Category Archives: Scottish Royals

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

The third and last husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell was born about 1534 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the only son and the eldest of the two children of Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Earl of Bothwell and Agnes Sinclair, daughter of Henry Sinclair, 3rd Lord Sinclair.

Bothwell had one sister:

After Bothwell’s parents divorced in 1543, he was sent to be educated by his great-uncle Patrick Hepburn, Bishop of Moray at Spynie Palace, the seat of the Bishops of Moray. Bothwell was fluent in English and French. He had a special interest in mathematics and in the works of ancient and contemporary authors writing about the strategies of war. In September 1556, Bothwell’s father died and he succeeded him as 4th Earl of Bothwell and as well as Lord High Admiral of Scotland.

Spynie Palace; Photo Credit – By Bill Reid – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:David%27s_tower.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7456451

In 1547, when she was five years old, Mary, Queen of Scots went to France to be raised with her future husband, the future François II, King of France. Although a Protestant, Bothwell loyally served Marie of Guise. Marie was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots and served as regent in Mary’s absence, as regent.  She was extremely capable and set out to bring justice, peace, and prosperity to her adopted country. However, she did have to contend with the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. In 1559, John Knox, leader of the Scottish Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, started his fiery sermons, encouraging people to destroy images and desecrate churches. Soon, the entire country was on the verge of a civil war.

On October 31, 1559, Bothwell intercepted funds which Queen Elizabeth I had sent from England to support the Protestant rebels in Scotland. This action made him the life-long enemy of James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, Mary’s (illegitimate) Protestant half-brother and other members of the Lords of the Congregation, a group of Protestant Scottish nobles who favored a reformation of the church according to Protestant principles and a Scottish-English alliance. In retaliation, later that same year, Crichton Castle, one of Bothwell’s principal castles was laid to ruin by Protestant lords. Bothwell remained loyal to Marie of Guise and was entrusted by her to travel to Denmark and ask King Frederik II for help. From there he was to go to France to obtain additional French troops and to meet with François II, King of France and his wife, Marie’s daughter Mary, Queen of Scots.

While in Denmark, Bothwell met Anna Thorndsen, the daughter of daughter of Kristoffer Throndsen, a famous 16th-century Norwegian admiral. Bothwell and Anna were married by handfasting, the ancient word for a wedding, which was traditionally recognized as a binding contract of marriage between a man and a woman and was a legal form of marriage in Denmark and Norway at that time. Anna then traveled with Bothwell to the Netherlands. He promptly used up her dowry and then left her. Later she traveled to Scotland to find him, but there was no reconciliation. There is an old Scottish ballad “Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament,” in which the singer sings a lullaby to her baby son and recalls how his father seduced her and then left her. This could be a reference to Anna. Some historians believe Anna was the mother of the Bothwell’s illegitimate son William Hepburn. Bothwell’s relationship with Anna would later be part of his final downfall.

After only a 17-month reign, François, King of France, aged 16, died in December 1560. Left a childless widow, Mary, Queen of Scots decided to return to Scotland. Her mother, who became Regent of Scotland in 1554, had died in June 1560. Mary returned to a Scotland very different from the one she had left as a child. Mary needed an heir, so a second marriage became necessary. Mary became infatuated with her Catholic first cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley were grandchildren of Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of King Henry VII of England. Mary and Darnley married at Holyrood Palace on July 29, 1565.

The marriage angered the Protestant nobles. Mary soon became disillusioned by Darnley’s uncouth behavior and his insistence upon receiving the Crown Matrimonial which would have made him co-sovereign of Scotland. Mary refused and their relationship became strained. On March 9, 1566, when Mary was pregnant, Darnley and some fellow conspirators killed Mary’s private secretary David Rizzio in Mary’s presence. Darnley was jealous of Mary’s friendship with Rizzo and suspected him of being Mary’s lover. Mary was roughly pushed and shoved and although the conspirators hoped she would miscarry, she did not. All the conspirators were banished except for Darnley who was forgiven. On June 19, 1566, at Edinburgh Castle, Mary gave birth to a son, later King James VI of Scotland/King James I of England.

Mary’s marriage was all but over and she began to be drawn to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell entered into a conspiracy with Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll and George Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly to rid Mary of her husband. On February 10, 1567, Kirk o’ Field, the house where Darnley was staying, was blown up. Darnley and his servant were found dead near the house in an orchard outside the city walls. Since Darnley was dressed only in his nightshirt and had no injuries, it was assumed that he was strangled after the explosion.

Bothwell was one of those accused of murdering Darnley. Darnley’s relatives demanded vengeance and charges were brought against Bothwell. On the day of the trial, Bothwell rode magnificently through Edinburgh to the trial flanked by nobles and members of the Hepburn family. The trial lasted for seven hours. Bothwell was acquitted and it was widely rumored that he would marry Mary.

In April 1567, Mary visited her son at Stirling Castle. It was to be the last time Mary would ever see her son. On her way back to Edinburgh, Mary was abducted by Bothwell and taken to Dunbar Castle. Bothwell, who had married Jean Gordon, sister of Sir John Gordon and of George Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly in February 1566, divorced her on May 7, 1567, citing his adultery with her servant as the cause. Mary and Bothwell were married on May 15, 1567. The marriage angered many Scottish nobles who raised an army against Mary and Bothwell. After negotiations at the Battle of Carberry Hill, Bothwell was given safe passage and the lords took Mary to Edinburgh. The following night, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle, on an island in the middle of Loch Leven. Between July 20 – 23, 1567, Mary miscarried twins, and on July 24, 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favor of her one-year-old son James.

Bothwell moved toward the north of Scotland, attempting to gain supporters, but he was forced to flee the country. He reached Norway, but was detained in Bergen, Norway because he did not have the proper exit papers. Anna Throndsen, whom Bothwell had jilted, was now living in Bergen, where she had family connections. Bothwell’s detainment turned into imprisonment on the order of Anna’s cousin, Danish Viceroy Erik Rosenkratz. Anna filed a legal complaint against Bothwell for his use of her as his wife and demanded repayment of her dowry. Anna gave testimony that Bothwell had “three wives alive” including herself. Bothwell settled with Anna out of court, offering her one of his ships and promising her an additional payment which he never was able to pay, as he never regained his freedom.

Bothwell would have been released, but King Frederik II of Denmark and Norway had heard that Queen Elizabeth I of England was seeking Bothwell for the alleged murder of Darnley, and decided to take him into custody in Denmark to use a political pawn. However, as news from England and Scotland arrived, Frederik II eventually understood that Mary never again would be Queen of the Scots and that without Mary, Bothwell was insignificant politically. Instead of turning Bothwell over to England, Frederik II transferred him to Dragsholm Castle. There he was kept in appalling conditions. A pillar to which he was chained for the last ten years of his life can still be seen, with a circular groove in the floor around it. James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell died there on April 14, 1578. A body, allegedly said to be Bothwell’s, was buried at Fårevejle Church, nearby the castle. Bothwell’s ghost is said to haunt the castle, riding through the courtyard with a horse and carriage.

