On this day, 2 April, in the year 1305, Jeanne de Navarre died. She was my 22nd great-grandmother.
Born on 14 January 1273, in the Champagne region of France, Jeanne was the daughter of Henri “le Gros” de Navarre and Blanche d’Artois.
Sadly, she never had the opportunity to know her father, as he died on 22 July 1274; Jeanne was only a year and a half old.
Upon the death of her father, Jeanne became Countess of Champagne and queen regnant of Navarre. Her mother served as her guardian and regent in Navarre. Various powers, both foreign and local, sought to take advantage of the minority of the heiress and the perceived weakness of the female regent; consequently, her mother sought protection at the court of Philip III of France.
In 1274, Blanche and young Jeanne arrived in France. In 1275, by the Treaty of Orléans, Jeanne was betrothed to the king’s son, and Blanche placed both her daughter and Navarre under the protection of Philip III of France.
On 16 August 1284, at the age of 11, Joan married Philip IV of France.
Then, in 1285, upon the death of Philip III, Jeanne became the queen consort of France. Together, Philip IV and Jeanne had Margaret; Louis X; Blanche; Philip V; Charles IV; Isabella (my 21st great-grandmother); and Robert.
As Queen of France, Jeanne secured the succession, was an efficient mistress of the royal court, and was a dignified first lady. She also purportedly had an exceptional relationship with her husband. The couple was close, and Philip IV was reported to have loved and respected Jeanne deeply.
In 1294, Philip IV appointed Jeanne as Regent of France should their son succeed him as a minor.
Although Jeanne did not have influence over the affairs of France, she was in charge of Navarre and Champagne. She ruled Navarre and Champagne differently, however.
Jeanne never visited Navarre; it was ruled in her stead by governors who had been appointed by her father-in-law or her husband. Unfortunately, these governors were extremely unpopular with the citizens of Navarre, and Jeanne’s absence from the country was resented by some. From afar, edicts were issued in her name, coins were struck in her image, and protection was rendered to religious institutions.
Unlike Navarre, Jeanne governed Champagne more directly. This might have been because Champagne was wealthier and more strategically important than Navarre. Although Philip IV appointed her administrators, Jeanne visited Champagne regularly and is recorded to have participated in all duties as an active independent ruler. For example, in 1297, Jeanne led an army against the Count of Bar, who had invaded Champagne. Jeanne also acted against Bishop Guichard of Troyes, whom she accused of having stolen funds from Champagne.
On 2 April, 1305, Jeanne de Navarre died in Vincennes, France. The cause of death might have been childbirth.