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Henri IV - An unfinished reign


Antoine de Bourbon


Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme (1537), duc de Beaumont (1550), king of Navarre (1555) and duc d’Albret (1556), was the father of Henri IV.

Head of the House of Bourbon at the age of 19, he married Jeanne d’Albret in 1548. The outbreak of religious strife brought to the fore his wavering and timid character in his political and religious choices. Between 1557 and his death, Antoine vacillated between support for the Protestant and Catholic sides, while all the time cherishing the hope of one day recovering the southern part of his kingdom of Navarre, which had been seized by Spain in the early 16th century. Felled by a bullet from an arquebus at Rouen in the first War of Religion, Antoine de Bourbon died on 17 November 1562.

Portrait of Antoine de Bourbon
© RMN / René Gabriel Ojéda
Antoine de Bourbon, king of Navarre (1518-1562), miniature on enamel, by Léonard Limosin, 16th c. Musée Condé de Chantilly

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