Coffin in Fårevejle Church with Bothwell’s alleged remains; Photo Credit – Wikipedia http://www.gravsted.dk/person.php?navn=jameshepbu

Wikipedia: James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). James Hepburn, 4. Earl of Bothwell. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hepburn,_4._Earl_of_Bothwell [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Anna Throndsen. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Throndsen [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hepburn,_4th_Earl_of_Bothwell [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mary, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/mary-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, King Consort of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

The eldest surviving child of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox and Lady Margaret Douglas, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was born on December 7, 1545, at Temple Newsam in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Temple Newsam, a Tudor country house, was built between 1500 and 1520. In 1537 Thomas, Lord Darcy was executed for the part he played in the Pilgrimage of Grace and the property was confiscated by the Crown. In 1544, King Henry VIII gave it to his niece Lady Margaret Douglas and her husband Matthew Stuart, 4th Earl of Lennox.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley is generally known as Lord Darnley (or Darnley), his courtesy title as the heir apparent to the Earldom of Lennox. Darnley had one brother who died in infancy and one surviving brother:

Darnley’s mother Lady Margaret Douglas was the only child of Margaret Tudor (daughter of King Henry VII of England and the older sister of King Henry VIII of England) and her second husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.  Margaret Tudor was first married to James IV, King of Scots and they were the parents of James V, King of Scots and the grandparents of Mary, Queen of Scots. Margaret Tudor’s third marriage to Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven was childless.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley was brought up in England. His mother had left Scotland in 1528 and had been brought up at the English court with her first cousin, the future Queen Mary I of England, who remained her lifelong friend. Darnley’s father lived in exile in England. He had been declared guilty of treason in Scotland for his part in the war of the Rough Wooing, siding with the English. Darnley had claims to both the Scottish and English thrones as he was descended from both James II of Scotland and Henry VII of England. Darnley’s family was Catholic and represented an alternative succession to the English throne. He had been well educated and was very conscious of his status and heritage.

Darnley in 1555; Credit – Wikipedia

14-year-old Darnley was sent to the French court to complete his education. This coincided with the short reign of François II, King of France, the first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, Darnley’s first cousin. Upon the death of François II in 1560, Darnley was at once proposed as a suitable husband for the 18-year-old widowed Queen of Scots. Mary, Queen of Scots had lived in France since she was five-years-old. During Mary’s thirteen year absence, the Protestant Reformation had swept through Scotland, led by John Knox who is considered the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Therefore, Catholic Mary returned to a Scotland very different from the one she had left as a child.

Mary needed an heir, so a second marriage became necessary. After considering Carlos, Prince of Asturias, known as Don Carlos, eldest son and heir of King Philip II of Spain and Queen Elizabeth I’s candidate Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, Mary became infatuated with her first cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley were grandchildren of Margaret Tudor. The couple married at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh on July 29, 1565.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

The marriage angered Queen Elizabeth I who felt that Darnley, as her cousin and an English subject, needed her permission to marry. James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray was also angered by his sister’s marriage to a prominent Catholic and joined other Protestant lords in a rebellion. Mary soon became disillusioned by Darnley’s uncouth behavior and his insistence upon receiving the Crown Matrimonial which would have made him co-sovereign of Scotland. Mary refused and their relationship became strained.

At the end of 1565, Mary became pregnant. Darnley, who was jealous of Mary’s friendship with her private secretary David Rizzio, rumored to be the father of her child. Darnley formed a conspiracy to do away with Rizzio. On March 9, 1566, Rizzio was at supper with Mary and her ladies at Holyrood Palace. The conspirators, led by Darnley, burst into the room, dragged Rizzio away and killed him in an adjoining room. Mary was roughly pushed and shoved and although the conspirators hoped she would miscarry, she did not. All the conspirators were banished except for Darnley who was forgiven. On June 19, 1566, at Edinburgh Castle, Mary gave birth to a son, christened Charles James after his godfather King Charles IX of France, later succeeding his mother as  King James VI of Scotland.  In 1603, Mary and Darnley’s son succeeded the childless Queen Elizabeth I of England as King James I of England.

James VI, King of Scots, circa 1574; Credit – Wikipedia

Mary’s marriage was all but over and she began to be drawn to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell entered into a conspiracy with Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll and George Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly to rid Mary of her husband. On February 10, 1567, Kirk o’ Field, the house where Darnley was staying, was blown up. Darnley and his servant were found dead near the house in an orchard outside the city walls. Since Darnley was dressed only in his nightshirt and had no injuries, it was assumed that he was strangled after the explosion. Suspicions that Mary colluded with the conspirators in Darnley’s death or that she took no action to prevent his death were key factors that led to her loss of the Scottish crown that same year. Darnley was buried at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Matthew Stewart, his wife Margaret, their son Charles and grandson James VI of Scotland mourning Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley; Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Stuart,_Lord_Darnley [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margaret Douglas. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Douglas [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Stewart,_4th_Earl_of_Lennox [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mary, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/mary-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

François II, King of France, King Consort of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

François II, King of France, the first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was born on January 19, 1544, at the Château de Fontainebleau in France. He was the eldest of the ten children of Henri II, King of France and Catherine de’ Medici, daughter of Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino and Madeleine de La Tour d’Auvergne.  François was baptized on February 10, 1544, at the Chapelle des Trinitaires in Fontainebleau. His godparents were his paternal grandfather François I, King of France, Pope Paul III, and his great-aunt Marguerite de Navarre.  François became heir to the French throne and Dauphin of France in 1547 upon the death of his grandfather François I, King of France. As a child, François suffered from ill health and was considered to be less intelligent and easily distracted. Despite this, François received an education as befitted a prince of that time.

François had nine siblings:

Across the English Channel in England and France, events were happening that would result in a marriage for François. James V, King of Scots had died in 1542 leaving his six-day old daughter Mary as Queen of Scots. Mary’s great uncle King Henry VIII of England tried to force an agreement of marriage between Mary and his six-year-old son the future King Edward VI of England to create a new alliance between England and Scotland. Scotland had an alliance with France called the Auld Alliance. When Scotland resisted, Henry VIII declared war resulting in an eight-year war known as the Rough Wooing (1543 – 1551). Because of the English hostilities, Scotland abandoned the possibility of an English marriage. Fearing for Mary’s safety, the Scots appealed to France for help. Henri II, King of France proposed to unite France and Scotland by marrying the young Queen of Scots to his three-year-old son and heir to the French throne François. In July 1548, the Scottish Parliament approved Mary’s marriage to François, Dauphin of France. On August 7, 1548, five-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots set sail for France where she would be raised with her future husband. She would not return to Scotland for thirteen years.

Mary, Queen of Scots, at the age of 12 or 13 by François Clouet, circa 1555–1559; Credit – Wikipedia

On April 24, 1558, 15-year-old Mary married 14-year-old François, Dauphin of France outside Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was a marriage that could have given the future kings of France the throne of Scotland and also a claim to the throne of England through Mary’s great-grandfather, King Henry VII of England. A little more than a year after the wedding, a great tragedy occurred in France. On June 30, 1559, a great celebration and tournament was held in Paris at the Hôtel des Tournelles (now the site of the Place des Vosges) in honor of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis with France’s longtime enemies, the Habsburgs.

