Category Archives: Scottish Royals

Elizabeth de Burgh, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Born in Ireland around 1284, Elizabeth de Burgh was the second wife of Robert I (the Bruce), King of Scots and his only Queen Consort. Robert’s first wife Isabella of Mar died in childbirth before Robert became king. Elizabeth was the third of the ten children of Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught and his wife Margaret, possibly his cousin Margaret de Burgh or Margaret de Guines.

Elizabeth had nine siblings:

Elizabeth’s father Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught was one of the most powerful Irish nobles of his time. He was the friend and ally of King Edward I of England and ranked first among the Earls of Ireland. He played a leading role among the Anglo-Irish nobility, supporting the expansion of the Norman barons in Ireland at the expense of the ancestral territories of the Irish Gaelic. Despite the marriage of his daughter to Robert the Bruce, that did not stop him leading his forces from Ireland to support England’s King Edward I in his Scottish campaigns.

Through her father, Elizabeth was the descendant of the Irish Kings of Munster, Kings of Thomond, and also of the famous Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. Her father also had a line of descent from William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, called William the Marshal, the Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman who served five English kings: Henry II, his sons Henry the Young King, Richard I, John, and John’s son Henry III.

Richard’s great granddaughter Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster married Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence who was the third, but second surviving son of King Edward III of England and was one of the two people on whom the House of York would base its claim to the English throne during the Wars of the Roses.

de Burgh Arms; Credit – By Sodacan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27269486

Elizabeth probably met Robert the Bruce, who was then the Earl of Carrick, at the English court. Today, Earl of Carrick is one of the titles of the eldest living son and heir-apparent of the British sovereign. Along with Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick was one of the traditional titles of the eldest living son and heir-apparent of the throne of Scotland. When King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, the Scottish titles came along with him.

Elizabeth and Robert married at Writtle, near Chelmsford, Essex, England in 1302 when Elizabeth would have been about 18-years-old and Robert would have been about 28-years-old. This was the second marriage for Robert. His first wife Isabella of Mar died soon after giving birth to a daughter named Marjorie Bruce on December 12, 1296. Marjorie married Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland.  It was Marjorie’s son who succeeded to the Scots throne as King Robert II, the first monarch of the House of Stewart, after the death of Elizabeth and Robert the Bruce’s childless son King David II.

Robert the Bruce and Elizabeth de Burgh from Seton Armorial in the Nation Library of Scotland (MS Acc. 9309); Credit – Wikipedia

In 1302, when Elizabeth married Robert the Bruce, Scotland had been in political turmoil for some time. Alexander III, King of Scots (reigned 1249 – 1286) had only two surviving children, a son Alexander and a daughter Margaret who married King Eric II of Norway. Margaret of Scotland, Queen of Norway died in childbirth in 1283, giving birth to her only child Margaret, Maid of Norway. In 1284, the earls and barons of Scotland recognized Margaret, Maid of Norway as the heir to the throne of her grandfather King Alexander III of Scotland if he died without a male heir. Later that year, Alexander III’s 20-year-old Alexander died. When Alexander III died in 1286, his three-year-old granddaughter was the heir to his throne. The earls, barons, and clerics of Scotland met to select the Guardians of Scotland who would rule the kingdom for the rightful heir. In 1290, while on her way to Scotland, Margaret, Maid of Norway died.

The death of Margaret, Maid of Norway began a two-year interregnum in Scotland caused by the succession crisis. With Margaret’s death, the line of William I (the Lion), King of Scots became extinct and there was no obvious heir by primogeniture. Fifteen candidates presented themselves as candidates for the throne of Scotland.  The most prominent were John Balliol, great-grandson of William I’s younger brother David, Earl of Huntingdon, and Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, David of Huntingdon’s grandson and the grandfather of Elizabeth’s husband.

The Scottish lords invited King Edward I of England to arbitrate the claims. Edward I agreed but forced the Scots to swear allegiance to him as their overlord. In 1292, it was decided that John Balliol should become King of Scots. After John Balliol became King, Robert, 5th Lord of Annandale resigned the lordship of Annandale and his claim to the throne to his eldest son Robert de Brus, the father of Elizabeth’s husband. Around the same time, Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale’s wife Marjorie, Countess of Carrick died and the Earldom of Carrick, which Robert had ruled jure uxoris (by right of his wife), devolved upon their eldest son, also called Robert, Elizabeth’s husband. John Balliol proved weak and incapable, and in 1296 was forced to abdicate by Edward I, who then attempted to annex Scotland into the Kingdom of England. For ten years, there was no monarch of Scotland.

The Scots refused to tolerate English rule and the result was the Wars of Scottish Independence, a series of military campaigns fought between Scotland and England, first led by William Wallace and after his execution, led by Robert the Bruce, Elizabeth’s husband. Robert the Bruce as Earl of Carrick and 7th Lord of Annandale, held estates and property in Scotland, a barony and some minor properties in England, and a strong claim to the throne of Scotland

On February 10, 1306, Robert the Bruce and his supporters killed a rival for the throne, John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries, Scotland. The bad blood between the two men went far back, and they had found it impossible to work together as Guardians of the Realm. Shortly after, Robert and his followers went to Scone, the traditional coronation site of the Kings of Scots. On March 27, 1306, Robert the Bruce was proclaimed Robert I, King of Scots and the crown was placed on his head by Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan “in the presence and with the consent of four bishops, five earls, and with the consent of the people.” According to tradition, the ceremony of crowning the monarch was performed by a representative of Clan MacDuff.

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, crowns Robert the Bruce at Scone in 1306 from a modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

And so Elizabeth de Burgh was now Queen of Scots. However, she did not think she would be queen for long because she feared her husband would be defeated by Edward I. She supposedly said, “Alas, we are but king and queen of the May! ” Both Robert the Bruce and John Comyn had swore fealty to King Edward I of England. When Edward I heard that John Comyn had been murdered, he vowed “by the God of Heaven and these swans” to avenge Comyn’s death and the treachery of the Scots. On his demand, his knights took a similar oath, and they were sent off to Scotland to seek revenge.

