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Useful Notes / Marguerite De Navarre

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Marguerite de Navarre (11 April 1492 – 21 December 1549) was Queen of Navarre and a prolific writer.

Born into a junior of a junior branch of the French Royal House of Valois, Marguerite rose to prominence as the male heirs of the more senior branches died out and her brother Francois became King of France. Her father had died when she had still been young, and her mother had made sure she got a thorough education.


Her first marriage was to Charles, Duke of Alençon, which remained childless. After his death, she married Henri II, King of Navarre and became Queen. Navarre was a small country, but of strategic importance to France. She remained influential and active in France.

When her brother got captured at the Battle of Pavia, it was Marguerite who travelled to Spain to negotiate his release. Her mother stayed behind to take the regency in France.

In 1528, she gave birth to a daughter, who would rule Navarre as Jeanne III. She also took care of two nieces after the death of Queen Claude. It is not clear how much of a mentor she was to Anne Boleyn during her time at the French court, but Anne would later write that meeting Marguerite again was her greatest wish after giving birth to a son.

Marguerite was known as a protector of church reformers. One of her writings was condemned as containing heresy, but her brother stepped in to protect her and she received an apology. Marguerite was a prolific writer that was well regarded. She also had a salon and patronized many artists.


Portrayals of Marguerite de Navarre in fiction:

  • Sara James in The Tudors(2007)
  • María Hervás in Carlos, Rey Emperador (2015)
  • Appears in Jean Plaidy's Madame Serpent, the first book in a trilogy about Catherine de Medicis.