How Don John Obtained His Information

September 20, 2018

Marguerite de Valois (1553-1615), also called Queen Margot, was wife of Henry IV of France and Queen of France and Navarre.

Queen Margot entered Namur on the 24th of July in a litter entirely made of glass, a present from D. John of Austria. The glass of the litter was engraved with forty verses in Spanish and Italian, all alluding to the sun and its effects, to which the poet gallantly compared the beautiful Queen. D. John rode on her right, and their persons were guarded by the forty archers who surrounded them; they were preceded by a company of arquebusiers on horseback and one hundred Germans forming two lines, and were followed by the Princess de la Roche sur Yonne and Mme. de Tournon in litters; ten maids of honour, as pretty, coquettish and flighty as their mistress, were riding amid a crowd of gentlemen, who waited on them and flirted with them; six coaches were in the rear with the rest of the ladies, and the female servants and an escort of lancers on horseback.

Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon, known as Mademoiselle de La Roche-sur-Yon.

Queen Margot stayed four days in Namur, entertained all the time magnificently by D. John; at eleven o’clock they dined in one of the delicious gardens of the place, and then danced till the hour of vespers, which they went devoutly to attend in some convent of friars. Then they went for a ride and supped at six o’clock, also out of doors in the gardens, when more dancing followed, or romantic walks by the river in the moonlight with delightful music. The Bishop of Liége, who had come there, was present at all these gatherings, also the Canons and a crowd of native and foreign gentlemen, among whom Margot made her treacherous propaganda, because this bad woman, (as she always was in many ways) was in connivance with the Prince of Orange, and was working secretly in favour of her brother the Duke of Alençon, whom Orange wished to appoint Governor of Flanders, D. John being a prisoner or dead.

Citadelle de Namur

Margot knew this, and she, being very much taken with him and not wishing any harm to befall him, gave him several very useful warnings; through her he knew that the conspirators of Brussels had plans for carrying out their evil designs there in Namur, and then it was that, in agreement with the loyal Count of Barlaimont and his sons, he resolved to retire to the castle of Namur and break with the States.

Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912), Book IV, Ch. XVI, pp. 378-379.

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 644



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