In Scotland, Robert I, King of Scots was already engaged in a civil war with the family and friends of the murdered John Comyn. His coronation had given him some legitimacy, but his position was very uncertain. By the middle of June 1306, the English were in Perth, Scotland and were joined by supporters of John Comyn. Robert, abiding by the conventions of feudal warfare, invited the English commander to leave the walls of Perth and join him in battle, but the English commander declined to do so. Robert, believing that the English refusal to accept his challenge was a sign of weakness, moved his forces a few miles to nearby Methven, where he made camp for the night. Before dawn on June 19, 1306, Robert’s army was taken by surprise and almost destroyed. Robert barely escaped and fled with a few followers to the Scottish Highlands.

Elizabeth was not so lucky. After the Battle of Methven, under the protection of his brother Niall, Robert sent Elizabeth, his daughter Marjorie from his first marriage, his sisters Mary and Christina and Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan (who had crowned him) to Kildrummy Castle, the seat of the Earls of Mar, the family of his first wife Isabella of Mar. The English besieged Kildrummy Castle and Niall Bruce and all the men of the castle were hanged, drawn, and quartered. However, the women had escaped and sought sanctuary at St. Duthac’s Chapel in Tain, Scotland. The sanctuary was breached by William, Earl of Ross who had the women arrested and handed over to the English.

King Edward I of England sent his hostages to different places in England. Marjorie went to the convent at Watton, Yorkshire and her aunt Christina Bruce was sent to another convent. Marjorie’s aunt Mary Bruce and Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan were imprisoned in wooden cages and exposed to public view. Mary’s cage was at Roxburgh Castle and Isabella’s was at Berwick Castle. Marjorie, Mary, and Christina were finally set free around 1314 – 1315, probably in exchange for English noblemen captured after the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. There is no mention of Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan in the records, so she probably died in captivity.

 The punishment of Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan

Queen Elizabeth’s punishment was lighter than that of the other women because King Edward I needed the support of her father, the powerful Earl of Ulster. She was imprisoned for eight years by the English and was moved around quite a bit:

After the Scots’ victory at the Battle of Bannockburn where they routed the English in June 1314, Elizabeth was moved to York while prisoner exchange talks took place and where she had an audience with King Edward II of England who had succeeded his father in 1307. Finally, in November 1314, she was moved to Carlisle, close to the Scots border, just before the exchange and her return to Scotland.  Because of the turmoil in Scotland and Elizabeth’s imprisonment, Robert and Elizabeth did not have any children until after her return to Scotland in 1314.

Elizabeth and Robert had four children:

  • Margaret (born between 1315 and 1323 – March 30, 1346), William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland, had one son John who died of the plague at age 20, Margaret died in childbirth
  • Matilda (born between 1315 and 1323 – July 30, 1353), married Thomas Isaac, had two daughters
  • David II, King of Scots (March 5, 1324 – February 22, 1371), twin of John, married (1) Joan of The Tower, daughter of King Edward II of England, no issue (2) Margaret Drummond, no issue
  • John (March 5, 1324 – before 1327), younger twin of David, died young

Elizabeth died on October 27, 1327 at Cullen Castle in Banffshire, Scotland, aged about 43-years-old. She was buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the resting place of many Kings and Queens of Scots. Robert I, King of Scots died 18 months later and was buried next to his wife. In 1560, Dunfermline Abbey was sacked by the Calvinists during the Scottish Reformation and Elizabeth and Robert’s tomb was destroyed. During construction work on the new abbey in 1819, Robert’s coffin was discovered and then Elizabeth’s coffin was rediscovered in 1917. Both coffins were re-interred in the new abbey.

Victorian brass plate covering the tomb of Robert Bruce and Elizabeth de Burgh; Photo Credit – By Otter – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5117548

Wikipedia: Elizabeth de Burgh

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael. British Kings & Queens. 1st ed. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998. Print.
  • “Battle Of Methven”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Dodson, Aidan. The Royal Tombs Of Great Britain. 1st ed. London: Duckworth, 2004. Print.
  • “Elizabeth De Burgh”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • “Richard Óg De Burgh, 2Nd Earl Of Ulster”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3
  • “Robert The Bruce”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Isabella of Mar, Countess of Carrick

by Susan Flantzer

Isabella of Mar with her husband from the Forman Armorial, produced for Mary, Queen of Scots in 1562; Credit – Wikipedia

Isabella of Mar was the first wife of Robert I (the Bruce), King of Scots, but she died before her husband became king. She was born about 1277 at Kildrummy Castle and was the daughter of Domhnall (Donald), 6th Earl of Mar and Elen the Younger ferch Llywelyn, an illegitimate daughter of the de facto Prince of Wales, Llywelyn Fawr (Llywelyn the Great), Prince of Gwynedd and Prince of Powys Wenwynwyn.

Isabella’s father was the Earl of Mar, in Gaelic, the Mormaer of Mar. A mormaer was a regional or provincial ruler, second only to the King of Scots, and more senior than a taoiseach or chieftain. Mormaers were equivalent to English earls. Mar was located in present-day Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Kildrummy Castle near Kildrummy in Aberdeenshire, Scotland was the Mar family seat.

Ruins of Kildrummy Castle; Photo Credit – By Van de Beek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4644660

Isabella’s father Domhnall was very involved in the politics of Scotland. He was knighted by King Alexander III of Scotland in 1270 and succeeded his father as the 6th Earl of Mar in 1281. In the same year, his name appeared with that of other Scottish nobles on the marriage contract between King Eric II of Norway and Margaret, the only daughter of King Alexander III. In 1284, he was among those who recognized the daughter of this marriage, Margaret, Maid of Norway, as the heir to the throne of her grandfather King Alexander III of Scotland if he died without a male heir.

Isabella had at least five siblings:

After the death of Margaret, Maid of Norway in 1290, Domhnall, 6th Earl of Mar became one of the first Scottish nobles who supported the claim of Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick to the throne of Scotland. Domhnall saw a great advantage to his family if one of his daughters married Robert. In 1295, Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick and Isabella of Mar married. Shortly after the wedding, Isabella became pregnant. Nineteen-year-old Isabella had a healthy pregnancy, but died soon after giving birth to a daughter named Marjorie on December 12, 1296 at the Manor of Cardross in Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Isabella was buried at Paisley Abbey in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, but her tomb has not survived.

