Gabrielle D'estrees: Mistress Of King Henry IV Of France

Gabrielle D'Estrees became King Henry IV's mistress when she was 20 years old.

Gabrielle D'Estrees was a descendant of one of the noblest houses in Picardy. she was born in 1571 and died april 10, 1599. Gabrielle was about twenty years old when she met Henry IV for the first time. She met him at the chateau of Coeuvres, where she lived with her family.

Gabrielle was a beauty with a flawless complexion. She had blue eyes, golden hair, and her whole presence beamed with intelligence, gentleness and grace.

She inspired the French monarch with a violent passion, which, however, did not interrupt her relation with her lover, the Duke of Bellegarde. Even though Gabrielle had another lover, Henry still pursued her, often dressing as a peasant in order to see her. Being moved with such ardor and devotion, she became his mistress.

To escape the severe scrutiny of her father, Henry married her to a nobleman named M. de Liancourt, as a nominal husband, and subsequently raised her to the rank of Marchioness of Monceaux. In 1595 she was then raised to Duchess of Beaufort. At the same time, he lavished riches upon her, so much so that at the time of her death she possessed more than twelve estates.

Henry would have divorced himself from Margaret of Valois, his legitimate wife, in order to raise Gabrielle to the position of Queen of France, but Gabrielle could not cope with the influence his friend and aide had over him. She had three children by the King: Caesar, Alexander, and Catharine Henrietta.

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