Gaston a skilful and innovative politician. He found himself the heir to two entirely different estates.
The Comte of Bearn is close to the Atlantic coast and is bordered on the south by the independent Nation of Navarre. The Comte of Foix is close to the Mediterranean and is bordered to the South by Aragon.
By these inheritances, he finds himself in the potentially difficult circumstances of owing fealty to the King of England for Bearn and the King of the Franks for Foix.
In fact, he turns this situation to his own advantage playing one King off against the other to create for himself, something approximating to complete independence.
He has a plan to lift his status of Duke and has come to believe this can best be achieved by switching his allegiance totally to the English crown. To this end, he has decided to marry his ward Ximene Trencavel to the Black Prince, heir to the English throne.