JOAN OF NAVARRE, QUEEN OF ENGLAND

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Joan of Navarre, also known as Joanna was the Duchess consort of Brittany by marriage to John IV, Duke of Brittany. She later became the queen of England by marriage to King Henry IV of England. She was the daughter of King Charles II of Navarre and Joan of France.

Joan married her first husband on 2 October 1386, John IV, Duke of Brittany. She was the third wife and the only one who bore him children. They had nine children: Isabelle of Brittany, John V of Brittany, Marie of Brittany, Marguerite of Brittany, Arthur III Duke of Brittany, Gilles of Brittany, Richard of Brittany and Blanche of Brittany.

Joan was made her son’s guardian and the Regent of Brittany upon the death of John IV, his father and her husband, on 1 November 1399. Shortly afterwards she was given a marriage proposal by Henry IV and on 7 February 1403, Joan married Henry IV at Winchester cathedral. She held a formal entry to London, where she was crowned Queen of England and was described as beautiful, gracious and majestic.

Joan and Henry had no children, but she is recorded to having a good relationship with Henry’s children from his first marriage. In 1413 her husband died, succeeded by her step son Henry V.  Joan was entrusted with the post of Regent of England during his absence in France in 1415. However Henry V brought her son Arthur of Brittany with him as a prisoner.  Joan tried to have her son released to no avail and this ruined her relationship with Henry V.

In 1419, she was accused of having hired two magicians to use witchcraft to poison the king.  Her large fortune was confiscated after her imprisonment in Pevensey castle in Sussex, England. She was later released in 1422, upon the order of Henry V on his deathbed.

Her fortune was returned to her, and she lived the rest of her life quietly and comfortably with her own court at Nottingham Castle, through Henry V’s reign and into that of his son,  Henry IV.  She died at Havering-atte-bower in Essex, and she was buried at Canterbury cathedral next to Henry IV.