Jeanne d’Albret (1528-1572)

She became a convert of Protestantism and made it the official religion in her kingdom of Navarre.

Henri IV's mother

  • Jeanne d'Albret (1528-1572) © S.H.P.F.

Jeanne’s parents were Henri II d’Albret, king of Navarre and Marguerite d’Angoulême, a sister of François 1st.

In 1541, François 1st. married her to the Duke de Clèves. This forced marriage was broken off in 1545. In 1553, she married Antoine de Bourbon. In 1553, Henri de Navarre, the future Henri IV, was born from this union.

A convinced Calvinist

  • The castle in Nerac (47)

She inherited the throne of Navarre when her father died in 1555. From then on, she strove to keep her states independent from France and Spain. She became a convert to Protestantism under Théodore de Bèze’s influence in 1560 and from then on imposed her religion on her states. She issued clerical ordinances on the Geneva model.

She came to the court of France to arrange the marriage of her son to Marguerite de Valois, King Charles IX’s daughter but died there just before the wedding. As a result, the ceremony previously planned for May 1572 was rescheduled for August of the same year.


  • Books
    • CAZAUX Yves, Jeanne d’Albret, Albin Michel, Paris, 1973
    • ROELKER Nancy Lyman, Jeanne d’Albret, reine de Navarre, Imprimerie nationale, Paris, 1979
    • VRAY Nicole, Jeanne d’Albret et Henri IV, reine de Navarre et roi de France, Olivétan, 2013

Associated notes

  • Théodore de Bèze (1519-1605)

    Theodore Beza was one of the most prominent figures in the Reform movement. He supported Calvin and succeeded him as moderator, i.e. president, of the Company of pastors in Geneva....
  • Marguerite d'Angoulême (1492-1549)

    Marguerite d’Angoulême was a literary person who, while fostering new ideas, was at the very centre of the cultural and spiritual life of her time.
  • Jean Calvin (1509-1564)

    A generation after Luther, the Frenchman Jean Calvin became the organiser of the Reformation : he organised the Church, shaped the doctrine and defined the role of the Church in state government.
  • Jeanne d'Albret Museum, the history of Protestantism in Béarn

  • Clément Marot (1496-1544)

    The famous 16th century French poet put into verse the biblical Psalms that were to be sung all over France and become the well-known Huguenot Psalter.
  • Olivétan (1506-1538)

    Olivétan is well-known for his French translation of the Bible, referred to as Olivétan’s Bible. It was the first Bible ever to be translated into French from the original Hebrew...