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Catherine of Navarre, Duchess of Lorraine: Wikis

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Catherine of Navarre, also known as Catherine de Bourbon (7 February 1559, Paris – 13 February 1604, Nancy), was the daughter of Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre. Her elder brother was Henry IV of France for whom she acted as regent in Bearn from 1582-92. After the accession of her brother to the French throne, she was made Duchess of Albret and Countess of Armagnac. Of saintly reputation, she was also a firm Protestant, and was appointed by her brother to sit on his Council as a representative of French Protestant interests, whereupon she set about persuading the Huguenots to agree to the Edict of Nantes.

Marriage

As part of the treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye between Henry IV and Charles III, Duke of Lorraine, it was agreed that Catherine should marry Charles' elder son, Henri (1563 – 1624). The marriage agreement was signed on 13 July 1598. However, Catherine was a confirmed Calvinist, who refused to convert to Roman Catholicism, whilst her husband was a devout Catholic, and a former member of the Holy League. Thus, the Pope was required to make a Dispensation, to allow the two to marry. On 29 December 1598, Pope Clément VIII declared himself opposed to the marriage. Dissatisfied, Henry IV intimidated the Archbishop of Rheims into granting an authorisation of marriage. This was made at Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 31 January 1599. Henry eventually secured Papal agreement. However, Catherine was not married long before she died, childless. Her husband remarried to Margerita Gonzaga, a niece of Marie de Medici (Henry IV's second wife).

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