Wars of Religion
Before ascending the throne, Henry IV had won renown as the leader of the Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. After being recognized by Henry III as his legitimate heir on the eve of his death, Henry of Navarre came to the throne of France as Henry IV. The new king, a Bourbon, had to defend his right to the crown against the Catholic League, which appealed to Philip II of Spain for help and planned to place the Capetian crown on the head of the Infanta Isabella. The civil war of religion degenerated into a foreign war as Spanish troops who had marched into France to support the Catholics, camped at Paris and Rouen (1590-1591). Henry IV, aware that the opposing armies were exhausted, chose to recant his Calvinist faith. On 25 July 1593, he solemnly renounced Protestantism in the Basilica of Saint Denis and on 27 February 1594 Henry IV was crowned in the Cathedral of Chartres. His entrance into Paris on 22 March 1594 and finally the absolution he received from Pope Clement VIII on 17 September 1595, ensured that the nobility as a whole as well as the rest of the population, gradually rallied to his cause.