Henry IV King Of FRANCE

Male 1553 - 1610  (56 years)

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  • Name Henry IV King Of FRANCE  [1
    Born 13 Dec 1553  [1
    Gender Male 
    Name Henry III Of Navarre  [1
    Died 14 May 1610  [1
    • Henry IV (French: Henri IV; December 13, 1553 ? May 14, 1610), was the first monarch of the Bourbon dynasty in France.

      As a Huguenot, Henry was involved in the Wars of Religion before ascending to the throne; to become king he converted to Catholicism and in 1598 promulgated the Edict of Nantes which guaranteed religious liberties to the Protestants and thereby effectively ended the civil war. One of the most popular French kings, both during and after his reign, Henry showed great care for the welfare of his subjects and displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the time. He was murdered by a fanatical Catholic, Fran┴ois Ravaillac.

      Henry was nicknamed Henry the Great (Henri le Grand), and in France is sometimes called le bon roi Henri ("good king Henry") or le Vert galant ("the Green gallant").
      Although baptized as a Roman Catholic, Henry was raised as a Protestant by his mother Jeanne d'Albret; Jeanne declared Calvinism the religion of Navarre. As a teenager, Henry joined the Huguenot forces in the French Wars of Religion. In 1572, upon Jeanne's death, he became King Henry III of Navarre.

      On 18 August 1572, Henry married Marguerite de Valois, sister of King Charles IX. Henry's marriage was believed by most to be an effort to bring religious peace to the kingdom. However, leading Catholics (possibly including Catherine de Medicis, mother of the bride) secretly planned a massacre of Protestants gathered in Paris for the wedding. In the resulting Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, on 24 August, several thousand Protestants were killed in Paris and thousands more in the countryside. Henry escaped death only by pretending to convert to Roman Catholicism. He was kept in confinement, but escaped in early 1576; on 5 February of that year, he abjured Catholicism at Tours and rejoined the Protestant forces in the military conflict.

      Henry of Navarre became the legal heir to the French throne upon the death in 1584 of Fran┴ois, Duke of Alen┴on, brother and heir to the Catholic King Henry III, who had succeeded Charles IX in 1574. Since Henry of Navarre was a descendant of King Louis IX, King Henry III had no choice but to recognize him as the legitimate successor. Salic law disinherited the king's sisters and all others who could claim descent by the distaff line. However, since Henry of Navarre was a Huguenot, this set off the War of the Three Henrys phase of the French Wars of Religion. The third Henry, Duke Henry of Guise, pushed for complete suppression of the Huguenots, and had much support among Catholic extremists. In December 1588 Henry III had Henry of Guise murdered, along with his brother, Louis Cardinal de Guise. This increased the tension further, and Henry III was assassinated shortly thereafter by a fanatic monk.

      On the death of Henry III in 1589, Henry of Navarre nominally became the king of France. But the Catholic League, strengthened by support from outside, especially from Spain, was strong enough to force him to the south, and he had to set about winning his kingdom by military conquest, aided by money and troops bestowed by Elizabeth I of England. The League proclaimed Henry's Catholic uncle, the Cardinal de Bourbon, King as Charles X, but the Cardinal himself was Henry's prisoner. Henry was victorious at Ivry and Arques, but failed to take Paris.

      After the death of the old Cardinal in 1590, the League could not agree on a new candidate. While some supported various Guise candidates, the strongest candidate was probably Infanta Isabella, the daughter of Philip II of Spain, whose mother Elisabeth had been the eldest daughter of Henry II of France. The prominence of her candidacy hurt the League, which thus became suspect as agents of the foreign Spanish, but nevertheless Henry remained unable to take control of Paris.

      With the encouragement of the great love of his life, Gabrielle d'Estr╚es, on 25 July 1593 Henry declared that Paris vaut bien une messe ("Paris is well worth a Mass") and permanently renounced Protestantism, thus earning the resentment of his former ally Queen Elizabeth. However, his entrance into the Roman Catholic Church secured for him the allegiance of the vast majority of his subjects, and he was crowned King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres on 27 February 1594. In 1598, however, he declared the Edict of Nantes, which gave circumscribed toleration to the Huguenots.