King Henri II, at age 40, still liked to participate in tournaments even though he had been advised not to participate because of dizziness he was suffering after physical exertion. Henri and Gabriel de Lorges, Comte de Montgomery, captain of the Scotch Guard jousted and Henri had been almost unseated from his horse. He insisted upon a rematch despite the urgings of his wife, the Duke of Savoy, and other friends to stop. The Comte de Montgomery reluctantly agreed to participate. de Montgomery’s lance struck the king’s helmet, splintered and went through the visor going through the king’s right eye and through his temple into the brain.

The king, bleeding profusely and nearly unconscious, was carried into the Hôtel des Tournelles. Henri survived for more than a week. On July 9, he was given the last rites and he died on July 10, 1559, at the age of 40, probably from a subdural hematoma and sepsis. Henri II’s eldest son succeeded his father as King François II of France. François was crowned at Rheims Cathedral in September of 1559. However, Mary did not participate in the coronation as she was already an anointed and crowned queen.

King François II of France and his wife Mary, Queen of France and Queen of Scots; circa 1558

After only a 17-month reign, François II, King of France, aged 16, died in great pain on December 5, 1560, possibly from mastoiditis, meningitis, or otitis which turned into an abscess.  François II died childless, so his ten-year-old younger brother Charles succeeded him and his mother Catherine de Médici was named Regent of France. Left a childless widow, Mary decided to return to Scotland, where she married two more times, lost her throne, and was eventually beheaded after being held captive in England for 18 years.

On December 23, 1560, François’ remains were buried at the Basilica of Saint-Denis near Paris, the traditional burial place of French kings. The effigies of many of the kings and queens are still on their tombs, but their bodies were removed during the French Revolution. The remains of the French royalty were removed, dumped into three trenches and covered with lime to destroy them. In 1817,  the restored Bourbons ordered the mass graves to be opened, but only portions of three bodies remained intact. The remaining bones from 158 bodies were collected into an ossuary in the crypt of the church, behind marble plates bearing their names.

Entrance to the crypt where the remains of the French royals were reinterred in 1817, Photo Credit – Susan Flantzer, July 2009

Wikipedia: Francis II of France

Works Cited

  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Francis II of France. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_II_of_France [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Henry II of France. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_II_of_France [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). James V, King of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/james-v-king-of-scots/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). King Henri II of France is mortally wounded in a jousting match. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/june-30-daily-featured-royal-date/ [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mary, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/mary-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].

Marie of Guise, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Marie of Guise, the second wife of James V, King of Scots and the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, was born November 22, 1515, in Bar-le-Duc, Duchy of Lorraine (now in France). She was the eldest of the twelve children of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, head of the House of Guise, and Antoinette de Bourbon, daughter of François de Bourbon, Count of Vendome.

Marie had eleven siblings:

Marie grew up with her large family at the family home, Château de Joinville. To complete her education, she was sent to the Poor Clares convent at Pont-à-Mousson, France where her paternal grandmother Philippa of Guelders, Duchess of Lorraine had become a nun. At the age of fourteen, Marie was a tall, beautiful, red-haired young woman. She so impressed her uncle and aunt Antoine, Duke of Lorraine and Renée of Bourbon, that they took her to their court to prepare her for life at the French court. In March 1531, Marie accompanied family members to the Basilica of St. Denis to attend the coronation of Eleanor of Austria, the second wife of King François I of France.  Marie spent the next three years at the French court where she became close to Madeleine and Margaret, daughters of King François I of France. Ironically, Marie would succeed Madeleine as Queen of Scots after Madeleine died a month short of her seventeenth birthday, only six months after her marriage of James V, King of Scots.

On August 4, 1534, 18-year-old Marie married Louis II d’Orléans, Duke of Longueville at the Louvre Palace in Paris. The marriage was a happy one, but sadly, a short one. Louis died June 9, 1537, leaving Marie a 21-year-old pregnant widow. The couple had two children, but neither survived to adulthood:

On New Year’s Day in 1537, Marie and her husband had attended the wedding of Princess Madeleine to James V, King of Scots at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. There Marie met for the first time the man who would become her second husband, James V, King of Scots. Marie’s husband died on June 9, 1537 and Madeleine died on July 7, 1537.  It was Madeleine’s father, King François I of France, who suggested Marie should marry his widowed son-in-law.  However, Marie had another suitor, King Henry VIII of England, then the widower of Jane Seymour. When the French ambassador to England asked Henry VIII why he was eager to marry Marie, he said it was because she was big and he had need for a big wife. When this was reported to Marie, she responded, “I may be big, but my neck is too small,” an obvious reference to the beheading of Henry’s second wife Anne Boleyn. Because of Henry VIII, the negotiations for Marie’s marriage to James V (who was Henry VIII’s nephew, the son of Henry’s sister Margaret) were hastened and James applied to the Pope for a dispensation since he and Marie were third cousins, both great-great grandchildren of Arnold, Duke of Guelders. A proxy marriage took place in France on May 9, 1538 with Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Maxwell, one of the ambassadors sent to the French court to negotiate the marriage, standing in for James V.

Engraving of the Proxy Marriage of Marie of Guise; Credit – Wikipedia

Marie sailed from Le Havre, France on June 10, 1538. She was forced to leave her three-year-old son François in France in the care her mother Antoinette de Bourbon as he had succeeded his father as Duke of Longueville. On June 18, 1538, Marie and James V were married in person at St. Andrews Cathedral in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. Marie was crowned Queen of Scots at Holyrood Abbey on February 22, 1540.

James V and Marie of Guise; Credit – Wikipedia

Marie and James V had two sons and a daughter, but both sons died in early childhood:

When his mother Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots died in 1541, James V saw no reason to keep the peace with England. When war broke out between England and France in 1542, it was inevitable that Scotland would go to war against England because of their treaty with France. When Henry VIII of England broke from the Roman Catholic Church, he asked James V of Scotland, his nephew, to do the same. James ignored his uncle’s request and further insulted him by refusing to meet with Henry VIII at York. Furious, Henry VIII sent troops against Scotland. In retaliation for the English raid into Scotland, James responded by assigning Robert Maxwell, Lord Maxwell, the Scottish Warden of West March, the task of raising an army. On November 24, 1542, the Battle of Solway Moss in Cumberland, England resulted in a decisive English victory.

After the Battle of Solway Moss, James V fled to Falkland Palace where he became ill and took to his bed. Overcome with grief and shame about the Battle of Solway Moss, James V lost the will to live. The news that Marie of Guise had given birth to a daughter on December 8, 1542, did nothing to raise his spirits. James V, King of Scots died at Falkland Palace in Fife, Scotland on December 14, 1542, at the age of 30. He was buried at Holyrood Abbey alongside his first wife Madeleine and his two sons by Marie of Guise.  James’ tomb was desecrated in 1544 during the War of the Rough Wooing and his remains were reburied in the Royal Vault at Holyrood Abbey during the reign of Queen Victoria. James V was succeeded by his only surviving, legitimate child, six-day-old Mary, Queen of Scots.

Mary, Queen of Scots, about 12-years-old; Credit – Wikipedia

James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, a great grandson of James II, King of Scots and the heir to the Scots throne, became Regent.  The widowed Marie and her infant daughter stayed at Linlithgow Castle until July 1543 when they moved to Stirling Castle.  On September 9, 1543, Mary was crowned at Stirling Castle.  After Mary’s coronation, Marie was appointed as the principal member of the Council of Regency. She was to assist and advise the Earl of Arran, whose power was greatly reduced.

