Catherine Henrietta De Balzac D' Entragues, marchioness de Verneuil, a mistress of Henry IV., born in Orleans in 1579, died in Paris, Feb. 9, 1633. She was a daughter of Francois de Balzac d'Entragues by his second marriage with Marie Touchet, a former mistress of Charles IX. After the death of Gabrielle d'Estrees (1599) she became the mistress of Henry IV., who presented her with 500,000 francs and signed a contract to marry her in the event of her bearing him a son, which he renewed Oct. 1, 1599, after having cancelled it at the instance of his minister Sully. But her miscarriage in July, 1600, prompted him to marry Marie de' Medici. He compensated his mistress by making her marchioness de Verneuil; but she insisted upon remaining in the Louvre, making herself obnoxious to the king, and especially to the queen. She long declined to give up his written pledge to marry her, but finally returned it in July, 1604, in consideration of the payment of 100,000 francs. But instead of carrying out her promise of going to England, she remained in France conspiring against the king, involving in her scheme her father and her half brother, the count d'Auvergne, who were sentenced to death Feb. 1, 1605, but pardoned through her continued influence over Henry IV. She was herself almost immediately released from prison, and it was even asserted that the king again took her for a short period as his mistress, until she was supplanted by a new rival.
The testimony of a maid of honor of the queen implicated her in 1610 in the assassination of the king; but this lady (Mlle, de Coman) was imprisoned for life for perjury, while the marchioness spent her remaining years in affluence on her estates. She bore two children to Henry IV., who were both legitimated: Gabrielle An- gelique, who married the duke d'Epernon, and died in 1627; and Gaston Henri de Verneuil, born in 1601, who was nominated bishop of Metz while still a layman, but never received episcopal consecration, was created a duke and peer, married a daughter of Chancellor Seguier, and died in 1682. - See De Lescure, Les amours d'Henri IV. (Paris, 1863).