Were there 16th and 17th century royal Protestant / Catholic marriages other than of English kings?


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Charles I's, Charles II's wives and James II's second wife were Roman Catholic. Because Charles I and James II were perceived as trying to make Britain Roman Catholic, the Royal Marriage Act of 1701 banned marriage to Roman Catholics. Were there any royal Protestant / Catholic marriages in other countries?
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Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
Our king Willem I married a Belgian catholic, but he abdicated to do so. It was a bigger mess than Wallis Simpson, though you would never know as the press wasn't as nasty as in later times.
First offense was that she was Belgian (we just lost Belgium).
The second was that she was catholic and since the Oranges were sort of protectors of the protestant faith, that didn't sit well at all.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
So I don't see any other similar examples. I assume that in England they considered Lutheran as different as Catholic, and were OK with Catholic marriages initially. However, it seemed to result in kings trying to make the country Catholic, so it was prohibited.


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
Johan III of Sweden married the Polish princess Catherina Jagellonica, daughter of Stanislaw Jagiello, king of Poland. Admittedly Johan wasn't king then, not even in line for succession of the throne (required him and little brother Karl (IX), to depose and murders older brother Erik XIV (for reasons of insanity as claimed).

Neverheless Catharina was a Catholic, no attempt to change that was ever made, and their son Sigismund, heir to both the thrones of Poland and Sweden, was himself raised as a Catholic. Eventually his Catholicism, coupled with his political choice to try to base his power in Sweden in the support of the High Nobility, doomed him as king there. (Uncle Charles deposed him, citing his unacceptable Catholicism, and then cut the heads of all the heads of the High Nobility families at the 1597 "Linköping Bloodbath".) Sigismund had to return to Poland, and king it there, starting a century of dynastic feuding between the Lutheran kings of Sweden and Catholic kings of Poland.

The somewhat extraordinary situation was possible because Johan III of Sweden, while nominally a Protestant Lutheran prince, was actually personally extremely both interested in and knowledgeable of theology. What he wanted was to try to reach some kind of synthesis that would allow him to be king of a Sweden including both Protestants and Catholics. During his reign there was an extraordinary document in the form of "The Red Book" regulating Swedish church services. It was an attempt to cater to both directions. Needless to say everyone hated it, thought the king a fool, and wanted to be rid of his reasonable compromises so as to better be able to go after each one other hammer and tongs, for the salvation of the eternal souls, if not perishable bodies, of the other lot.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Johann Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Calenberg (1625-1679) converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. His daughter Wilhelmina (1673-1742) married the Catholic Emperor Joseph I (1678-1711), while Joseph's brother Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740) married Elizabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel (1991-1750) who had to convert from Lutheranism to Catholicism to marry the Emperor. So one of the imperial brothers did marry a former Protestant.
Jan 2013
Toronto, Canada
What was the normal states of the relationship in royal marriages between Protestants and Catholics?

Could they usually get along or were they permanently divided by religion?


Ad Honorem
Sep 2010
... Were there any royal Protestant / Catholic marriages in other countries?
Margaret of Valois to Henry of Navarre in 1572. Henry, being a Huguenot, waited outside during the mass at his wedding to Catholic Princess Margot. There was a really entertaining film made several years ago, based on the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre after the wedding. As with Henry's later conversion to Catholicism, many of these marriages probably ended in conversion or annulment.