Jeanne III of Navarre

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Jeanne d'Albret (16 November 1528 – 9 June 1572), also known as Jeanne III or Joan III, was the queen regnant of Navarre from 1555 to 1572. She married Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, and was the mother of Henry of Bourbon, who became King of Navarre as well as of France as the first Bourbon king. She was the Duchess of Vendôme by marriage.

She was the acknowledged spiritual and political leader of the French Huguenot movement.[1]


Early years

Jeanne was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France[2][3] at five o'clock in the afternoon on 16 November 1528,[4][5][6] the daughter of Marguerite of Angoulême and Henry II of Navarre. Her mother, the daughter of Louise of Savoy and Charles, Count of Angoulême, 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 also, at an early age, had displayed a tendency to be stubborn and unyielding.[7] In 1541, when Jeanne was twelve, her uncle, King Francis I, married her, against her will, to William "the Rich", Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, brother of Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII of England. Unwilling, she had to be carried bodily to the altar by the Constable of France, Anne de Montmorency.[7][8] This political marriage was annulled four years later due to not having been consummated.

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