Mary, Queen of Scot’s great uncle King Henry VIII of England tried to force an agreement of marriage between Mary and his six-year-old son the future King Edward VI of England to create a new alliance between England and Scotland. Scotland had an alliance with France called the Auld Alliance. When Scotland resisted, Henry VIII declared war resulting in an eight-year war known as the Rough Wooing (1543 – 1581).  Because of the English hostilities, Scotland abandoned the possibility of an English marriage. In July 1548, the Scottish Parliament approved Mary’s marriage to François, Dauphin of France, the son and heir of King Henri II of France and Catherine de’ Medici.

François, Dauphin of France; Credit – Wikipedia

On August 7, 1548, five-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots set sail for France where she would be raised with her future husband. She would not return to Scotland for thirteen years. Mary’s mother Marie remained in Scotland as the principal member of the Council of Regency. Marie set out for a visit to France in September 1550. She spent a happy year in France reunited with her son François and her daughter Mary. Sadly, in 1551, François died shortly before Marie returned to Scotland.

Marie returned to Scotland via England where she was entertained by King Edward VI of England at Hampton Court Palace and the Palace of Westminster. Upon her return to Edinburgh, Scotland, Marie spent the next two years attempting to become the sole regent of Scotland. The Earl of Arran, a great-grandson of James II of Scotland, agreed to give up his position as regent on the condition that he would be next in line to the throne of Scotland after Mary, Queen of Scots if she died childless. However, the Scottish succession had been secretly promised to France. On April 12, 1554, the Earl resigned as regent at Marie was invested as Queen Regent.

Marie, as regent, was extremely capable and set out to bring justice, peace, and prosperity to her adopted country. However, she did have to contend with the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. In 1559, John Knox, leader of the Scottish Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, started his fiery sermons, encouraging people to destroy images and desecrate churches. Soon, the entire country was on the verge of a civil war and the former regent, the Earl of Arran, sided with the Protestants. The Protestants were receiving help from the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England who had succeeded to the English throne in 1558. The Catholic French gave aid to Marie so she could fortify Leith which was threatened to be besieged by the English.

When the English invaded Scotland in March 1560, Marie and her entourage moved to Edinburgh Castle which could be better fortified. While continuing to fortify Edinburgh Castle, Marie became seriously ill. Her mind began to wander and there were some days she could not even speak. She met with her last council on June 7, 1560. On June 11, 1560, 44-year-old Marie died of dropsy (edema).

St. Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh Castle; Photo Credit – By Jonathan Oldenbuck – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5383510

Marie’s body was embalmed and placed in a lead coffin. It lay in St. Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle until March 18, 1561. On that day, the coffin was secretly carried from the castle at midnight and taken to Leith where the coffin was placed on board a ship bound for France. Mary, Queen of Scots attended her mother’s funeral at Fécamp in July 1561. Marie of Guise was buried at the church in the Convent of Saint-Pierre in Reims where her sister Renée was abbess. A marble tomb was erected with a bronze statue of Marie in royal robes, holding a scepter and the rod of justice. The tomb was destroyed during the French Revolution.

Wikipedia, Marie of Guise

Works Cited:

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Marie de Guise. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_de_Guise [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Mary of Guise. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_of_Guise [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). James V, King of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/james-v-king-of-scots/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mary, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/mary-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

James IV, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

James IV, King of Scots was the eldest of the three sons of James III, King of Scots and Margaret of Denmark. He was born on March 17, 1473, probably at Stirling Castle. At his birth, he was the heir apparent to the throne of Scotland and became Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Steward of Scotland.  James had two younger brothers

James IV’s father, James III, King of Scots, was not a popular king and faced two major rebellions during his reign. The final rebellion occurred in 1488.  Disgruntled nobles set up an army, with the young James as its nominal head, to overthrow the hated king. On June 11, 1488, James III was killed in the Battle of Sauchieburn.   James III’s 15-year-old eldest son succeeded to the throne as James IV, King of Scots. James IV was crowned at Scone Abbey on June 24, 1488 by William Scheves, Archbishop of St. Andrews.  Throughout his reign, James IV wore a heavy iron chain around his waist as penance for his role in the death of his father.

James IV secured his position as king by allowing the rebel lords to have power in the government. He quickly proved an effective ruler and a wise king. James IV defeated another rebellion in 1489, took a direct interest in the administration of justice and finally brought the Lord of the Isles under control in 1493. For a time, he supported Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne, and carried out a brief invasion of England on his behalf in September 1496. James IV saw the importance of building a fleet that could provide Scotland with a strong maritime presence. He founded two new dockyards for this purpose and acquired a total of 38 ships for the Royal Scots Navy.

James IV was the last Scottish monarch to speak fluent Gaelic. He was very educated and was said to have spoken ten languages fluently: Scots, English, Gaelic, Latin, French, German, Italian, Flemish, Spanish, and Danish. His interest in Gaelic culture was shown by the fact that he often invited bards and musicians from the Scottish Highlands to the court. His court became a center of art and culture, where Latin and Scottish literature were specifically promoted.

In 1474, James IV had been betrothed to Cecily of York, a daughter of King Edward IV of England. The marriage never occurred but an interest in an English marriage remained. On January 24, 1502, England and Scotland concluded the Treaty of Perpetual Peace, agreeing to end the warfare between England and Scotland which had occurred over the previous two hundred years. As part of the treaty, a marriage was arranged between 28-year-old King James IV of Scotland and twelve-year-old Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of King Henry VII of England, the first Tudor monarch, and Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV of England.

A proxy marriage was held on January 25, 1503, at Richmond Palace with Patrick Hepburn, 1st Earl of Bothwell standing in for King James IV. Margaret was exactly the same age as her paternal grandmother Margaret Beaufort had been when she married Edmund Tudor. Margaret Beaufort was determined that her granddaughter not consummate her marriage at such an early age and insisted that Margaret must remain in England until she was older. After the proxy marriage, Margaret was officially Queen of Scotland and received the precedence and honor due to a Queen.

King James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor; Credit – Wikipedia

In June of 1503, just a few months after the childbirth death of her mother, Elizabeth of York, Margaret left London with her father to make the journey to Scotland. Her formal court farewell was held at her paternal grandmother’s home Collyweston Palace near Stamford, Northamptonshire, England. After two weeks of celebrations, Margaret rode out to her new life with only one relative, Sir David Owen, the illegitimate son of her great grandfather Owen Tudor. On August 3, 1503, at Dalkeith Castle in Midlothian, Scotland, Margaret first met King James IV. The couple was married in person on August 8, 1503, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Margaret and James had four sons and two stillborn daughters. Only one of their children survived infancy.

