Ferdinand, King of Navarre, is not the most dedicated monarch in the world, preferring to hide away and study for three years instead of taking care of his kingdom.
He even risks insulting his powerful neighbor, France, for the sake of his own pleasure and convenience. He hopes to make his realm an intellectual powerhouse, and as he shares his century’s opinion of women, he bans them from the court, fearing that they will distract his courtiers from their studies. In that he is quite correct, for the mere appearance of the Princess of France suffices to stop all thought of study, including from the King himself, who falls for her the moment he sees her. Though a great lover of language, he is unaware that he is a terrible writer, and hopes to woo the lady with poetry. He attempts to shame Longaville and Dumaine when he discovers they have broken their oath, but is quickly put in his place by Berowne. For all that he regards Berowne as a great mocker, he is one himself, so far as his dignity allows, and enjoys the opportunity to take him down a peg or too for falling in love with an unfashionably dark-complexioned woman. The King realizes that love is a serious thing when the Princess, now Queen, commands him to go to a hermitage for a year, and accepts to do so. How exactly the kingdom is to be run in his absence is not revealed.