Jeanne III of Navarre


Jeanne III of Navarre

Infobox Monarch
name=Joan III
title=Queen of Navarre (more)
Duchess consort of Jülich-Cleves-Berg


caption=
date of birth= 7 January 1528
place of birth= Pau Béarn, France
date of death= 9 June 1572
place of death= Paris
place of burial=
reign= 25 May 1555 – 9 June 1572
coronation=
royal house=House of Albret
father=Henry II
mother=Marguerite of Angoulême
consort=Antoine de Bourbon
issue = Henry III
Catherine, Duchess of Lorraine
predecessor = Henry II
successor = Henry III

Jeanne III or Joan III, known as Jeanne d'Albret (7 January 1528 – 9 June 1572) was Queen regnant of Navarre from 1555 to 1572, wife of Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme and mother of King Henry IV of France. She was the acknowledged spiritual and political leader of the French Huguenot movement. [Mark Strage"Women of Power".p.148]

Early years

Jeanne was born in Pau, Béarn, France [ThePeerage.com] on 7 January 1528, the daughter of Henry II of Navarre and Marguerite of Angoulême. Marguerite was the sister of King Francis I of France, and Jeanne grew up at the French court. She was a Huguenot, raised in the French Protestant Reformed faith. In her youth she had been a frivolous and high-spirited princess, but she had also, at an early age, displayed a tendency to be stubborn and unyielding. [Strage.p.149] In 1541, when Jeanne was thirteen, King Francis married her, against her will, to William "the Rich", Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg. She had to be carried bodily to the altar by the Constable of France, Anne de Montmorency. [Strage.p.149.] [Francis Hackett "Francis The First"p.419.] This political marriage was annulled four years later due to nonconsummation.William was the brother of Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII of England.After the death of Francis in 1547, and the accession of King Henry II, Jeanne was married to Antoine de Bourbon, "first prince of the blood," who would become heir to the French throne in the event that the Valois' produced no male heirs. Her marriage to Antoine was a romantic match, despite the fact that he was a notorious philanderer whose frequent absences left Jeanne in complete charge of the household which she managed with a firm and resolute hand. They had five children; only two of whom, Henry and Catherine, lived to adulthood.

On 25 May 1555, Henry II of Navarre died, and Jeanne and her husband became rulers of Navarre.

Queen of Navarre

In the first year of her reign, Jeanne d'Albret called a conference of beleaguered Huguenot ministers which led to her declaring Calvinism the official religion of her kingdom after publicly embracing the teachings of Calvin on Christmas Day 1560. Jeanne became a fanatic, which resulted in the proscription of Catholicism. Priests and nuns were duly banished, churches destroyed, and Catholic ritual prohibited. [Strage.p.150.] She commissioned the translation of the New Testament into Basque for the benefit of her subjects.

She was described as "small of stature, frail but erect". Her face was narrow, her light- coloured eyes cold, unmoving, and her lips thin. She was highly intelligent, but austere and self-righteous. Her speech was sharply sarcastic and vehement. Agrippa d' Aubigne, the Huguenot chronicler described Jeanne as having "a mind powerful enough to guide the highest affairs". [Strage.p150.]

French Wars of Religion

The power struggle between Catholics and Huguenots for control of the French court and France as a whole led to the outbreak of the French Wars of Religion in 1562. Antoine de Bourbon chose to support the Catholics, but was mortally wounded at the siege of Rouen. Jeanne's son Henry now became "first prince of the blood."

In 1567 war broke out again, and Jeanne sought refuge in the Huguenot city of La Rochelle. From there she conducted peace negotiations, and in 1570 a marriage of convenience was arranged between her son Henry and King Charles IX's sister Marguerite. On 9 June 1572, two months before the wedding was due to take place, Jeanne died, unexpectedly, in Paris. A popular rumour which circulated shortly afterward, contended that Jeanne had been poisoned by the regent Catherine de' Medici, the mother of her son's prospective bride who allegedly sent her a pair of perfumed gloves, skillfully poisoned by her profumer, René Bianco, a fellow Florentine. This fanciful chain of events also appears in the Romantic writer Alexandre Dumas's 1845 novel "La Reine Margot". An autopsy, however, proved that Jeanne died of natural causes. [Strage.ps.155-6]

Titles

by birth

* Queen of Navarre (1555–1572)
* Duchess of Albret (1555–1572)
* Countess of Limoges (1555–1572)
* Countess of Foix (1555–1572)
* Countess of Armagnac (1555–1572)
* Countess of Bigorre (1555–1572)
* Countess of Périgord (1555–1572)

by marriage

* Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (1541–1545)
* Duchess of Vendôme (1550–1562)
* Duchess of Beaumont (1550–1562)
* Countess of Marle (1548–1562)
* Countess of La Fère (1548–1562)
* Countess of Soissons (1550–1562)

Marriages and Issue

In 1541 Jeanne married William, Duke of Jülich-Berg-Ravensberg-Kleve-Mark, annulled in 1545, with no issue.

On 20 October 1548, she married Antoine de Bourbon and they had the following children:
* Henri, Duc de Beaumont (1551–1553)
* Henri IV, King of France (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610)
* Louis (1555–1557)
* Madeleine (1556)
* Catherine (7 February 1559 – 13 February 1604). Married Henry I, Duke of Lorraine in 1599.

References

# Mark Strage "Women of Power". Published bt Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1976.
# Francis Hackett "Francis The First".

Ancestors

Jeanne's ancestors in three generations

Ahnentafel4
1 = Jeanne III of Navarre
2 = Henry II of Navarre
3 = Marguerite of Angoulême
4 = John III of Navarre
5 = Catherine I of Navarre
6 = Charles, Count of Angoulême
7 = Louise of Savoy
8 = Alain I of Albret
9 = Francoise of Châtillon-Limoges
10 = Gaston IV of Foix
11 = Eleanor I of Navarre
12 = John, Count of Angoulême
13 = Marguerite de Rohan
14 = Philip II, Duke of Savoy
15 = Margaret of Bourbon


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