Margaret and James IV’s only surviving child King James V of Scotland by Corneille de Lyon, circa 1536; Credit  – Wikipedia

James IV also had several illegitimate children. Five are known to have reached adulthood:

With Margaret Boyd:

With Lady Margaret Drummond:

With Janet Kennedy:

With Isabel Stewart, daughter of James Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan:

In 1509, Margaret’s father King Henry VII of England died and was succeeded by his son as King Henry VIII. Despite the great hopes of peace between England and Scotland as symbolized by the marriage of Margaret and James IV, Margaret’s brother Henry VIII did not have his father’s diplomatic patience and was heading towards a war with France. James IV was committed to his alliance with France and invaded England. Henry VIII was away on campaign in France and Flanders in 1513 and he had made his wife Catherine of Aragon regent in his absence. It was up to Catherine to supervise England’s defense when Scotland invaded. Ultimately, the Scots were defeated at the Battle of Flodden near Branxton, Northumberland, England on September 9, 1513, and 30-year-old King James IV was killed in the battle. Catherine sent Henry VIII the blood-stained coat of his defeated and dead brother-in-law. James IV’s seventeen-month-old son succeeded his father as James V, King of Scots.

Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre discovered the body of James IV on the battlefield. Dacre took the body to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where according to Hall’s Chronicle, it was viewed by captured Scottish courtiers who acknowledged it was King James IV. The body was then embalmed and placed in a lead coffin. It was taken to Newcastle upon Tyne and then to York. Eventually, the body was brought to Sheen Priory near London where it was supposedly buried. Sheen Priory was destroyed in 1539 following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII.

Wikipedia: James IV of Scotland

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Jakob IV. (Schottland). [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakob_IV._(Schottland) [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Battle of Flodden. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Flodden [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). James IV of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_IV_of_Scotland [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/margaret-tudor-queen-of-scotland/ [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Margaret of Denmark was the wife of James III, King of Scots. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 23, 1456, Margaret was the only daughter and the fourth of the five children of King Christian I of Denmark and Dorothea of Brandenburg.  Following the death of the childless King Christopher of Denmark, Sweden and Norway in 1448, Margaret’s father Count Christian I of Oldenburg was elected King of Denmark in 1448, King of Norway in 1450, and King of Sweden in 1457. The House of Oldenburg has occupied the Danish throne ever since.  Christian I ruled under the Kalmar Union,  a personal union from 1397 to 1523 in which a single monarch ruled the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

 

Margaret’s parents; Credit – Wikipedia

Margaret had three older brothers and one younger brother. Her two eldest brothers died in early childhood. Both of her surviving brothers became King of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

James III, King of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

A marriage between Margaret and James III, King of Scots had been suggested as a way to end the conflict between Denmark and Scotland which had been going on since 1426. In 1266, Scotland and Norway signed the Treaty of Perth which ended military conflict over the sovereignty of the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. The treaty recognized Scottish sovereignty over the disputed territories in return for a lump sum of 4,000 marks and an annual payment of 100 marks to Norway. Scotland had stopped the annual payment in 1426.

Map showing the location of the Hebrides, Isle of Man, Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands; Credit – By © Sémhur / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2918974

The marriage contract was signed on September 8, 1468. King James III pledged to Margaret a third of the royal possessions and income, including Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, and Doune Castle. King Christian pledged a dowry of 60,000 Rhenish florins with a payment of 10,000 florins due before Margaret left Copenhagen. However, King Christian I was only able to raise 2,000 florins. The Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands were pledged by King Christian in his capacity as King of Norway, as security against the payment of the dowry. However, the money was never paid, and the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands were annexed by the Kingdom of Scotland in 1472.

James III and Margaret of Denmark; Credit – Wikipedia

On July 13, 1469, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland, 13-year-old Margaret married 17-year-old James III, King of Scots. The couple had three sons:

Margaret was a popular queen and was described as beautiful, gentle, and reasonable. Many later historians called her far better qualified to rule than her husband. During the crisis of 1482, when her husband was deprived of power for several months, Margaret showed a greater interest in the welfare of her children than that of her husband, and this apparently led to the couple’s alienation.

Margaret died on July 14, 1486, at the age of 30 and was buried at Cambuskenneth Abbey. After her death, there were suspicions that she had been poisoned by John Ramsay, 1st Lord Bothwell, a confidant of James III, although no evidence was found to support the charge. At the request of James III, Pope Innocent VIII commissioned an investigation of Margaret’s virtues and alleged miracles for possible canonization, but without result.

Memorial of Margaret and James III, King of Scots marking the site of their graves, funded by Queen Victoria; Photo Credit – By Adtrace at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2531316

Wikipedia: Margaret of Scotland, Queen of Scotland

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • Da.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margrete af Danmark (1456-1486). [online] Available at: https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margrete_af_Danmark_(1456-1486) [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margarethe von Dänemark. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarethe_von_D%C3%A4nemark [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). James III of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_III_of_Scotland [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Denmark,_Queen_of_Scotland [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

James III, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

James III, King of Scots was the eldest of the four sons and the eldest of the six children of James II, King of Scots and Mary of Guelders. His birth date and birthplace are uncertain: either May 1452 at St. Andrew’s Castle or July 10, 1451 or July 20, 1451 at Stirling Castle. At birth, James was heir to the throne and became Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Steward of Scotland.

James had six siblings:

In 1460, James II, King of Scots besieged Roxburgh Castle near the English border in support of King Henry VI. On August 3, 1460, 29-year-old James II, King of Scots was accidentally killed when a cannon nearby where he was standing exploded. As with the start of the reigns of James I and James II, Scotland once again had a child king. Mary of Guelders served as the regent for her nine-year-old son until her death three years later. The rest of the Scottish Stuarts, James IV, James V, Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI, would also be child monarchs. James II’s death also continued the violent deaths of the Scottish Stuarts which started with the assassination of his father James I and continued with the deaths in battle of James III and James IV and the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots.

James III was crowned on August 10, 1460, at Kelso Abbey by James Kennedy, Bishop of St. Andrews.  Bishop Kennedy and his brother Gilbert Kennedy, 1st Lord Kennedy served as regents with Mary of Guelders, the young king’s mother. The Kennedys’ mother had been a daughter of Robert III, King of Scots. After the death of Mary of Guelders in 1463 and Bishop Kennedy in 1465, Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd became regent.

In 1466, while James III was at Linlithgow Castle, he was taken by force to Edinburgh Castle in a conspiracy with Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd and Boyd’s brother Sir Alexander Boyd. The 14-year-old king was forced to state to Parliament that he had given his royal assent to the abduction. Parliament then made Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd Governor of the Realm, Great Chamberlain, and Lord Justice General. Robert Boyd also arranged the marriage of his eldest son Thomas Boyd, created Earl of Arran for that occasion, and Mary, elder sister of James III. The marriage aroused the jealousy of the other nobles and James III considered the marriage an insult he could not forgive.

A marriage between James III and Margaret of Denmark, the only daughter of King Christian I of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and Dorothea of Brandenburg had been suggested as a way to end the conflict between Denmark and Scotland which had been going on since 1426. In 1266, Scotland and Norway signed the Treaty of Perth which ended military conflict over the sovereignty of the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. The treaty recognized Scottish sovereignty over the disputed territories in return for a lump sum of 4,000 marks and an annual payment of 100 marks to Norway. Scotland had stopped the annual payment in 1426.

Map showing the location of the Hebrides, Isle of Man, Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands; Credit – By © Sémhur / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2918974

The marriage contract was signed on September 8, 1468. King James III pledged to Margaret a third of the royal possessions and income, including Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, and Doune Castle. King Christian pledged a dowry of 60,000 Rhenish florins with a payment of 10,000 florins due before Margaret left Copenhagen. However, King Christian I was only able to raise 2,000 florins. The Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands were pledged by King Christian in his capacity as King of Norway, as security against the payment of the dowry. However, the money was never paid, and the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands were annexed by the Kingdom of Scotland in 1472.

