Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues

Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil [katʁin ɑ̃ʁjɛt də balzak dɑ̃tʁaɡ maʁkiz də vɛʁnœj] (1579–1633) was the favourite mistress of Henry IV of France after Gabrielle d'Estrées died: her sister Marie-Charlotte de Balzac d’Entragues was also a mistress of the king. She was the daughter of Charles Balzac d'Entragues and his wife Marie Touchet, who was formerly the sole mistress of Charles IX of France.[1]

Henriette d'Entragues
Marquise de Verneuil
Portrait of Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues
ChildrenGaston Henri, Duc de Verneuil
Gabrielle Angelique, Mlle de Verneuil
Parent(s)Charles Balzac d'Entragues
Marie Touchet

Royal mistressEdit

Catherine Henriette de Balzac was raised at a time when women often sought to become a royal mistress to royalty, and her mother Marie had previously been a mistress to Charles IX before her birth.

Ambitious, pretty and intriguing, by her late teens she had succeeded in becoming a mistress to Henry IV. While Henry was still deeply grieving over the death of Gabrielle d'Estrées,[1][2] she induced him into a written promise to marry her. This led to bitter scenes of jealousy and arguing at the court when shortly afterwards Henry married Marie de' Medici instead.[1]

Terribly infuriated and feeling betrayed, she carried her spite so far as to be deeply compromised in a conspiracy against the king in 1608, but escaped with only a slight punishment after the plot was foiled,[3] and in 1608 Henry took her back into favour again as one of his mistresses.[4][5]

She was later involved in the Spanish intrigues which preceded the death of the King in 1610.[4] Upon the King's death, his wife, Marie de' Medici, was named Regent by Parliament, and immediately exiled Catherine from the royal court. She lived 23 years after Henri's death, until she died in 1633 at the age of 54.[6]


She had two children with the king:[7]

Name Birth Legitimized Death Notes
Gaston Henri, Duc de Verneuil 1601 1603 1682 Married Charlotte Seguier, daughter of Pierre Séguier, Duc de Villemor.
Gabrielle Angelique, called Mademoiselle de Verneuil 1603 1627 Married Bernard de Nogaret de Foix, Duc de La Valette et d'Épernon.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Singleton, Esther (1904) "Famous women as described by famous writers" p. 208
  2. ^ Singleton, Esther (1904). Famous women as described by famous writer (An e-book link to read). p. 208.
  3. ^ Roberts, William j (2004) "France: a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present (European Nations)" p. 272
  4. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ Singleton, Esther (1904). Famous women as described by famous writer (An e-book link to read). p. 212.
  6. ^ Herman, Eleanor (2005). Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge. "In Tears and Lamentations": William Morrow Paperbacks. p. 80. ISBN 0060585447.
  7. ^ Roberts, William J (2004). France: a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present (European Nations), An e-book link to read. Catherine Henriette de Balzac d' (1583-1633): Facts on File. p. 272. ISBN 0816044732.CS1 maint: location (link)

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues at Wikimedia Commons