Henry IV of France


May 28, 2022

Henry IV (December 13, 1553 – May 14, 1610), also known as "the Good King Henry", was King of Navarre as Henry III from 1572 until his death, and also King of France to from 1589. He was the son of António de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme and Joan III of Navarre, being the first French monarch of the House of Bourbon.

Initial biographical data

In 1589, when his cousin and brother-in-law Henry III of Valois, King of France, died, Henry of Bourbon, then King of Navarre, of the Vendôme branch of the Bourbons, became Henry IV and brought his House to the French throne. The dynasty was continued in his son Louis XIII, who in turn had two sons: the dauphin Louis and Philip. Philip was given the Duchy d'Orléans in 1661, being the ancestor of the House of Orléans. Dauphin Louis became King Louis XIV of France. Henry IV reigned from 1589. As a Protestant, he was involved in the Wars of Religion in France before ascending the throne. To gain the support that would allow him to become king, he converted to Catholicism and signed the Edict of Nantes, which granted religious freedom to Protestants and effectively ended the civil war. He was one of the most popular kings (during his reign and later), showing concern for the economic well-being of his subjects, and also showing a religious tolerance uncommon in his time. He was murdered by a mentally disturbed man, the Catholic fanatic François Ravaillac. In France, Henry IV was informally called le bon roi Henri (French: the good King Henry).

Childhood and adolescence

He was born in the castle of Pau on December 13, 1553 and died on a Friday, May 14, 1610. After 17 attempts, he was assassinated in Paris, buried in the Basilica of Saint-Denis. The culprit was François Ravaillac (dismembered on the 27th of May of the same year), who stabbed him at 4 pm in front of 11 Rue de la Ferronnerie. The victorious assassin gave the reason: A fin qu'il ne fasse pas la guerre au Pape, that is, lest you make war on the Pope. It is said that Ravaillac made so many and such mysterious confessions that the entire process was destroyed. He is called the great for having restored France to prosperity after 30 years of war. And Le vert-galant, for its connections with the most beautiful women of the time. His grandfather threatened to disown his mother, Joana d'Albret, if his grandson was born in Paris, as his father wished. She was descended from Louis IX through her father and from Francis I's sister through her mother. His childhood lasted the eight years he lived in Béarn, entrusted to a local family, among shepherds, and the legend of the good popular king was born. In 1557 he was sent to the court of the Valois at Amiens. In 1561, his father António de Bourbon (1512-1562), Duke of Vendôme and King of Navarre, made him enter the College of Navarre in Paris. At the court of the Valois, he grew up with boys his own age, the future King Charles IX, his two brothers Franz Hercules and Henry, future Henry III, and with Henry of Guise. Catherine de Medici kept him at court and his mother could not make him return to resume his Protestant education. His qualities were being a complete man of war, excellent diplomat, realist, clairvoyant, sure. Appreciated for the efficiency with which he directed his men, he knew how to be flexible, compromising, in a time of religious fanaticism on the part of both Catholics and Protestants.

King of Navarre

His father died in 1562, still hesitating between Catholics and Protestants, in Rouen (on account of Charles IX), where he was about to retake the city from the Protestants. In 1566 his mother, the very energetic Joan, Queen of Navarre, managed to kidnap him and keep him in Bearn, her native land. Catherine de Medici had organized a tour of France to introduce Charles IX to the provincial towns. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Arnay-le-Duc, in Burgundy, in 1569. Henry figured re