Philippa Roet was born in 1346 and is the sister of Katherine Swynford who is mentioned in an earlier post. She is a twice over auntie for me which is pretty awesome because she married Geoffrey Chaucer. Now, I’m trying to avoid writing about women only from the perspective of who their father/husband/son was but this is the man who put to parchment The Wife of Bath’s Tale so there’s a good chance he didn’t believe that his wife was only property. They were separate often in their marriage due to their duties in the royal households that they were a part of and some believe that The Franklin’s Tale is based upon that distance.
Philippa was lady-in-waiting in a few noble households, Elizabeth of Ulster (where she met Chaucer where he was working as a page), Queen Philippa and Constanza of Castile. Her connections to these powerful women led her to receiving annuities from their husbands which made her wealthy in her own right. Her time in the house of Constanza who was married to John of Gaunt was not only advantagous to her and her husband but also opened the doors for sister Katherine who became his mistress and later, wife.
Philippa died about 1387 while her husband was abroad. He fell out of favor with the court after her death.
For those who haven’t read The Canterbury Tales, they can be found here, http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/webcore/murphy/canterbury/2genpro.pdf for free in modern English. Enjoy.