Catherine of Navarre bigraphy, stories - Queen of Navarre

Catherine of Navarre : biography

1468 - 12 February 1517

Catherine (in Spanish, Catalina de Foix) (1468 – 12 February 1517) was Queen of Navarre (1483–1517), duchess of Gandia, Montblanc, and Peñafiel, countess of Foix, Bigorre, and Ribagorza, and viscountess of Béarn.


Catherine's ancestors in three generations
Catherine of Navarre Father:Gaston of Foix, Prince of Viana Paternal Grandfather:Gaston IV of Foix Paternal Great-grandfather:John I, Count of Foix
Paternal Great-grandmother:Joan of Albret
Paternal Grandmother:Eleanor of Navarre Paternal Great-grandfather:John II of Aragon
Paternal Great-grandmother:Blanche I of Navarre
Mother:Magdalena of Valois Maternal Grandfather:Charles VII of France Maternal Great-grandfather:Charles VI of France
Maternal Great-grandmother:Isabeau of Bavaria
Maternal Grandmother:Marie of Anjou Maternal Great-grandfather:Louis II of Naples
Maternal Great-grandmother:Yolande of Aragon


She and John III 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).The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol.13, (New York:1910), 293.
  • 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.


Catherine was the younger daughter of Gaston of Foix, Prince of Viana, and Magdalena of Valois, the sister of Louis XI. She was thus granddaughter of Eleanor of Navarre.

In 1483 the death of her brother Francis Phoebus made her queen under the regency of her mother. Her uncle John of Foix, appealing to the Salic Law, which had never been applied in Navarre, claimed the throne and ignited a civil war (1483–1492) that reignited the old Beaumontese-Agromontese conflict. In 1484, Catherine married John of Albret. Her mother acted as her regent until 1494, when she was taken hostage by the king of Castile.

In 1504, the death of her mother as the hostage of Ferdinand the Catholic, Catherine's granduncle, in Medina del Campo provoked new wars between the Navarrese and the count of Lerín (1506–1508).

The political alliance between the houses of Valois and Foix led to marriage negotiations between Catherine and Louis XII. It was suggested that Henry, prince of Viana, first son and heir presumptive of Catherine, marry a daughter of the French king. These were the negotiations which led Ferdinand the Catholic to send the Duke of Alba to conquer Pamplona in 1512. On 25 July 1512, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, occupied Pamplona. The royal family fled to refuge in France.

On 23 March 1513, the Cortes of Navarre, reunited in Pamplona, proclaimed Ferdinand King of Navarre. Since then, Upper Navarre has been an integral part of Spain.

All subsequent attempts by Catherine and John III to reassemble their kingdom were futile. From 1513 to her death in 1517, Catherine was Queen in Basse-Navarre, or Lower Navarre, north of the Pyrenees, alone.

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