James III and Margaret of Denmark; Credit – Wikipedia

On July 13, 1469, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland, 13-year-old Margaret of Denmark married 17-year-old James III, King of Scots.

James and Margaret had three sons:

At the time of his marriage, James III assumed all the powers of the crown. He never forgot his abduction by the Boyds and his sister’s marriage to a Boyd. The Boyds were found guilty of treason. Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd fled to England and died within the year. His son Thomas Boyd was warned by his wife Mary and fled to the European continent. Their marriage was annulled. Lord Boyd’s brother Sir Alexander Boyd was not so fortunate. He was arrested and executed.

From 1471 to 1473, James III pursued unrealistic plans for territorial expansion on the European continent. He proposed the conquest or annexation of the Duchy of Brittany, Saintonge, a French province located on the west central Atlantic coast and the Duchy of Guelders. These planned projects led to violent criticism in the Scottish Parliament, mainly because the king was much more inclined to devote himself to art and occultism than to domestic politics.

In 1474, James III made an agreement with the English King Edward IV. James III’s son, the future King James IV, was to be married to Edward IV’s daughter Cecily of York. This alliance with the enemy of Scotland and the taxes raised for the financing of the wedding were just some of the reasons that made the James III very unpopular with the nobles. The marriage never happened.

In 1479, James III’s two brothers Alexander, Duke of Albany and John, Earl of Mar caused trouble and were imprisoned. Mar died under suspicious circumstances, possibly killed on orders of James III. Albany escaped to France having been accused of treason. In 1479, the alliance with England collapsed, and from 1480, there were intermittent border wars. King Edward IV of England launched an invasion of Scotland in 1482 led by his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III ) and James III’s brother Alexander, who had ambitions to seize the throne of Scotland as Alexander IV.

As James III was planning a defense against the invasion, he was arrested in July 1482 by dissatisfied nobles, most likely allies of his brother Alexander.  James III was imprisoned at Edinburgh Castle and in the autumn of 1482, a new government under Alexander, as Lieutenant-General, took power. In the meantime, the English army had run out of money, was unable to take Edinburgh Castle and returned to England.

James III regained power by bringing members of Alexander’s interim government over to his side with bribery. Alexander unsuccessfully attempted to claim his dead brother’s earldom of Mar for himself. In January 1483, Alexander retired to his lands in Dunbar. After the death of his patron, King Edward IV, in April 1483, Alexander no longer had any influence and fled to England. From there he undertook another invasion of Scotland in 1484, which failed. In 1485, Alexander left Scotland for good. Later in the same year, Alexander was killed in a duel by the Duke of Orléans, the future King Louis XII of France.

Although James III could have been murdered or executed during his imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle, he did not change his behavior. He was still convinced that he could form an alliance with England and favored a group of friends who were unpopular with more the powerful nobles. He refused to travel through the country for the purpose of exercising the necessary judicial power and instead remained in Edinburgh.

James was alienated from his wife Margaret, who lived in Stirling Castle and increasingly also from his eldest son. Margaret was a popular queen and was described as beautiful, gentle, and reasonable. Many later historians called her far better qualified to rule than her husband. During the crisis of 1482, when her husband was deprived of power for several months, Margaret showed a greater interest in the welfare of her children than that of her husband, and this apparently led to the couple’s alienation. Margaret died on July 14, 1486, at the age of 30 and was buried at Cambuskenneth Abbey. After her death, there were suspicions that she had been poisoned by John Ramsay, 1st Lord Bothwell, a confidant of James III, although no evidence was found to support the charge.

The political quarrels reached their climax in 1488. Disgruntled nobles set up an army to overthrow the hated king. On June 11, 1488, James was killed in the Battle of Sauchieburn.  The circumstances of James III’s death were greatly exaggerated and romanticized by the 16th-century chroniclers. Supposedly, he was murdered when he went to seek refuge in a cottage shortly after the battle in Milltown near Bannockburn. Most likely, James III, King of Scots had already died on the battlefield. He was then buried in Cambuskenneth Abbey. James III’s eldest son succeeded to the throne as James IV, King of Scots and reigned for 25 years until he was killed in the Battle of Flodden. Throughout his reign, James IV wore a heavy iron chain around his waist as penance for his role in the death of his father.

Memorial of Margaret and James III, King of Scots marking the site of their graves, funded by Queen Victoria; Photo Credit – By Adtrace at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons

Wikipedia: James III of Scotland

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Jakob III. (Schottland). [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakob_III._(Schottland) [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). James III of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_III_of_Scotland [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Denmark,_Queen_of_Scotland [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

Mary of Guelders, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Mary of Guelders, wife of James II, King of Scots was born around 1434, the eldest of the five children of Arnold, Duke of Guelders and Catherine of Cleves. The Duchy of Guelders was located in the present Dutch province of Gelderland (in English Guelders), the present Dutch province of Limburg, and parts of the present German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Mary’s mother Catherine was the daughter of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves and Marie of Burgundy. Adolph and Marie were the great-great grandparents of Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of King Henry VIII of England.

Mary had four siblings:

Mary was educated in the court of her great uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and his third wife Isabella of Portugal, who was a granddaughter of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III of England. Isabella, who had been well educated by her parents, King João I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, was known for her intelligence, her patronage of the arts, and her political influence on her husband and son. She was a great influence on Mary and helped arrange Mary’s marriage to James II, King of Scots.

Mary’s great uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy; Credit – Wikipedia

Philip and Isabella had planned to betroth Mary to Charles, Count of Maine, but her father could not pay the dowry. Negotiations for a marriage to James II, King of Scots began in July 1447 when a Burgundian envoy went to Scotland and were concluded in September 1448. Philip promised to pay Mary’s dowry, while Isabella paid for her trousseau. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy settled a dowry of 60,000 crowns on his great-niece and Mary’s dower (given to a wife for her support in the event that she should become widowed) of 10,000 crowns was secured on lands in Strathearn, Athole, Methven, and Linlithgow in Scotland. William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland came to Burgundy to escort Mary to Scotland, where they landed at Leith on June 18, 1449. 15-year-old Mary married 19-year-old James II, King of Scots, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh on July 3, 1449. Immediately after the marriage ceremony, Mary was dressed in purple robes and crowned queen.

James II, King of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Mary and James had seven children:

On August 3, 1460, 29-year-old James II, King of Scots was accidentally killed when a cannon nearby where he was standing exploded. Mary became the regent for her nine-year-old son King James III.

Mary indirectly participated in the English Wars of the Roses when she gave refuge in Scotland to the wife of the Lancaster King Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, and her son Edward of Westminster to keep them out of the hands of the Yorkists. Mary even arranged to give Margaret Scottish troops and the two queens arranged a preliminary betrothal between Margaret’s son and Mary’s youngest daughter Margaret. However, any arrangements the two queens made came to naught. Mary’s uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy made an alliance with the Yorkist King Edward IV of England. Edward IV even proposed a marriage with Mary which Mary rejected. Mary’s uncle pressured her to call off the betrothal of her daughter and Prince Edward, to Margaret’s disappointment. In 1462, Mary paid the Lancastrian royals to leave Scotland and made peace with Edward IV.