Isabella’s daughter, Princess Marjorie, once her father became Robert I, King of Scots in 1306, married Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland in 1315. On March 2, 1316, pregnant Marjorie, who was pregnant, was riding in Paisley, Renfrewshire. Her horse was suddenly startled and threw her to the ground. Marjorie went into premature labor and her child Robert was delivered by caesarean section at Paisley Abbey. Marjorie died within a few hours. She was 19-years-old at the time of her death, like her mother, who was the same age when she died in childbirth and like her mother, was also buried at Paisley Abbey. Her son became Robert II, King of Scots, the first monarch of the House of Stewart. Marjorie’s descendants include the House of Stuart, all their successors on the thrones of Scotland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, and many other European royal families.

Tomb of Majorie Bruce at Paisley Abbey; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Isabella of Mar

Robert I, King of Scots (Robert the Bruce)

by Susan Flantzer

Statue of Robert the Bruce in Stirling, Scotland; Photo Credit – By Ally Crockford – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28842870

Robert the Bruce is a Scottish national hero and was King of Scots during the First War of Scottish Independence. Robert de Bruis (or Brus), his birth name from his Norman ancestors, popularly called Robert the Bruce, was born on July 11, 1274. He was the eldest son and third of the eleven children of Robert de Bruis, 6th Lord of Annandale and Marjorie, Countess of Carrick in her own right. His birthplace is uncertain, but it is probable that he was born at the Carrick family’s main castle, Turnberry Castle in Ayshire, Scotland.

The ruins of Turnberry Castle; By Walter Baxter, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14529485

Robert had ten siblings. Three of his four brothers were executed and the fourth was killed in battle.

Not much is known about Robert’s childhood. It can be assumed that he was trilingual. He and his brothers would have learned the Anglo-Norman language of their father, the Gaelic language of their mother, and also Latin which would have given them an access to a basic education. The tutors for Robert and his brothers were most likely from the clergy, especially clergy associated with churches and abbeys their family patronized. Robert and his brothers would have had masters who taught them horsemanship, swordsmanship, jousting, hunting, and the code of chivalry. The family would have moved between the castles of their lordships: Lochmaben Castle, the main castle of the lordship of Annandale, and Turnberry Castle and Loch Doon Castle, the castles of the earldom of Carrick. When Robert was about twelve-years-old, his training for knighthood would have begun and he would have resided for a period with one or more allied English noble families.

Robert’s family was involved in the political turmoil which occurred following the death of Alexander III, King of Scots. Alexander III, King of Scots (reigned 1249 – 1286) had only two surviving children, a son Alexander and a daughter Margaret who married King Eric II of Norway. Margaret of Scotland, Queen of Norway died in childbirth in 1283, giving birth to her only child Margaret, Maid of Norway. In 1284, the earls and barons of Scotland recognized Margaret, Maid of Norway as the heir to the throne of her grandfather King Alexander III of Scotland if he died without a male heir. Later that year, Alexander III’s 20-year-old Alexander died. When Alexander III died in 1286, his three-year-old granddaughter was the heir to his throne. The earls, barons, and clerics of Scotland met to select the Guardians of Scotland who would rule the kingdom for the rightful heir. In 1290, while on her way to Scotland, Margaret, Maid of Norway died.

Stained glass window at Lerwick Town Hall in Scotland depicting “Margaret, Queen of Scotland and Daughter of Norway”; Photo Credit – By Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18837762

The death of Margaret, Maid of Norway began a two-year interregnum in Scotland caused by the succession crisis. With Margaret’s death, the line of William I (the Lion), King of Scots became extinct and there was no obvious heir. Fifteen candidates presented themselves as candidates for the throne of Scotland.  The most prominent were John Balliol, great-grandson of William I’s younger brother David, Earl of Huntingdon, and Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, David of Huntingdon’s grandson and the grandfather of Robert the Bruce.

The Scottish lords invited King Edward I of England to arbitrate the claims. Edward I agreed but forced the Scots to swear allegiance to him as their overlord. In 1292, it was decided that John Balliol should become King of Scots. After John Balliol became King, Robert, 5th Lord of Annandale resigned the lordship of Annandale and his claim to the throne to his eldest son Robert de Brus, the father of Robert the Bruce. Around the same time, Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale’s wife Marjorie, Countess of Carrick died and the Earldom of Carrick, which Robert had ruled jure uxoris (by right of his wife), devolved upon their eldest son, Robert the Bruce. John Balliol proved weak and incapable, and in 1296 was forced to abdicate by Edward I, who then attempted to annex Scotland into the Kingdom of England. For ten years, there was no monarch of Scotland.

The Scots refused to tolerate English rule and the result was the Wars of Scottish Independence, a series of military campaigns fought between Scotland and England, first led by William Wallace and after his execution, led by Robert the Bruce. Robert the Bruce as Earl of Carrick and 7th Lord of Annandale, held estates and property in Scotland, a barony and some minor properties in England, and a strong claim to the throne of Scotland.

Notable figures in the first Scottish War of Independence, Detail from a frieze in the entrance hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; Photo Credit – By William Brassey Hole – CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32601439

On February 10, 1306, Robert the Bruce and his supporters killed a rival for the throne, John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries, Scotland. The bad blood between the two men went back far, and they had found it impossible to work together as Guardians of the Scotland. Shortly after, Robert and his followers went to Scone, the traditional coronation site of the Kings of Scots. On March 27, 1306, Robert the Bruce was proclaimed Robert I, King of Scots and the crown was placed on his head by Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan “in the presence and with the consent of four bishops, five earls, and with the consent of the people.” According to tradition, the ceremony of crowning the monarch was performed by a representative of Clan MacDuff.

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, crowns Robert the Bruce at Scone in 1306 from a modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Robert married two times. His first wife was Isabella of Mar, but she died before her husband became king. She was born about 1277 at Kildrummy Castle and was the daughter of Domhnall (Donald), 6th Earl of Mar and Elen the Younger ferch Llywelyn, an illegitimate daughter of the de facto Prince of Wales, Llywelyn Fawr (Llywelyn the Great), Prince of Gwynedd and Prince of Powys Wenwynwyn.

Isabella’s father was the Earl of Mar, in Gaelic, the Mormaer of Mar. A mormaer was a regional or provincial ruler, second only to the King of Scots, and more senior than a taoiseach or chieftain. Mormaers were equivalent to English earls. Mar was located in present-day Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Kildrummy Castle near Kildrummy in Aberdeenshire, Scotland was the Mar family seat.

