Although Scripture calls the Christian to spiritual warfare only, the physical, sword and firearm wars over religion and lands continued in France. The kingdom of Navarre, where Jeanne d’Albret ruled, remained safe from the battles for a time. As Navarre’s queen, she had helped the Huguenots and promoted the truths of the Reformed faith in her own lands and with her own money. She had proclaimed the land of Navarre to be a Protestant land. But she was increasingly hated by those who hated those Reformed truths. Even from Rome the Pope had taken notice of Jeanne and had called her a heretic. Yet, in the providence of God, Jeanne was protected from all these threats—for a time.
Another person much hated for helping and leading the Huguenots was Louis de Bourbon, also known as the Prince of Condé. Louis had helped Jeanne escape out of Paris several years ago, and now the Prince of Condé was in need of help himself. He had heard of a plot to have him arrested, so he and his family went to a city called La Rochelle for refuge. La Rochelle was not only a strong city, it was the most Protestant city in France, and therefore, it was the safest place for him to be in right now.
Jeanne was determined to help him. If the prince was in trouble, the whole of the Huguenot cause was in critical danger. But how could she help? She had a country to govern, and she could be arrested and captured outside of Navarre herself.
Jeanne set things in order in Navarre, putting trusted and capable men at the head of her government and military. Then she planned her trip to La Rochelle. After partaking in the Lord’s Supper one Sunday morning, she and her children quietly left for La Rochelle. Armed men of Navarre joined them along the way to help them on the journey. But the trip was not without detection. Again, she was pursued, and again, she and her hosts, nevertheless, came to their destination safely.
The town of La Rochelle was ready. News had spread there, too. The people cheered and the Prince of Condé rode out to meet them. It was a great encouragement to see the Queen of Navarre and her troops arrive!
But much work needed to be done. The times were, indeed, critical. Henry was now fifteen years old, and was growing into a fine young man. Because his father had been closest in line to the throne of France, so now was he. The Prince of Condé, his Uncle Louis, held the reins of the army out to him. But Jeanne intervened.
“No,” she said, “I and my son are here to promote the success of this great enterprise or to share its disaster. We will joyfully unite under the standard of Condé. The cause of God is dearer to me than my son.”
So Condé led the army, and Jeanne governed the town and worked in foreign affairs. She sent to Queen Elizabeth in England for help, which help that queen sent in gold and arms. Queen Elizabeth also welcomed many Huguenot refugees into England.
All was set for the defense of La Rochelle and the Huguenots there.