Before his death, James II had been involved in the planning of a new castle, Ravenscraig Castle, as a home for Mary. After her husband’s death, Mary began the construction of the castle as a memorial to him and as a dower house for herself. Mary lived in the castle until her death, when only the east tower and the basement of the central section had been built.

Ravenscraig Castle; Photo Credit – By Ian Mitchell, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9167584

Mary of Guelders survived her husband by only three years, dying on December 1, 1463 at the age of thirty. She was buried in Trinity College Kirk in Edinburgh, which she had founded three years before in memory of her husband. In 1848, despite a formal protest from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Trinity College Kirk was demolished to allow for the construction of the Waverley Railroad Station. At the time of the demolition, Mary’s remains were moved to Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh.

Vault containing the remains of Mary of Guelders at Holyrood Abbey; Photo Credit  – www.findagrave.com

Plaque on the vault containing the remains of Mary of Guelders at Holyrood Abbey; Photo Credit – Connie Nissinger – www.findagrave.com

Wikipedia: Mary of Guelders, Queen of Scots

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael, and Julian Lock. The Mammoth Book Of British Kings & Queens. London: Constable & Robinson, 2012. Print.
  • “Guelders”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 June 2017.
  • “James II Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 June 2017.
  • “Mary Of Guelders”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 6 June 2017.
  • “Scottish Royal Burial Sites”. Unofficial Royalty. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

James II, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

James II, King of Scots was born on October 16, 1430 at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland. He had an elder twin brother named Alexander who died before his first birthday, making James the heir to the throne of Scotland and the holder of the titles Duke of Rothesay and Steward of Scotland. James was then the only son of James I, King of Scots and Lady Joan Beaufort, a granddaughter of John of Gaunt who was a son of King Edward III of England. James II had six sisters, three older and three younger. He was nicknamed “Fiery Face” because of a birthmark on his face.

James II had seven siblings:

During the reign of James I, there were lingering doubts about the validity of the first marriage of his grandfather Robert II and this raised questions about James I’s own right to the throne of Scotland. James I found himself facing challenges from descendants of his grandfather’s second marriage.

On February 20, 1437, plotters supporting the claim to the throne of Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, a son of Robert II’s second marriage, broke into the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth where James I and wife Joan were staying. The conspirators reached the couple’s bedroom where Joan tried to protect James I but was wounded. James I then tried to escape via an underground passage but was cornered and hacked to death by Sir Robert Graham.  There was no strong support for the conspiracy and James I’s assassins were soon captured and brutally executed. Thus, James I’s six-year-old son succeeded him to the throne as James II, King of Scots. He was crowned at Holyrood Abbey on March 25, 1437 by Michael Ochiltree, Bishop of Dunblane.

                                     The Coronation of James II of Scotland (25 March 1437) by markdevoe360 on Pictify

 

Queen Joan took custody of her 6-year old son King James II and declared a regency. The idea of having Scotland ruled by an Englishwoman was not popular and three months later, King James II’s first cousin, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, was proclaimed regent, a position he held until his death two years later. In 1439, Joan married Sir James Stewart, known as the Black Knight of Lorne. The Stewarts of Lorne were trusted supporters of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, the young king’s regent, and their power greatly increased while the Douglas family controlled Scotland. However, this all changed with the death of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas.

After Douglas’ death, the power of the regency was shared uneasily by William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland and Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar, who was the custodian of the young King James II as the warden of Stirling Castle. As a result, Stewart and his Douglas allies planned to abduct the young James II who was being held by Livingston at Stirling Castle. However, Livingston placed Joan and her new husband under house arrest at Stirling Castle. They were only released by making a formal agreement to relinquish custody of King James II in favor of Livingston, by giving up Joan’s dowry for her son’s maintenance, and agreeing that Livingston’s actions were only in ensure the king’s safety. From then on, Joan had no participation in matters of state.

In 1440, in the name of James II, King of Scots, regents William Crichton and Alexander Livingston invited the two sons of the recently deceased former regent, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas to dinner at Edinburgh Castle. While 16-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas and his 10-year-old brother David Douglas ate their dinner, a black bull’s head, the symbol of death, was brought in and placed before the young Earl. The two brothers were then dragged out to Castle Hill, given a mock trial and beheaded in the presence of a protesting 10-year-old King James II. This brutal incident of murder and betrayal of hospitality, done to break up the power of the Black Douglases, has become known as the “Black Dinner” and was an inspiration for the famous “Red Wedding” massacre in The Game of Thrones.

The Black Dinner; Credit – http://www.stewartsociety.org/

Negotiations for a marriage to Mary of Guelders, the eldest of the five children of Arnold, Duke of Guelders and Catherine of Cleves began in July 1447 when an envoy from  Burgundy went to Scotland and were concluded in September 1448. Mary’s great uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy promised to pay Mary’s dowry, while his wife Isabella of Portugal paid for her trousseau. Mary had been educated in their court. After negotiations were concluded, Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy settled a dowry of 60,000 crowns on his great-niece and Mary’s dower (given to a wife for her support in the event that she should become widowed) of 10,000 crowns was secured on lands in Strathearn, Athole, Methven, and Linlithgow in Scotland. William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland came to Burgundy to escort Mary to Scotland, where they landed at Leith on June 18, 1449. 15-year-old Mary married 19-year-old James II, King of Scots, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh on July 3, 1449. Immediately after the marriage ceremony, Mary was dressed in purple robes and crowned queen.

James II and Mary of Guelders; Credit – Wikipedia

James and Mary had seven children:

After the murders that occurred at the “Black Dinner”, the Douglases became sworn enemies of Lord Chancellor Crichton and James II. They formed an alliance with Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar despite Livingston being a conspirator in the “Black Dinner” murders. During the 1440s, the nobles of Scotland battled for power. By 1449, the Livingston family held much power including holding government offices and many castles. That same year, James II came of age and assumed the full powers of the king. James arrested most of the Livingstons who held office, imprisoned them, and executed two members of the family.

William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas left Scotland to avoid capture. He returned in 1450 and had a distant, but cordial relationship with James. However, in 1452, James learned that Douglas had formed an alliance with John of Islay, Earl of Ross and Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford.  Angry about the alliance, James invited Douglas to dinner at Stirling Castle. He asked Douglas to break the alliance and when Douglas refused, James stabbed him as did the several men with him. According to the Auchinleck Chronicle, Sir Patrick Gray “struck out his brains with a pole ax”, and his body was thrown out of a window. The brother of the 8th Earl, the new 9th Earl of Douglas, James Douglas, attempted to continue the struggle with his brothers. However, they were defeated at the Battle of Arkinholm in 1455. Shortly after the battle the Black Douglases were attainted, the last few castles held by them fell, and they ceased to be a serious force in Scotland.