After the death of Margaret, Maid of Norway in 1290, Domhnall, 6th Earl of Mar became one of the first Scottish nobles who supported the claim of Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick to the throne of Scotland. Domhnall saw a great advantage to his family if one of his daughters married Robert. In 1295, Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick and Isabella of Mar married. Shortly after the wedding, Isabella became pregnant. Nineteen-year-old Isabella had a healthy pregnancy, but died soon after giving birth to a daughter named Marjorie on December 12, 1296 at the Manor of Cardross in Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Isabella was buried at Paisley Abbey in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, but her tomb has not survived.

Robert the Bruce and Isabella of Mar

Isabella’s daughter, Princess Marjorie, once her father became Robert I, King of Scots in 1306, married Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland in 1315. On March 2, 1316, Marjorie, who was pregnant, was riding in Paisley, Renfrewshire. Her horse was suddenly startled and threw her to the ground. Marjorie went into premature labor and her child Robert was delivered by caesarean section at Paisley Abbey. Marjorie died within a few hours. She was 19-years-old at the time of her death, like her mother, who was the same age when she died in childbirth and like her mother, was also buried at Paisley Abbey. Her son became Robert II, King of Scots, the first monarch of the House of Stewart. Marjorie’s descendants include the House of Stuart, all their successors on the thrones of Scotland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, and many other European royal families.

Marjorie Bruce’s tomb in Paisley Abbey; Photo Credit – By © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47156391

Robert’s second marriage was to Elizabeth de Burgh, the third of the ten children of Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught and his wife Margaret, possibly his cousin Margaret de Burgh or Margaret de Guines. Elizabeth’s father Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught was one of the most powerful Irish nobles of his time. He was the friend and ally of King Edward I of England and ranked first among the Earls of Ireland. Elizabeth probably met Robert the Bruce, who was then the Earl of Carrick, at the English court. Today, Earl of Carrick, which came from the family of Robert’s mother, is one of the titles of the eldest living son and heir-apparent of the British sovereign. Along with Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick was one of the traditional titles of the eldest living son and heir-apparent of the throne of Scotland. When King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England, the Scottish titles came along with him.

Robert the Bruce and Elizabeth de Burgh; Credit – Wikipedia

Elizabeth de Burgh and Robert married at Writtle, near Chelmsford, Essex, England in 1302 when Elizabeth would have been about 18-years-old and Robert would have been about 28-years-old. In 1306, when her husband became King of Scots and Elizabeth de Burgh became Queen of Scots, she did not think she would be queen for long because she feared her husband would be defeated by Edward I. She supposedly said, “Alas, we are but king and queen of the May! ” Both Robert the Bruce and John Comyn had swore fealty to King Edward I of England. When Edward I heard that John Comyn had been murdered, he vowed “by the God of Heaven and these swans” to avenge Comyn’s death and the treachery of the Scots. On his demand, his knights took a similar oath, and they were sent off to Scotland to seek revenge.

In Scotland, Robert I, King of Scots was already engaged in a civil war with the family and friends of the murdered John Comyn. His coronation had given him some legitimacy, but his position was very uncertain. By the middle of June 1306, the English were in Perth, Scotland and were joined by supporters of John Comyn. Robert, abiding by the conventions of feudal warfare, invited the English commander to leave the walls of Perth and join him in battle, but the English commander declined to do so. Robert, believing that the English refusal to accept his challenge was a sign of weakness, moved his forces a few miles to nearby Methven, where he made camp for the night. Before dawn on June 19, 1306, Robert’s army was taken by surprise and almost destroyed. Robert barely escaped and fled with a few followers to the Scottish Highlands.

Elizabeth was not so lucky. After the Battle of Methven, under the protection of his brother Niall, Robert sent Elizabeth, his daughter Marjorie from his first marriage, his sisters Mary and Christina and Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan (who had crowned him) to Kildrummy Castle, the seat of the Earls of Mar, the family of his first wife Isabella of Mar. The English besieged Kildrummy Castle and Niall Bruce and all the men of the castle were hanged, drawn, and quartered. However, the women had escaped and sought sanctuary at St. Duthac’s Chapel in Tain, Scotland. The sanctuary was breached by William, Earl of Ross who had the women arrested and handed over to the English.

King Edward I of England sent his hostages to different places in England. Marjorie went to the convent at Watton, Yorkshire and her aunt Christina Bruce was sent to another convent. Marjorie’s aunt Mary Bruce and Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan were imprisoned in wooden cages and exposed to public view. Mary’s cage was at Roxburgh Castle and Isabella’s was at Berwick Castle. Marjorie, Mary, and Christina were finally set free around 1314 – 1315, probably in exchange for English noblemen captured after the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. There is no mention of Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan in the records, so she probably died in captivity.

 The punishment of Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan

Queen Elizabeth’s punishment was lighter than that of the other women because King Edward I needed the support of her father, the powerful Earl of Ulster. She was imprisoned for eight years by the English and was moved around quite a bit, being held captive in English manor houses, castles, and abbeys. After the Scots’ victory at the Battle of Bannockburn where they routed the English in June 1314, Elizabeth was moved to York while prisoner exchange talks took place and where she had an audience with King Edward II of England who had succeeded his father in 1307. Finally, in November 1314, she was moved to Carlisle, close to the Scots border, just before the exchange and her return to Scotland.  Because of the turmoil in Scotland and Elizabeth’s imprisonment, Robert and Elizabeth did not have any children until after her return to Scotland in 1314.

Elizabeth de Burgh and Robert had four children:

    • Margaret (born between 1315 and 1323 – March 30, 1346), William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland, had one son John who died of the plague at age 20, Margaret died in childbirth
    • Matilda (born between 1315 and 1323 – July 30, 1353), married Thomas Isaac, had two daughters
    • David II, King of Scots (March 5, 1324 – February 22, 1371), twin of John, married (1) Joan of The Tower, daughter of King Edward II of England, no issue (2) Margaret Drummond, no issue
    • John (March 5, 1324 – before 1327), younger twin of David, died young

While Elizabeth and the other women were held as hostages by King Edward I and then by his son King Edward II, Robert continued his fight for Scottish independence. After being in hiding for nearly a year in the Scottish Highlands following his defeat at the Battle of Methven, Robert came out of hiding and defeated the English at the Battle of Loudon Hill on May 10, 1307. During the following two years, Robert won back most of the country. His forces continued to grow in strength, encouraged in part by the death of King Edward I in July 1307. Raids into northern England took place in 1312-1313. The decisive Battle of Bannockburn, a landmark in Scottish history, took place near Stirling, Scotland on June 24, 1314. Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. King Edward II of England, who was at the battle, assembled a formidable force to stop the siege. This attempt failed, and Edward II’s army was defeated by a smaller army commanded by Robert the Bruce.

