Who was Joan I of Navarre?
Joan I was a female monarch who ruled as the queen regnant of Navarre from 1274 until 1305. She the only living child and the rightful heir of King Henry the Fat, commonly known as Henry I of Navarre. Joan I became the queen consort of France after her marriage with Philip IV of France. She also held the titles of the countess of Champagne and Brie. As an important member of the royal court, Joan I earned the respect of her husband who trusted her with greater administrative responsibilities. A lady of culture and admirer of arts, she called for educational and administrative reforms in Champagne. She is credited to have founded the prestigious College of Navarre in Paris in 1305. As a countess of Champagne, she even led an army against Henry III of Bar upon the latter rebelling against her kingdom. Joan I died at the young age of 32, allegedly in childbirth. However, many believe that the Bishop of Troyes, Guichard, killed her with witchcraft.
Childhood & Early Life
Joan I was born on January 14, 1273, in Bar-sur-Seine, Kingdom of France, to Henry I, King of Navarre, and Blanche of Artois. She was the only surviving child of King Henry I when he died, making her the rightful heir to the throne.
King Henry’s widowed queen, Blanche of Artois, became the guardian and was appointed to govern the kingdom as the queen, Joan I, was a minor. The absence of a strong ruler attracted many powerful rulers to take advantage of the situation.
Blanche had no other option but to seek protection to protect her daughter and the kingdom. They sought protection from Philip III of France at his court, where they arrived in 1274.
Joan I was just over a year old when the ‘Treaty of Orléans’ was signed between Blanche and King Philip III. According to the treaty, Joan I was betrothed to Louis, the eldest son of Philip III and his first wife, Isabella of Aragon. But within three years of the treaty, Louis died at the age of twelve and Joan I was betrothed to Philip the Fair (or Philip IV).
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Marriage With Philip IV & Becoming the Queen of France
Joan I and Philip IV grew up together in France and were very fond of each other. At the age of eleven, Joan I was married to Philip IV (he was sixteen at that time) in August 1284. Just over a year later, Philip III died, making Philip IV the king and Joan I the queen consort of France.
Joan I was described, in different documents, as a bold, promising, able, and courageous person. She became one of the most efficient people at the royal court as an excellent administrator.
Joan and Philip shared great bonding and were very close to each other. Philip didn’t like spending time away from his wife, and that became the major reason Joan I wasn’t present in Navarre much.
Joan I took part in many administrative works. Her love for arts and letters was well known.
Family & Personal Life
Joan I and King Philip IV had seven children, three daughters and four sons. Interestingly, three of her sons, Louis I of Navarre, Philip V, and Charles IV, ruled France and Navarre. Their fourth son was named Robert. One of their daughters, Isabella, married Edward II of England and became the queen of England.
Joan I died on 2 April 1305, at the age of 32. She allegedly died in childbirth. However, it was suspected the Bishop of Troyes, Guichard, killed her with witchcraft.