      Monarchical Styles of
      King Henry IV
      Par la gréce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre

      Reference style His Most Christian Majesty
      Spoken style Your Most Christian Majesty
      Alternative style Monsieur Le Roi
      Henry's first marriage was not a happy one, and the couple remained childless. The two had separated, even before Henry had succeeded to the throne, in August, 1589 and Marguerite de Valois lived for many years in the chateau of Usson in Auvergne. After Henry had become king, various advisers impressed upon him the desirability of providing an heir to the French Crown, in order to avoid the problem of a disputed succession. Henry himself favored the idea of obtaining an annulment of his first marriage, and taking Gabrielle d'Estr╚es as a bride, who had already borne him three children. Henry's councillors strongly opposed this idea, but the matter was resolved unexpectedly by Gabrielle d'Estr╚es' sudden death in April 1599, after she had given birth prematurely to a stillborn son. His marriage to Marguerite was annulled in 1599, and he then married Marie de M╚dicis in 1600.

      Henry IV proved to be a man of vision and courage. Instead of waging costly wars to suppress opposing nobles, Henry simply paid them off. As king, he adopted policies and undertook projects to improve the lives of all subjects, which made him one of the country's most popular rulers ever.

      A declaration often attributed to him is:

      Si Dieu me pr═te vie, je ferai qu?il n?y aura point de laboureur en mon royaume qui n?ait les moyens d?avoir le dimanche une poule dans son pot!
      God willing, every working man in my kingdom will have a chicken in the pot every Sunday, at the least!
      This egalitarian statement epitomizes the peace and relative prosperity Henry brought to France after decades of religious war, and demonstrates how well he understood the plight of the French worker or peasant farmer. Never before had a French ruler even considered the importance of a chicken or the burden of taxation on his subjects, nor would one again until the French Revolution. After generations of domination by the extravagant Valois dynasty, which had caused the French people to pay to the point of starvation for the royal family's luxuries and intrigue, Navarre's charisma won the day.

      Henry's forthright manner, physical courage and military success also contrasted dramatically with the sickly, effete langour of the last tubercular Valois kings, as evinced by his blunt assertion that he ruled with "weapon in hand and arse in the saddle" (on a le bras arm╚ et le cul sur la selle).

      During his reign, Henry IV worked through his right-hand man, the faithful Maximilien de Bethune, duc de Sully (1560-1641), to regularize state finance, promote agriculture, drain swamps to create productive crop lands, undertake many public works, and encourage education, as with the creation of the College Royal Louis-Le-Grand in La Fl╦che (today Prytan╚e Militaire de la Fl╦che). He and Sully protected forests from further devastation, built a new system of tree-lined highways, and constructed new bridges and canals. He had a 1200m canal built in the park at the Royal Chateau at Fontainebleau (which can be fished today), and ordered the planting of pines, elms and fruit trees.

      Statue of Henry IV on the Pont NeufThe king renewed Paris as a great city, with the Pont Neuf, which still stands today, constructed over the River Seine to connect the Right and Left Banks of the city. Henry IV also had the Place Royale built (since 1800 known as Place des Vosges), and added the Grande Gallerie to the Louvre. More than 400 meters long and thirty-five meters wide, this huge addition was built along the bank of the Seine River, and at the time was the longest edifice of its kind in the world. King Henry IV, a promoter of the arts by all classes of peoples, invited hundreds of artists and craftsmen to live and work on the building?s lower floors. This tradition continued for another two hundred years, until Emperor Napoleon I banned it. The art and architecture of his reign has since become known as the Henry IV style.

      King Henry's vision extended beyond France, and he financed several expeditions of Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain to North America that saw France lay claim to Canada.

      Death and aftermath
      Although he was a man of kindness, compassion, and good humor, and was much loved by his people[citation needed], he was the subject of many murder attempts (for example by Pierre Barri╦re and Jean Chétel). On 14 May 1610, King Henry IV was assassinated in Paris by Fran┴ois Ravaillac, who stabbed the king to death while he rode in his coach. Henry was buried at the Saint Denis Basilica. Henry's widow, Marie de M╚dicis, served as Regent to their 9-year-old son, Louis XIII, until 1617.