 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce’s statue at the battlefield

In 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath was sent by a group of Scottish nobles to the Pope affirming Scottish independence from England. Two similar declarations were also sent by the Scottish clergy and then by Robert the Bruce. In 1327, Edward II of England was deposed and killed. An invasion of northern England by Robert the Bruce forced King Edward III of England to sign the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton on May 1, 1328. The treaty recognized the full independence of the Kingdom of Scotland, and acknowledged Robert the Bruce, and his heirs and successors, as the rightful rulers. To further seal the peace, Robert’s son and heir, the future David II, King of Scots, married the sister of Edward III, Joan of the Tower.

Robert’s wife Elizabeth de Burgh died on October 27, 1327 at Cullen Castle in Banffshire, Scotland, aged about 43-years-old. She was buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the resting place of many Kings and Queens of Scots.

Robert had been suffering from a serious illness from at least 1327. Chronicles from the time state that he was said to have contracted and died of leprosy and that he was a victim of “la grosse maladie”, which is usually taken to mean leprosy. Historians have disagreed with the leprosy diagnosis with claims that there does not seem to be any evidence as to what the king himself or his physicians believed his illness to be, nor is there any evidence of an attempt in his last years to segregate Robert in any way from friends, family, courtiers, or foreign diplomats as would have been done if Robert had leprosy.

However, research of Robert the Bruce’s skull and the reconstruction of his face released in December 2016 by a collaboration between historians from the University of Glasgow and craniofacial experts from Liverpool John Moores University, shows that his skull shows the signs of leprosy, including a disfigured jaw and nose. Professor Caroline Wilkinson, director of the Face Lab at LJMU, who also reconstructed the face of Richard III, said: “We could accurately establish the muscle formation from the ­positions of the skull bones to determine the shape and structure of the face. We produced two versions – one without leprosy and one with a mild representation of leprosy. He may have had ­leprosy, but if he did it is likely that it did not manifest strongly on his face.”

Facial reconstructions of Robert the Bruce; Photo Credit – Liverpool John Moores University https://www.ljmu.ac.uk

Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots survived his wife by only 19 months. He died at the age of 54 on June 7, 1329 at the Manor of Cardross, near Dumbarton, Scotland. He was succeeded by his five-year-old son David II, King of Scots. Robert’s funeral procession was led by a line of knights dressed in black which included Robert’s 13-year-old grandson, Robert Stewart, the future Robert II, King of Scots, the son of his daughter Marjorie Bruce.  Robert was buried at Dunfermline Abbey next to his wife in a vault in front of the high altar. A monument, made in Paris of gilded marble, was erected over the vault. Because he had been denied the chance to participate in a crusade, Robert ordered that his heart be removed and taken to the Holy Land. This was to be done by Sir James Douglas, one of the chief commanders during the Wars of Scottish Independence, but Sir James and his companions were killed in Spain on the way to the Holy Land. Robert’s heart was then brought back to Scotland and buried at Melrose Abbey in Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland.

Modern marker for the site of the burial of the heart of Robert the Bruce at Melrose Abbey; Photo Credit – By Otter at nl.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3378812

In 1560, Dunfermline Abbey was sacked by the Calvinists during the Scottish Reformation and Elizabeth and Robert’s tomb was destroyed. During construction work on the new abbey in 1819, Robert’s coffin was discovered and then Elizabeth’s coffin was rediscovered in 1917. Both coffins were re-interred in the new abbey.

Victorian brass plate covering the tomb of Robert Bruce and Elizabeth de Burgh; Photo Credit – By Otter – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5117548

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael. British Kings & Queens. 1st ed. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998. Print.
  • “Battle Of Bannockburn”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
  • “Battle Of Methven”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Dodson, Aidan. The Royal Tombs Of Great Britain. 1st ed. London: Duckworth, 2004. Print.
  • “Elizabeth De Burgh”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • “First War Of Scottish Independence”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
  • “Is This The Face Of Robert The Bruce?”. Ljmu.ac.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
  • “Isabella Of Mar”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
  • “Robert The Bruce”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Sarah Knapton,. “Face Of Robert The Bruce Reconstructed Showing Scottish King Had Leprosy”. The Telegraph. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

The eldest of the three daughters and the third of the five children of King John of England and Isabella of Angoulême, Joan was born on July 22, 1210.

Joan had four siblings:

13th-century depiction of King John and his legitimate children, (l to r) Henry, Richard, Isabella, Eleanor, and Joan; Credit – Wikipedia

Being the eldest daughter of a king, Joan soon had royal suitors vying for her hand in marriage. King Philip II of France wanted Joan as a bride for one of his sons, but in 1214, when Joan was four years old, King John promised Joan to Hugh X de Lusignan, Count of La Marche. When Joan’s mother Isabella of Angoulême was 12 years old, she was betrothed to the same Hugh X de Lusignan. This marriage would have joined La Marche and Angoulême, and the de Lusignan family would then control a vast, rich and strategic territory between the two Plantagenet strongholds, Bordeaux and Poitier. To prevent this threat, King John of England decided to marry Isabella himself. Therefore, by promising his daughter in marriage to Hugh, King John was compensating Hugh for jilting him out of marrying Isabelle. In 1214, Joan was sent to be brought up at Hugh’s court until the marriage.

When she was six years old, Joan’s father King John died on October 18, 1216, leaving his eldest son Henry, a nine year old, to inherit his throne in the midst of the First Barons’ War (1215–17), in which a group of rebellious barons supported by a French army, made war on King John because of his refusal to accept and abide by the Magna Carta. In July of 1217, Joan’s mother Isabella left her son, King Henry III of England, in the care of his regent, William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and returned to France to assume control of her inheritance, the County of Angoulême. There, Isabella once again met her jilted fiancé Hugh de Lusignan, now the 10th Count of La Marche. Upon seeing Isabella once again, Hugh decided that he preferred Joan’s still beautiful mother over her daughter. Isabella and Hugh married on May 10, 1220, and on May 15, 1220, Joan was sent back to England where negotiations for her a marriage with Alexander II, King of Scots were taking place.

