Henry IV , of France
b.13 Dec 1553 Pau (Canton Ouest), Basses-Pyrénées, Aquitaine, France
d.14 May 1610 Paris, Île-de-France, France
m. BEF 1609
Facts and Events
Henry IV (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610), Henri-Quatre, was King of Navarre (as Henry III) from 1572 to 1610 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first French monarch of the House of Bourbon.
Baptised a Catholic, he converted to Protestantism along with his mother Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre. He inherited the throne of Navarre in 1572 on the death of his mother. As a Huguenot, Henry was involved in the French Wars of Religion; he barely escaped assassination at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, and he later led Protestant forces against the royal army.
As a French Prince of the Blood by reason of his descent from King Louis XI, he ascended the throne of France upon the death of his childless cousin Henry III in 1589. In accepting the throne, he found it prudent to abjure his Calvinist faith. Regardless, his coronation was followed by a four-year war against the Catholic League to establish his legitimacy.
One of the most popular French kings, both during and after his reign, Henry showed great care for the welfare of his subjects. As a pragmatic politician, he displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the time. Notably, he enacted the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which guaranteed religious liberties to Protestants, thereby effectively ending the Wars of Religion. He was assassinated by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic.