, she was probably the principal influence on her son Richard II.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.