Great Seal of Alexander II, King of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Twelve years older than Joan, Alexander II, King of Scots was the only son of William I, King of Scots (the Lion) and had become King of Scots in 1214 when he was sixteen years old. On June 21, 1221, at York Minster in York, England, eleven-year-old Joan married 23-year-old Alexander. Alexander’s court was dominated by his mother Dowager Queen Ermengarde and therefore, Joan’s position was not strong. Joan and Alexander never had any children, which left Alexander without an heir, a major issue for any king. An annulment of the marriage was risky as it could provoke war with England.

Joan accompanied her husband to York, England in September 1237 for talks with her brother King Henry III of England regarding the borders between Scotland and England. In York, Joan and her sister-in-law Eleanor of Provence agreed to make a pilgrimage to Thomas Becket’s shrine in Canterbury. The contemporary chronicler Matthew Paris suggests that Joan and Alexander had become estranged and that Joan wished to spend more time in England. While in England, Joan became ill and died in the arms of her brothers King Henry III and Richard, Earl of Cornwall at Havering-atte-Bower, near London, England on March 4, 1238 at the age of 27. At her request, Joan was buried at Tarrant Abbey in Tarrant Crawford, Dorset, England. In 1252, King Henry III ordered “an image of our sister” to be made and set over her tomb, but no trace of the tomb exists. It is thought that Joan is now buried, supposedly in a golden coffin, in the graveyard of St. Mary the Virgin Church, an unused church, and all that remains of Tarrant Abbey.

St. Mary the Virgin Church; Photo Credit – By ChurchCrawler, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9186803

Wikipedia: Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

Works Cited
“Alexander II of Scotland.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Dec. 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016.
“Joan of England, queen of Scotland.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Oct. 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016.
Susan. “Isabella of Angoulême, queen of England.” British Royals. Unofficial Royalty, 23 Aug. 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Margaret of England, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Margaret of England, Queen of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Born at Windsor Castle on September 29, 1240, Margaret was the second of the five children of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence. She was named after maternal aunt Margaret of Provence, Queen of France and St. Margaret of Antioch, patron saint of pregnant women. Eleanor of Provence had prayed to St. Margaret of Antioch during Margaret’s difficult birth.

Margaret had four siblings:

King Henry III of England (top) and his children, (l to r) Edward, Margaret, Beatrice, Edmund and Katherine; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1244, Margaret’s father King Henry III of England met with King Alexander II of Scotland in Newcastle, England for peace negotiations. King Alexander II’s first wife had been King Henry III’s sister Joan, so there was a family relationship. Alexander II’s marriage to Joan had been childless, but he had one child, Alexander, with his second wife Marie de Coucy. The two kings decided that their two children should marry, and so Margaret was betrothed that same year to Alexander. Alexander’s father died on July 8, 1249 and he became King Alexander III at the age of seven.

Coronation of King Alexander III on Moot Hill, Scone from a late medieval manuscript of the Scottichronicon by Walter Bower; Credit – Wikipedia

On December 26, 1251 at York Minster in York, England, 11-year-old Margaret became Queen of Scots when she married 10-year-old King Alexander III. The wedding celebrations were festive and attended by many people including 1,000 English and 600 Scottish knights. The young couple remained in York for a month before traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Young Margaret was lonely and uncomfortable in her new home. Because of Margaret and Alexander’s young age, the marriage was not consummated for some time. Margaret complained to her parents that she was not allowed to live with her husband and was held in an almost captive-like situation. A visit back to England to see her mother was not allowed. Queen Eleanor then sent Reginald of Bath to her daughter, who confirmed her depressed state. In 1255, King Henry III of England sent envoys to Scotland demanding better conditions for his daughter. It was agreed that as Margaret and Alexander were now fourteen, they should be allowed to consummate their marriage and that Margaret would be allowed to travel regularly to England. In 1261, Margaret and Alexander’s first child, a daughter also named Margaret, was born at Windsor Castle in England while Margaret was on a visit to her parents.

Margaret and Alexander had three children:

Margaret and her husband attended the coronation of her brother King Edward I of England on August 19, 1274 at Westminster Abbey, but Margaret only lived for six more months. At the age of 34, she died on February 26, 1275 at Cupar Castle in Fife, Scotland and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland where many Scottish royals were buried.

Wikipedia: Margaret of England, Queen of Scots

Works Cited
Abrufstatistik. “Margarete von England.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 Dec. 2016.
“Alexander III of Scotland.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Dec. 2016. Web. 24 Dec. 2016.
“Margaret of England.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Nov. 2016. Web. 24 Dec. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Joan of the Tower, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Joan was born at the Tower of London, hence her name, on July 5, 1321. She was the youngest daughter and the youngest of the four children of King Edward II of England and Isabella of France.

Joan had three older siblings:

In 1328, England and Scotland signed the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton. The treaty formally ended the First War of Scottish Independence, which had begun with King Edward I of England’s invasion of Scotland in 1296. The treaty was signed in Edinburgh by Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots and then the English Parliament ratified the treaty in Northampton. One of the terms of the treaty was that six-year-old Joan would marry Robert the Bruce’s heir, four-year-old David, and because of this Joan was known as “Joan Makepeace”. The very young couple married on July 17, 1328 at Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost town in England, 2 ½ miles from the border with Scotland. Although the couple was married for 34 years, they had no children.

Less than a year after the wedding, Robert the Bruce died, and Joan’s husband became King David II of Scots. Joan and David were crowned and anointed on November 24, 1331 at Scone, the traditional coronation site of the Kings of Scots. Unfortunately, the peace of the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton did not last long. The Second War of Scottish Independence started in 1332. After the 1333 Battle of Halidon Hill in which the Scots were soundly defeated by Joan’s brother King Edward III of England, Joan and David were sent to France for their safety. Very little is known about their life in France. King Philippe VI of France, the cousin of Joan’s mother, granted the couple the use of Château Gaillard, built by King Richard I of England to defend his Duchy of Normandy.

Joan and David with Philippe VI of France in a miniature from Froissart’s Chronicles; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1341, the situation improved in Scotland and David and Joan returned. Five years later, under the terms of an alliance between Scotland and France, David invaded England which was involved in a war with France in Normandy. During the Battle of Neville’s Cross in October of 1346, the Scots were routed and David was captured by the English.

