This panel is consistent in quality with work that emanated from the workshop of François Clouet, in circa 1560 (see, for example, the Portrait of Marguerite, duchesse de Savoie in the Galleria Sabauda, Turin). The same pose and position of the sitter's head was frequently employed by Clouet and his studio in their portraits of French Royalty and nobility of the time. The sitter's costume would also support this approximate dating (see Clouet's black and red chalk drawing of circa 1560 of Madame de Piennes in the British Museum, Salting collection in E. Jollet, Jean and François Clouet, Paris, 1997, p. 86).
By comparison with Clouet's portrait of her at Chantilly, this picture can plausibly be identified as representing Jeanne d'Albret. Jeanne was the only daughter of Jean II d'Albret, King of Navarre and of Queen Marguerite of France. When she was thirteen, her uncle King François I had her married reluctantly to his ally the duc de Cleves, a marriage that was annulled four years later. In 1548, she married the now twenty-year-old Jeanne to Antoine de Borbon, duc de Vendôme, 'first prince of the blood' and heir to the French throne if no legitimate sons were available to succeed the Valois King. On the death of Jeanne's father, she and Antoine became rulers of Navarre and Béarn, an area that had become a refuge for French Calvinists or Huguenots, of whom Jeanne became a fervent supporter. In 1562, with Charles IX now on the French throne, Antoine, who had aligned himself with the Catholic cause, died of wounds suffered at the Siege of Rouen, leaving Jeanne as sole ruler of her lands in the Southwest. She immediately made Calvinism the state religion of Béarn and began to put Navarre under Calvinist civil and military control.
In 1570, after a protracted war against the Catholics, Jeanne made peace with Catherine de Médici (Charles IX's mother), and agreed to the marriage of her son Henri (late King Henri IV) to Catherine's youngest daughter, Marguerite de Valois, as she saw it as the best hope for her son and the Protestant cause. She died in 1572, two months before the wedding and the massacre of Huguenots on Saint Bartholomew's Eve that followed it.