translated by Allen Williamson

Joan of Arc's Letter to the King of Navarre

Joan of Arc's Letter to the King of Navarre
(Unknown date in 1429)

In the index of the archives of the Parliament of Le Nain, there is a brief reference to a letter which was dictated by Joan of Arc to the "King of Navarre" in 1429. The contents are unknown, as the index refers to a document which no longer exists, or at least has never been located.1

Navarre was a small kingdom in the Pyrenees which had long been a vassal-state of France. At the beginning of the series of conflicts now known as the Hundred Years War, Navarre had been ruled by Queen Juana (Jeanne) II, daughter of Louis X of France, although her son Charles II pursued a shifting and turbulent series of policies which often made him the enemy of the French Crown. His heir Charles III ("the Noble") ushered in a more stable government from 1387 until his death in 1425.

When Joan of Arc's letter was sent in 1429, Navarre was essentially under a joint rulership. Upon the death of Charles III, his daughter Blanca II inherited the throne and subsequently ruled alongside her husband Juan II, technically a "prince consort" but effectively a co-monarch. Their young son Don Carlos (aged eight in 1429) was the heir.

If one were to make an educated guess about the contents of the letter, it seems logical that Joan of Arc was likely asking for military assistance from France's vassal, although she may have been announcing recent victories as in some of her letters to loyal French cities, or perhaps responding to a previous request from the government of Navarre. There were other cases of 'foreign' correspondence with Joan of Arc, such as a letter from Bona Visconti asking Joan to help regain the Duchy of Milan in Italy.

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