David was imprisoned from 1346 – 1357, first at the Tower of London and then at Odiham Castle in Hampshire. King Edward III offered to release David three times for a ransom if the childless David accepted one of Edward III’s sons as his heir to the throne of Scotland. David rejected all three offers. In 1357, David was released in return for a ransom of 100,000 marks, approximately £15 million today.

Joan was allowed to see her husband while he was imprisoned, but after his release, she decided to remain in England. Joan’s mother Isabella of France had been under house arrest since 1330 because of her part in deposing her husband King Edward II with her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. Joan nursed her mother during her final illness in 1358.

Joan, aged 41, died of the plague at Hertford Castle in England on September 7, 1362. She was buried at Christ Church Greyfriars in London where her mother had been buried. The church suffered much damage during King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries and many of the tombs were destroyed. During the Great Fire of London in 1666, the medieval church was completely destroyed.

Wikipedia: Joan of the Tower

Works Cited
“Christ church Greyfriars.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Nov. 2016. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.
“David II of Scotland.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.
“Joan of the tower.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.
queens. “Jeanne d’Angleterre (1321-1362).” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 13 July 1321.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Mary, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

by François Clouet, circa 1559

Mary, Queen of Scots was born on December 8, 1542 at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland. She was the third and the only surviving child of James V, King of Scots and his second wife Marie of Guise, a French princess. James V was the son of James IV, King of Scots and Margaret Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VII of England and the sister of King Henry VIII of England.

Mary’s parents, King James V of Scotland and Marie of Guise; Credit – Wikipedia

Mary had two brothers who died in infancy:

  • James, Duke of Rothesay (1540 – 1541)
  • Arthur, Duke of Albany (born and died April 1541)

Mary had nine half-siblings via her father’s mistresses:

The year before Mary’s birth, her grandmother Margaret Tudor died and her father 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 raised an army and attacked England. 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 in Scotland 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 and was succeeded by his only surviving, legitimate child, six-day-old Mary.

James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, a great grandson of James II, King of Scots and the heir to the Scots throne, became Regent. On September 9, 1543, Mary was crowned at Stirling Castle. 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 – 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.

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 stayed in Scotland, but Mary was accompanied by her own court including John Erskine, 5th Lord Erskine, two of her illegitimate half-brothers, and the “The Four Marys”, four girls her own age, all named Mary, who were the daughters of Scottish nobles: Mary Beaton, Mary Fleming, Mary Livingston, and Mary Seaton.  Also accompanying Mary was Janet Stewart, Lady Fleming, the mother of Mary Fleming and an illegitimate daughter of King James IV of Scotland, who was Mary’s governess.

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

Mary’s education was completed in France where she studied French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish along with music, dancing, singing, drawing and needlework. Antoinette de Bourbon, Duchess of Guise, Mary’s maternal grandmother, had a great influence on her granddaughter and was one of her principal advisors. On April 24, 1558, Mary married François, Dauphin of France outside Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. In November of 1558, Catholic Queen Mary I of England died and was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Queen Elizabeth I. King Henry VIII’s will excluded the descendants of his sister Margaret from the succession. However, many Catholics considered Mary to be the rightful heir to the English throne.

On June 30, 1559, King Henri II of France was mortally wounded in a jousting match.  He died on July 10, 1559 and Mary’s husband 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, aged 16, died in great pain on December 5, 1560, possibly from mastoiditis, meningitis, or otitis which turned into an abscess. Left a childless widow, Mary decided to return to Scotland. Her mother, who became Regent of Scotland in 1554, had died in June of 1560. 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 continued to have Mass celebrated in her private chapel and did not interfere with the new reformed religion that the Scottish Parliament had established four years earlier. John Knox preached against Mary, condemning her for hearing Mass, dancing, and dressing too elaborately. Mary’s Protestant illegitimate half-brother James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray became the chief advisor to his sister.

Mary, Queen of Scots in white mourning for her first husband, circa 1559–1560; Credit – Wikipedia

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. Darnley was the son of Lady Margaret Douglas, Margaret Tudor’s only child from her second marriage to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. Mary and Darnley married at Holyrood Palace 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 King James VI of Scotland/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, Darnley was killed when the house he was staying at was blown up.

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, 1566; Credit – Wikipedia

In April of 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 was married, divorced his wife on May 3, 1567 and then 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. The Earl of Moray was made Regent for his nephew and Bothwell was driven into exile. He was imprisoned in Denmark, became insane, and died in 1578.

In 1568, Mary escaped from her imprisonment at Loch Leven Castle. After being defeated at the Battle of Langside by the forces of her half-brother, the Earl of Moray, Mary was forced to flee to England, where she was subsequently imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth I of England. She was first taken to Carlisle Castle and then moved to Bolton Castle because it was further from the Scottish border. Mary was moved from castle to castle, all of which were in the interior of England and away from the sea for security reasons.

Mary in captivity, 1578; Credit – Wikipedia

In August of 1586, Mary was implicated in the Babington Plot, a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. Shortly afterward, Mary was moved to her final place of imprisonment, Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire where King Richard III of England had been born. In October of 1586, Mary was tried for treason. She protested that as a foreign anointed queen she had never been an English subject and therefore could not be convicted of treason. On October 25, 1586, Mary was convicted of treason and condemned to death.

Drawing of the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots in the Great Hall at Fotheringay Castle, 1586; Credit – Wikipedia

Elizabeth I was reluctant to sign the death warrant of an anointed queen as she felt it would set a bad precedent and feared that Mary’s son James VI, King of Scots, now 20 years old, would form an alliance and invade England. However, on February 1, 1587, Elizabeth signed the death warrant. Having just found out she was to be executed the next day, Mary spent her final night praying in Fotherighay Castle’s small chapel. She was beheaded on a scaffold in the Great Hall of Fotheringay Castle on February 8, 1587. Mary was 44 years old and had spent the last nineteen years of her life imprisoned in English castles.

Execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, from Robert Beale’s The Order and Manner of the Execution of Mary Queen of Scots, Feb. 8, 1587; Credit – Wikipedia

Mary had requested to be buried in France, but Elizabeth I denied the request. Her remains were embalmed, put in a lead coffin, and left in Fotheringhay Castle until August 1, 1587 when they were buried at Peterborough Cathedral where Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife had been buried.

