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Jean d'Albret

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Jean d'Albret

John III
King of Navarre
with Catherine
Reign 1484 – 14 June 1516
Predecessor Catherine
Successor Catherine
Spouse Catherine, Queen of Navarre
Henry II of Navarre
Isabella, Viscountess of Rohan
House House of Albret
Father Alain I of Albret
Mother Frances of Châtillon-Limoges
Born 1469
Died 14 June 1516

John III (1469 – 14 June 1516), also known as Jean d'Albret, was jure uxoris, King consort of the Queen regnant Catherine of Navarre.

He was a son of Alain I of Albret, Lord of Albret, and his wife, Frances of Châtillon-Limoges.[1]

King of Navarre

He became King of Navarre and Count of Foix by virtue of his 1484 marriage to Queen Catherine (1470–1517), successor of her brother Francis Phoebus in 1483. He shared with Catherine tasks related to the government of the kingdom.

In 1512, John III Navarre was invaded by a Castilian army sent by Ferdinand II of Aragon, whose second wife was Germaine de Foix (1490–1538), a cousin of Queen Catherine. The Castilian troops commanded by the duke of Alba crossed the Pyrénées onto Lower Navarre capturing St-Jean-Pied-de-Port on 10 September 1512 and wreaking havoc across much of the merindad. There the Castilians were doggedly opposed by lords loyal to John III and Catherine of Navarre, but the Castilians retained St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and its hinterland. Following the invasion, Navarre south of the Pyrenees was annexed to Castile as an autonomous kingdom (aeque principalis) by the victorious Ferdinand after taking an oath to respect the Navarrese laws.

The royal family took shelter in Béarn, a royal Pyrenean domain and region contiguous to Lower Navarre. The parliaments of Navarre and Béarn had passed in 1510 a bill to create a confederation with a view to ensuring a better defense against external aggression. The capital city of Béarn was Pau, which John III and Catherine took as their main base.

After the Aragonese king Ferdinand's death in January 1516, the king John III mustered an army in Sauveterre-de-Béarn made up of Navarrese exiles and men from all over his domains, especially from Béarn. The advance of the two columns led by Peter, Marshall of Navarre was stopped by the Castilians right on the Pyrénées due to spies informing Cardinal Cisneros. The reconquest attempt was flawed.

Depressed by the defeats and adverse diplomatic results, John III died at Monein, Béarn, on 17 June 1516. Despite his wish to be buried at the Cathedral of Pamplona, the permanent Spanish occupation prevented that. His corpse rests instead at the Cathedral of Lescar along with queen Catherine, who outlived him only a few months.

Lower Navarre remained with John III's successors after Spanish troops permanently retreated from the region by 1527 (except for the outpost of Valcarlos), increasingly coming under French influence. After King Henry III of Navarre had mounted the French throne in 1589, he and his successors styled themselves Kings of France and Navarre until Louis XIII merged Lower Navarre with France in 1620.


He and Queen Catherine of Navarre were parents to thirteen children:

  • Anne of Navarre (19 May 1492 – 15 August 1532).
  • Magdalena of Navarre (29 March 1494 – May 1504).
  • Catherine of Navarre (1495 – November 1532). Abbess of the Trinity at Caen.
  • Joan of Navarre (15 June 1496 – last mentioned in November 1496).
  • Quiteria of Navarre (1499 – September/October 1536). Abbess at Montivilliers.
  • A stillborn son in 1500.
  • Andrew Phoebus of Navarre (14 October 1501 – 17 April 1503).
  • Henry II of Navarre (18 April 1503 – 25 May 1555).[2]
  • Buenaventura of Navarre (14 July 1505 – 1510/1511).
  • Martin of Navarre (c. 1506 – last mentioned in 1512).
  • Francis of Navarre (1508 – last mentioned in 1512).
  • Charles of Navarre (12 December 1510 – September 1528). Took part in the Siege of Naples during the War of the League of Cognac but was captured. Died while still held as a prisoner of war.
  • Isabella of Navarre (1513/1514 – last mentioned in 1555). Married Rene I, Viscount of Rohan.




External links

Kingdom of France portal
  • Template:MLCC
John III of Navarre
Born: 1469 Died: June 14 1516
Regnal titles
Preceded by
as solo monarch
King of Navarre
Count of Foix

1484 – 14 June 1516
with Catherine
Succeeded by
as solo monarch
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