John III of Navarre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John III
King of Navarre
with Catherine
Reign 1484 – 14 June 1516
Predecessor Catherine
Successor Catherine
Born 1469
Died 14 June 1516 (aged 46–47)
Spouse Catherine, Queen of Navarre
Issue Henry II of Navarre
Isabella, Viscountess of Rohan
House Albret
Father Alain I of Albret
Mother Frances of Châtillon-Limoges

John III (French: Jean d'Albret; 1469 – 14 June 1516) was jure uxoris King of Navarre from 1484 until his death, as husband and co-ruler with Queen Catherine.

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

King of Navarre

Marriage to Queen Catherine and accession to the throne

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, but his rule was marked by the guardianship of Catherine's mother Magdalena de Valois up to 1494—she died in 1495—and persistent diplomatic and military pressure of Ferdinand II of Aragon over the Crown of Navarre, supported on the ground by the Beaumont party of Navarre.

He and Catherine were crowned as monarchs in Pamplona on 10 January 1494. In the run-up to the ceremony, Louis of Beaumont—count of Lerín—had taken over and ransacked the stronghold. On Christmas 1493, the count blocked the access of the king and queen to the capital city, but after a fleeting peace agreement was reached, the ceremony was held. In the week-long festival following the crowning ceremony, John III and his father are referred to in Basque language verses as Labrit, their usual naming in Navarre—also at Olite in 1493, document written in Romanic language.

The kingdom invaded

In 1512, Navarre was invaded by a combined Castilian-Aragonese 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 nominally as an autonomous kingdom (aeque principalis) by the victorious Ferdinand after taking an oath to respect the Navarrese laws and institutions (1515).

The royal family took shelter in Béarn, a royal Pyrenean domain and principality contiguous to Lower Navarre. The Parliament of Navarre and the States-General of Béarn had passed in 1510 a bill to create a confederation with a view to ensuring a better defence against external aggression. The capital city of Béarn was Pau, which John III and Catherine took as their main base along with Orthez and Tarbes in their last period.

Reconquest attempt and death

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, but the total figure of combatants amounted to no more than several hundreds.[2]:59 The advance of the two columns led by Pedro, Marshal 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 the castle of Esgouarrabaque in Monein, Béarn, on 14 June 1516 after lying gripped by fatal fevers.[2]:60 Up to the last moment he struggled to get Navarre back from the Spanish, urging his wife, Queen Catherine, to send a representative to the Cortes of Castile to demand the restoration of the kingdom of Navarre.[2]:60 Despite his wish to be buried at the Santa Maria 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.


He and Queen Catherine of Navarre were parents to thirteen children—other sources point to fourteen:[2]:76

  • Anne (19 May 1492 – 15 August 1532)
  • Magdalena (29 March 1494 – May 1504)
  • Catherine (1495 – November 1532), abbess of the Trinity at Caen
  • Joan (15 June 1496 – last mentioned in November 1496)
  • Quiteria (1499 – September/October 1536), abbess at Montivilliers
  • a stillborn son in 1500
  • Andrew Phoebus (14 October 1501 – 17 April 1503)
  • Henry II (18 April 1503 – 25 May 1555), King of Navarre[3]
  • Buenaventura (14 July 1505 – 1510/1511)
  • Martin (c. 1506 – last mentioned in 1512)
  • Francis (1508 – last mentioned in 1512)
  • Charles (12 December 1510 – September 1528), captured during the Siege of Naples and died as a prisoner of war
  • Isabella (1513/1514 – last mentioned in 1555), married to Rene I, Viscount of Rohan


16. Charles I of Albret
8. Charles II of Albret
17. Marie de Sully
4. Jean I of Albret
18. Bernard VII of Armagnac
9. Anne of Armagnac
19. Bonne de Berry
2. Alain I of Albret
20. Alain VIII de Rohan -1372
10. Alain IX de Rohan c. 1382-1462
21. Béatrix de Clisson -1448
5. Catherine de Rohan c. 1425-1471
22. Jean IV le Vaillant Ou L'Anglophile de Dreux 1340-1399
11. Marguerite de Dreux, dame de Guillac 1392-1428
23. Jeanne d'Evreux 1370-1437
1. John III of Navarre
24. Charles le Bienheureux de Châtillon 1319-1364
12. Jean Ier de Châtillon 1347-1404
25. Jeanne Ière la Boiteuse de Dreux 1319-1384
6. Guillaume de Châtillon 1400-1455
26. Olivier V Alias le Connétable de Clisson de Clisson 1336-1407
13. Marguerite de Clisson c. 1366-1441
27. Catherine Béatrix de Laval-Chateaubriant c. 1295-1347
3. Frances of Châtillon-Limoges -1481
28. Bertrand IV de la Tour d'Auvergne -1423
14. Bertrand V de la Tour d'Auvergne -1461
29. Marie d'Auvergne 1370-1437
7. Isabelle de la Tour d'Auvergne 1422-1488
30. Louis Brun du Peschin
15. Jacquette Brun du Peschin -1473
31. Ysoul de Sully


  1. ^ Harris 1994, p. 189.
  2. ^ a b c d Bustillo Kastrexana, Joxerra (2012). Guía de la conquista de Navarra en 12 escenarios. Donostia: Txertoa Argitaletxea. ISBN 978-84-71484819.
  3. ^ Vernier 2008, p. 4.


  • Harris, Robin (1994). Valois Guyenne: A Study of Politics, Government, and Society in Late Medieval France. The Boydell Press.
  • Vernier, Richard (2008). Lord of the Pyrenees: Gaston Fébus, Count of Foix (1331-1391). The Boydell Press.

External links

John III of Navarre
Born: 1469 Died: June 14 1516
Regnal titles
Preceded by
as sole queen
King of Navarre
Count of Foix

1484 – 14 June 1516
with Catherine
Succeeded by
as sole queen
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "John III of Navarre"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA