Catherine de Bourbon

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Catherine de Bourbon
Hereditary Princess of Lorraine
Catherine de Bourbon .jpg
Born 7 February 1559
Paris, France
Died 13 February 1604(1604-02-13) (aged 45)
Ducal Palace of Nancy, Lorraine
Spouse Henri de Lorraine
House House of Bourbon
Father Anthony of Navarre
Mother Joan III of Navarre
Religion Calvinism

Catherine de Bourbon (7 February 1559 – 13 February 1604) was the daughter of Queen Joan III and King Anthony of Navarre.

Political service

After the accession of her brother, Henry of Navarre, to the French throne, she was created Duchess of Albret and Countess of Armagnac. Because her brother, who became ruler of the principality of Béarn in 1572, Henry IV of France and Navarre was generally absent in other parts of France. After his escape from captivity in 1576, he entrusted Catherine with the government of Béarn. She served almost continuously as regent until 1596, where among her other responsibilities, this firm Protestant hosted Antonio Perez, a famous Spanish Catholic refugee from King Philip II. Appointed by her brother to sit on his Council as a representative of French Protestant interests in 1598, she set about persuading the Huguenots to agree to the Edict of Nantes.


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, Henry (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 Clement VIII declared himself opposed to the marriage. Dissatisfied, Henry IV intimidated the Archbishop of Reims 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).


Catherine de Bourbon was also a writer. Her works consist principally of sonnets and correspondence.[1][2]



  1. Wilson, Katharina M. (1991). An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers. Taylor & Francis. pp. 569–. ISBN 978-0-8240-8547-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Catherine de Bourbon (1558-1604)". Bibliothèque nationale de France. Retrieved 28 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Knecht, R. J. (2001). The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France, 1483–1610. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-22729-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> geologies
  4. Baumgartner, Frederic J. (1995). France in the Sixteenth Century. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-62088-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> genealogical tables

Further reading

  • Grintchenko, Marie-Hélène. (2009). Catherine de Bourbon (1559-1604): Influence politique, religieuse et culturelle d’une princesse calviniste. Paris: Honoré Champion. ISBN 978-2-7453-1866-4.