      The reign of Henry IV made a lasting impact on the French people for generations after. A statue of Henry was erected on the Pont Neuf in Paris in 1614, only four years after his death. Although this statue - as well as those of all the other French kings - was destroyed during the French Revolution, it was the first one to be rebuilt, in 1818, and it still stands today on the Pont Neuf. A cult surrounding the personality of Henri IV emerged during the Restoration. The restored Bourbons were keen to downplay the contested reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, and instead emphasized the reign of the benevolent Henry IV. The song Vive Henri IV ("Long Live Henry IV") was used during the Restoration, as an unofficial anthem of France, played in the absence of the king. In addition, when Princess Maria Carolina of the Two Sicilies gave birth to a male heir to the throne of France, seven months after the assassination of her husband Charles Ferdinand, duc de Berry by a Republican fanatic, the boy was conspicuously called Henri in reference to his forefather Henry IV (see Henri, comte de Chambord). The boy was also baptized in the traditional way of B╚arn/Navarre, with a spoon of vinegar and some garlic, as had been done when Henry IV had been baptized in Pau, although this custom had not been followed by any Bourbon king after Henry IV.

      Today, while the rest of France marks the end of monarchist rule each year on Bastille Day, in Henry's birthplace of Pau, his reign as king of France is celebrated. It is a testament to the people's love and affection for Henry IV, whom the French people call 'le Grand' or 'The Great'.

      Additionally, Henry IV had at least 11 illegitimate children. [1]

      By Gabrielle d'Estr╚e:

      C╚sar de Bourbon, Duke of Vend┘me b.1594 1596(ligitimized) d.1665 married Fran┴oise of Mercoeur and had issue.
      In 1626, he participated in a plot against Cardinal Richelieu. He was captured and held in prison for three years. In 1641 he was accused of conspiracy again and this time fled to England.

      Catherine-Henriette de Bourbon b.1596 1598(legitimized) d,1663 married Charles of Guise-Lorraine, Duke of Elbeuf.
      Alexandre, Chevalier de Vend┘me b.1598 1599(legitimized) d.1629

      By Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil:

      Gaston Henri, Duc de Verneuil b.1601 1603(legitimized) d.1682 Married Charlotte Seguier, daughter of Pierre S╚guier, Duc de Villemor.
      Gabrielle Angelique, called Mademoiselle de Verneuil b.1603 d. 1627 Married Bernard de Nogaret de Foix, Duc de La Valette et d'Epernon.

      By Jacqueline de Bueil, Countess de Moret (1580-1651):

      Antoine, Count de Moret b.1607 1608(legitimed) d.1632 Abbot of St. Etienne

      By Charlotte des Essarts, Countess de Romorantin:

      Jeanne Baptiste b.1608 1608(legitimized) d. 1670 Abbess of Fontevrault.
      Marie Henriette b.1609 d.1629 Abbess of Chelles.
    Person ID I23107  Main Tree
    Last Modified 28 Oct 2019 

    Father Antoine Of NAVARRE,   b. 22 Apr 1518, La Fere, Picardie, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Nov 1562  (Age 44 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Jeanne III Of NAVARRE,   b. 07 Jan 1528,   d. 09 Jun 1572  (Age 44 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married 20 Oct 1548  [1
    Family ID F17506  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Maria DE'MEDICI,   b. 26 Apr 1573, Florence Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 03 Jul 1642, Cologne Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years) 
    Married Oct 1600  [1
     1. Louis XIII King Of FRANCE,   b. 27 Sep 1601,   d. 14 May 1643  (Age 41 years)  [Natural]
     2. Henrietta Maria Queen Of ENGLAND,   b. 25 Nov 1609,   d. 10 Sep 1669  (Age 59 years)  [Natural]
    +3. Christine Marie Duchess Of SAVOY,   b. 12 Feb 1606,   d. 27 Dec 1663  (Age 57 years)  [Natural]
     4. Gaston Duke Of ORLEANS,   b. 25 Apr 1608,   d. 02 Feb 1660  (Age 51 years)  [Natural]
     5. Elizabeth Queen Of SPAIN,   b. 22 Nov 1602,   d. 06 Oct 1644  (Age 41 years)  [Natural]
     6. Nicholas Henry Duke Of ORLEANS,   b. 16 Apr 1607,   d. 17 Nov 1611  (Age 4 years)  [Natural]
    Family ID F17449  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Marguerite DE VALOIS,   b. 14 May 1553,   d. 27 Mar 1615  (Age 61 years) 
    Married 18 Aug 1572  [1
    Annulled 1599  [1
    Family ID F17505  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S03581] Wikipedia Encyclopedia.