*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***

It is the 9th of June 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org, I’m Dan van Voorhis.

There seems to be a particular blind spot (at least in my modern American context) to historic female leaders and heads of state. “Oh, if we only, and finally, had a woman in charge!” And for those steeped in the history of the 16th century, it seems particularly strange to act as if a woman has never run a state, cracked skulls, and (in some cases) fought for the church.

  • Elizabeth I , Mary I of England (Tudor -Bloody Mary)
  • Mary I of Scotland (Stuart- Mary Queen of Scots) mother of James I/VI
  • Mary of Guise (mother of Mary I and Queen Regent)
  • Joanna of Castile (or, “the Mad”)- Mother of Charles V
  • Mary of Austria (sister of Charles V)
  • Margaret of Parma, regent of the Netherlands (daughter of Charles V)
  • Catherine De Medici (of the De Medici’s!) regent of Henry II of France. Mother of kings Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III.

And then there was the rival to Catherine De Medici- the Princess and later Queen of Navarre, Jeanne d’Albret. Perhaps she is new to you, perhaps you wonder where Navarre is and why she is so important. Here are 5 things to know:

1. Navarre is, or was, a small kingdom in the Pyrenees between Spain and France. It was an important buffer between Spain and France.

2. Jeanne D’ Albret was from the very significant Albret family which dates its exploits back to the Middle Ages and the First Crusade. Jeanne’s father was (obviously) the King of Navarre but her uncle was Francis I, king of France.

3. Her father wanted her to marry Phillip of Spain for dynastic reasons while her uncle, the French King wanted her to marry the (very wealthy) Duke of Cleves. She married the Duke but the marriage ended 4 years. King Francis died and his son arranged a new marriage with Jean and Antoine D’Bourbon. The couple would produce Henri who would later become King Henri III of France.

4. In 1555 Jean’s father died and she became Queen of Navarre. This put her near the center of French politics which were increasingly torn apart over the question of the Reformation.

5. In 1560 while attending the wedding of Mary Stuart to the French Dauphin she attended a Reformed service and had a conversion experience. The last 12 years of her life were consumed with both establishing Calvinism in her kingdom and arranging for the ascension of her son, the first of the Bourbons to the throne.

Jeanne D’ Albret died on the 9th of June in 1574. Born in 1528, Queen Jeanne was 43 years old.

The Last Word for today comes from the Gospel of John, the 12th chapter

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 9th of June 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.

The show is produced by a man whose favorite Jeanne’s/Jean’s include Albret, Reno, and Van Damme. He is Christopher Gillespie.

The show is written and read by a man just one year younger the Jeanne De’ Albret but without even 1 arranged royal marriage for either of his sons. I am Dan van Voorhis.

You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.