[Durand of Champagne presents Queen Joan with the Speculum Dominarum, 14th century, source: Wikimedia Commons]
Juana was the daughter of Enrique I and Blanche of Artois. At the time of her birth, the likelihood of her becoming Queen was relatively small. Though her uncle Teobaldo II had died on the Second Crusade, she still had a brother who would inherit before her and her father was young enough to live a while yet anyway. But both her brother and father died within two years of each other,* leaving the infant Juana as Queen of Navarre and her mother as regent.
Blanche, rather than face four different kings itching to gobble up Navarre into their kingdoms, fled to the protection of one of them: Phillip III of France. Juana would never return to Navarre, which would instead be ruled by deputies of the King of France, a move that was not at all popular with the Navarrese, who blamed the king and held Juana blameless. Instead, she married the future Phillip VI when she was 11, becoming queen a year later. The two were very close.
Juana was not a very politically active queen. She had no say in the government of Navarre. She did, however, take her position as the ruling Countess of Champagne very seriously, on one occasion raising an army to beat back Count of Bar’s invasion. She was also active in areas other than politics. She took a keen interest in religion in particular, founding churches in both France and Navarre. She also involved herself in matters concerning the Inquisition in the Languedoc (now southern France), using her influence to get a royal audience for the agitator Bernard Delicieux and the wives of men wrongfully imprisoned as Cathars.
Juana and Phillip had several children together. In 1294, Phillip named her regent should he die before her. This was not to be. Juana died before her husband in 1305, probably in childbirth.
*Her brother from accidental defenestration (i.e. falling out a window**) and her father from, apparently, choking on his own fat.
**I just really wanted to use the phrase “accidental defenestration.”
Woodacre, Elena. The Queens Regnant of Navarre: Succession, Politics and Partnership 1274-1512. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
O'Shea, Stephen. The Friar of Carcassonne: Revolt against the Inquisition in the Last Days of the Cathars. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011.