James II of Scotland depicted in the diary of Jörg von Ehingen, 15th century; Credit – Wikipedia

James II supported the House of Lancaster in the English Wars of the Roses. His mother had been Lady Joan Beaufort, a granddaughter of John of Gaunt, from whom the House of Lancaster originated. The Lancaster King Henry VI of England was the second cousin of James. In 1460, James II besieged Roxburgh Castle near the English border in support of King Henry VI. On August 3, 1460, 29-year-old James II, King of Scots was accidentally killed when a cannon nearby where he was standing exploded. Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie stated in his The Historie and Chronicles of Scotland, 1436–1565: “…as the King stood near a piece of artillery, his thigh bone was dug in two with a piece of misframed gun that brake in shooting, by which he was stricken to the ground and died hastily.” His remains were taken to Edinburgh and buried at Holyrood Abbey. His tomb, like so many others, has not survived.

As with the start of the reigns of James I and James II, Scotland once again had a child king in James III, King of Scots, the son of James II and Mary of Guelders. Mary served as the regent for her nine-year-old son until her death three years later. The rest of the Scottish Stuarts, James IV, James V, Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI, would also be child monarchs. James II’s death also continued the violent deaths of the Scottish Stuarts which started with the assassination of his father James I and continued with the deaths in battle of James III and James IV and the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Wikipedia: James II, King of Scots

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Clan Douglas. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Douglas [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). James II, King of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/james-ii-king-of-scots/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). James II of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_II_of_Scotland [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Lady Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/lady-joan-beaufort-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mary of Guelders, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/mary-of-guelders-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

Lady Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Lady Joan Beaufort, wife of James I, King of Scots, was born around 1404 in England. She was the third of the six children and the first of the two daughters of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and Margaret Holland. Her mother was the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, who was the eldest son of Joan, 4th Countess of Kent, known as “The Fair Maid of Kent” from her first marriage to Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent, 2nd Baron Holland. Joan of Kent later married Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), the eldest son of King Edward III of England, and was the mother of King Richard II of England.

Joan Beaufort’s father John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset was the eldest of the four children of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III, and his mistress Katherine Swynford. Their children were given the surname “Beaufort” after a former French possession of John of Gaunt. John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford married on January 13, 1396 at Lincoln Cathedral in England. After the marriage of John and Katherine, their four children were legitimized by both King Richard II of England and Pope Boniface IX. After John of Gaunt’s eldest son from his first marriage to Blanche of Lancaster deposed his first cousin King Richard II in 1399, the new King Henry IV inserted a phrase excepta regali dignitate (“except royal status”) in the documents that had legitimized his Beaufort half-siblings which barred them from the throne.

Joan had five siblings:

Joan met her husband James I, King of Scots during his long captivity in England. After the probable murder of his elder son by an uncle, Robert III, King of Scots sent his only surviving son James to France for his safety. However, the ship 12-year-old James was sailing on was captured on March 22, 1406 by English pirates who delivered James to King Henry IV of England. Robert III died a month later and James, who was nominally King of Scots, spent the first eighteen years of his reign in captivity. As Joan was related to the English royal family, she was often at court. Joan is said to be the inspiration for The Kingis Quair  (“The King’s Book”), a poem supposedly written by James after he looked out a window and saw Joan in the garden.

James I, King of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Although there may have been an attraction between Joan and James, their marriage was political as it was a condition for James’ release from captivity. Joan was well connected. She was a great granddaughter of King Edward III, a great-niece of King Richard II, a niece of King Henry IV, and a first cousin of King Henry V. Her paternal uncle Henry Beaufort was a Cardinal, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. The English considered a marriage to a Beaufort gave the Scots an alliance with the English instead of the French. Joan’s dowry of £6,000 was subtracted from James’ ransom of £40,000. The couple was married February 12, 1424, at St. Mary Overie Church, now known as Southwark Cathedral in Southwark, London, England. James was released from his long captivity on March 28, 1424 and the couple traveled to Scotland. On May 21, 1424, James and Joan were crowned King and Queen of Scots at Scone by Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St. Andrews.

Joan and James I, King of Scots had eight children:

Upon returning to Scotland after an absence of 18 years, James found that Scotland was in a horrible condition, with much poverty and lawlessness. He vigorously set about transforming his kingdom and made many enemies. In addition, there were still doubts about the validity of the first marriage of James’ grandfather, Robert II and this raised questions about James’ own right to the throne of Scotland. James found himself facing challenges from descendants of his grandfather’s second marriage.

On February 20, 1437, plotters supporting the claim to the throne of Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, a son of Robert II’s second marriage, broke into the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth where James and Joan were staying. The conspirators reached the couple’s bedroom where Joan tried to protect James but was wounded. James then tried to escape via an underground passage but was cornered and hacked to death by Sir Robert Graham.  There was no strong support for the conspiracy and James’ assassins were soon captured and brutally executed.

Joan herself had been a target of her husband’s killers, and although wounded, she escaped, took custody of her 6-year old son King James II and declared a regency. The idea of having Scotland ruled by an Englishwoman was not popular and three months later, King James II’s first cousin, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, was proclaimed regent, a position he held until his death two years later. On September 21, 1439, Joan married Sir James Stewart, known as the Black Knight of Lorne. The Stewarts of Lorne were trusted supporters of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, the young king’s regent, and their power greatly increased while the Douglas family controlled Scotland. However, this all changed with the death of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas.

After Douglas’ death, the power of the regency was shared uneasily by William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland and Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar, who was the custodian of the young King James II as the warden of Stirling Castle.  As a result, Joan’s second husband Sir James Stewart and his Douglas allies planned to abduct the young James II who was being held by Livingston at Stirling Castle. However, Livingston placed Joan and her new husband under house arrest at Stirling Castle. They were only released by making a formal agreement to relinquish custody of King James II in favor of Livingston, by giving up Joan’s dowry for her son’s maintenance, and agreeing that Livingston’s actions were only in ensure the king’s safety. From then on, Joan had no participation in matters of state.

Joan and Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorne had three sons:

In November 1444, Joan was besieged at Dunbar Castle by William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas from the Black Douglas faction, who may have had the blessing of King James II. Joan was under the protection of James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Angus from the Red Douglas faction and Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes, the custodian of Dunbar Castle. It is likely that supplies from the nearby Red Douglas stronghold of Tantallon Castle were shipped in via a hidden passage to maintain the garrison at Dunbar Castle. However, after a ten-month siege, Joan died on July 15, 1445 at around 41 years of age and Dunbar Castle was turned over to the Black Douglas faction.

Joan was buried beside her first husband James I, King of Scots in the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth, which he had founded. On May 11, 1559, following a sermon by John Knox, a leader of the Scottish Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Carthusian Charterhouse in Perth was attacked by a mob of Protestant reformers. Everything was destroyed including the royal tombs and remains.

A monument marking the site of the Charterhouse; Photo Credit – By kim traynor, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29398897

Wikipedia: Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael, and Julian Lock. The Mammoth Book Of British Kings & Queens. London: Constable & Robinson, 2012. Print.
  • “Dunbar Castle”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Dunbar Versus Douglas – A Story Of Conflict”. Douglashistory.co.uk. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • info@undiscoveredscotland.co.uk, Undiscovered. “Joan Beaufort, Queen Of Scotland: Biography On Undiscovered Scotland”. Undiscoveredscotland.co.uk. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “James I Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Joan Beaufort, Queen Of Scots”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “John Beaufort, 1St Earl Of Somerset”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Margaret Holland, Duchess Of Clarence”. En.wikipedia.org.  Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Scottish Royal Burial Sites”. Unofficial Royalty. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.