A Royal House (3)

How matters may change in the affairs of men and in the providence of God. Jeanne d’Albret’s kingdom, and all French Huguenots, were in serious danger. The new sixteen-year-old king of France, Francis II, had almost been overthrown. Some Huguenots had been involved in the plot. Now the powerful Catholic men in the court of the young king were determined to use this opportunity to destroy all Hugeunots and the Reformed faith once and for all. In only a few days—Christmas Day, 1560 to be exact—anyone who refused to be Catholic could be legally killed. Victory was in their grasp! But all days are in the hand of the Lord. The young king suddenly became sick and died on December 9. He died before any harm could come to anyone. The plan could not be carried out. This plot, too, had failed.

In Jeanne’s great distress over these events, she had prayed to God. On Christmas Day, 1560, instead of the Reformed faith being destroyed, Jeanne was at a council where she openly confessed her faith in those Reformed doctrines. No longer would she merely help the Huguenots, now she would be one of them. Things had changed for Jeanne, the Queen of Navarre.

But things had changed for the queen in other ways, too. Her husband, Antoine, had refused to attend any sort of Catholic worship with Jeanne all the while they had been married. Now, after being arrested for his possible involvement in the plan to overthrow young Francis II, Antoine had been persuaded to return to the Catholic faith. He was on the side of the Catholic party now. He had friends in the Catholic French court. Jeanne and Antoine were no longer one in belief. It was a difficult time for the queen.

Antoine ordered her to join him in Paris and bring ten-year-old Henry along. Antoine wanted to persuade her to become Catholic, even as he had been persuaded himself. She was reluctant to go. She needed to stay in the castle at Pau and attend to matters of government there. Navarre needed her. But finally she knew she must go. She was a queen, but he was a king. And, being older than his brother Louis, Antoine was actually in the blood line closest to the throne of France. She joined him there.

Both Antoine and the very Roman Catholic Queen Mother of France tried to persuade Jeanne to attend a Catholic mass. Jeanne would not budge. Henry dearly loved his mother, and he refused to go to mass as well. Jeanne could stay in Paris no longer. There was no more point to her visit, and there was danger mounting for her besides.

She bid farewell to her husband. Henry was ordered to stay behind with his father, but Jeanne made him promise to never go to a Catholic mass. It was a difficult, tearful, good-bye.

She did not know it would be her final good-bye to her husband. The walls of the royal house at Pau would never see him return again.