Nearly a Queen
This chapter is mainly concerned with the story of an acknowledged mistress of Henry IV, Gabrielle d'Estrees, who, unlike his wife Marguerite, who had often challenged her husband. Gabrielle shared Henry IV's cause and, as a result, nearly became the queen of France. Bearing him three children, she was the only woman able to keep Henry IV even remotely faithful. Gabrielle lived a vibrant life in a public setting and, like Marguerite, appears in contemporary memoirs as the spoiled, carefree young woman who evolved into the king's full personal and political partner. She grew in stature over the course of their relationship, so much so that it allowed Henry IV to present her as a proper queen even though she did not even possess the status, blood, or diplomatic standing of a princess.
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