Henry IV of France

King Henry IV of France

Profession: King


Biography: Henry IV was the first of the French Bourbon Kings, succeeding his cousin Henry III, the last of the Valois line in 1589. Before this he was King of Navarre, in South West France.

In 1572 Protestant Henry married his Catholic cousin Margaret of Valois to help solidify a peace between Catholic and Protestants during the French Wars of Religion. Instead it prompted the St Bartholomew's Day massacre. Instigated by Catholic leaders, it is likely more than 5,000 Huguenots were murdered and Henry himself only just escaped with his life.

Henry's succession to the throne of France continued to be contested by the Holy League before his succession and after. Henry only restored peace through various battles during which he showed strong leadership and courage and through his conversion to Catholicism in 1593.

The Edict of Nantes in 1598 finally established Catholicism as the official religion of France but crucially granted Protestants rights and freedoms.

To ensure an heir, Henry IV had his marriage to Margaret of Valois annulled and married instead Marie de Médicis, all the while maintaining an impressive list of mistresses.

Henry IV's reign was cut short by his assassination by a fanatical Roman Catholic in 1610.

Born: December 13, 1553
Birthplace: Pau, Kingdom of Navarre
Star Sign: Sagittarius

Died: May 14, 1610 (aged 56)
Cause of Death: Assassinated

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1572-08-18 Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV of France) marries Margaret of Valois in Notre Dame cathedral, Paris, in attempt to make truce between Catholics and Protestants but prompts St. Bartholomew's Day massacre days later
  • 1600-10-05 Marriage by proxy of Marie de' Medici and Henry IV of France
  • 1600-12-17 Religious wedding of Henry IV of France and Marie de' Medici at Lyon Cathedral

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