Copy of Mary’s death mask at Falkland Palace in Scotland; By Kim Traynor – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21201424

In 1603, as Queen Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudors lay dying, she gave her assent that Mary, Queen of Scots’ son James VI, King of Scots, should succeed her. By primogeniture, James was the next in line to the English throne. Elizabeth died on March 24, 1603. Now James I, King of England and James VI, King of Scots, James entered London on May 7, 1603 and his coronation was held on July 25, 1603. In 1612, Mary’s remains were exhumed upon the orders of her son and were reburied in a marble tomb with a beautiful effigy in Westminster Abbey in a chapel directly across the aisle from the chapel containing the tomb of Queen Elizabeth I. Mary, Queen of Scots is a descendant of the current British royal family and many other European royal families.

Tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots in Westminster Abbey; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Mary, Queen of Scots

Works Cited
“Fotheringhay castle.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Sept. 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
“Mary, queen of Scots.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Susan. “King James VI of Scotland/king James I of England.” British Royals. Unofficial Royalty, 29 Aug. 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

James V, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

by Corneille de Lyon, circa 1536; Credit – Wikipedia

James V, King of Scots was born at Linlithgow Palace in Linlithgowshire, Scotland on April 10, 1512. He was the third of the four sons of James IV, King of Scots and Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV of England. At his birth, James became Duke of Rothesay and Steward of Scotland, traditional titles of the eldest son of the King of Scots as his two elder brothers James and Arthur had died in infancy. James had one younger brother who also died in infancy and two stillborn sisters.

James IV, King of Scots and Margaret Tudor; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1509, James’ maternal grandfather King Henry VII of England died and was succeeded by James’ uncle King Henry VIII. Despite the great hopes of peace between England and Scotland as symbolized by the marriage of Margaret Tudor and James IV, King of Scots, 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 James IV was killed in the battle and 17-month-old James succeeded his father as James V, King of Scots.

James V was crowned on September 21, 1513 at Stirling Castle. Under the terms of James IV’s will, Margaret was the regent for her son as long as she did not remarry. While the Scottish Parliament had confirmed Margaret as regent, many were unhappy with an English female regent and sought to replace Margaret with John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, grandson of King James II of Scotland, the closest male relative to the infant king, and the heir presumptive to the throne. Margaret sought an ally with the pro-English House of Douglas. On August 6, 1514, Margaret secretly married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. The marriage stirred up the jealousy of the nobles and the opposition of the faction supporting French influence in Scotland. Civil war broke out, and Margaret lost the regency to John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany. Margaret fled to England where she lived until 1517 when she returned to Scotland.

James V was educated by leading scholars and ranked among the best-educated rulers at that time.  His tutors included Gavin Dunbar, Dean of Moray, later Archbishop of Glasgow; the poet John Bellenden; the poet Sir David Lyndsay, Lyon King of Arms; and James Inglis, Abbot of Culross.

In the autumn of 1524, James V dismissed his regents and was proclaimed an adult ruler by his mother. However, James V remained under the control of his stepfather Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, Margaret Tudor’s second husband. In 1528, James finally escaped from Angus’ control and assumed the control of the government. James V then spent some time limiting the role of Scottish nobles.

The 1517 Treaty of Rouen, signed after the Battle of Flodden, stated that King James V of Scotland was to marry a French princess. When King James V reached a marriageable age, talks began regarding a marriage with Madeleine of Valois, daughter of King François I of France and Claude, Duchess of Brittany. However, Madeleine’s ill health was an issue and another French bride, Mary of Bourbon, was offered as a substitute. When James V came to France to meet Mary of Bourbon, he met Madeleine and decided to marry her. Because of his daughter’s health issues, François I was reluctant to agree to the marriage, but eventually he did so. Madeleine and King James V of Scotland were married on January 1, 1537 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The couple arrived in Scotland on May 19, 1537 after months of celebrations in France, with Madeleine’s health having further deteriorated. Madeleine wrote a letter to her father on June 8, 1537 saying that she was feeling better and that her symptoms had subsided. Despite this, on July 7, 1537, Madeleine died in her husband’s arms, a month short of her seventeenth birthday.

Madeleine of Valois by Corneille de Lyon; Credit – Wikipedia

On May 18, 1538 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, less than a year after the death of his first wife, James V married again. The marriage was a proxy marriage with Robert Maxwell, 4th Lord Maxwell standing in for the groom. James V’s second bride was Marie of Guise, the eldest daughter of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, head of the House of Guise, and his wife Antoinette de Bourbon. Marie had been previously married to Louis II d’Orléans, Duke of Longueville for three years before he died. Marie had one surviving son, three-year-old François, whom she was forced to leave in France as he had succeeded his father as Duke of Longueville. James V and Marie married in person at St. Andrews on June 12, 1538.

James V and Marie of Guise; Credit – Wikipedia

James V and Marie had two sons and one daughter, but their sons died in infancy:

James V had at least nine illegitimate children:

When his mother Margaret Tudor 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, 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.

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James V’s vault at Holyrood Abbey; Photo Credit – www.findagrave.com

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Sign on James V’s vault at Holyrood Abbey; Photo Credit – www.findagrave.com

Wikipedia: James V, King of Scots

Works Cited
“Battle of Solway Moss.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 28 July 2016. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
“James V of Scotland.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Oct. 2016. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
Susan. “Margaret Tudor. Queen of Scots.” English Royals. Unofficial Royalty, 29 Nov. 2016. Web.
“Mary of guise.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Oct. 2016. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
Susan. “Madeleine of Valois, queen of Scots.” Scottish Royals. Unofficial Royalty, 6 July 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland

by Susan Flantzer

by Daniel Mytens; Credit – Wikipedia

The highborn and noble princess Lady Margaret, known better as Margaret Tudor, was born at the Palace of Westminster on November 28, 1489. She was the eldest daughter and the second of the eight children of King Henry VII of England, the first Tudor monarch, and Elizabeth of York, the eldest child of King Edward IV of England. Margaret was christened the day after her birth at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster. Her godparents were her paternal grandmother Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, whom she was named after, and John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury. Unlike her older brother Arthur, Prince of Wales, who lived in his own household, Margaret spent most of her childhood with her siblings.

Margaret had six siblings:

Henry VII’s family: At left, Henry VII, with Arthur, Prince of Wales behind him, then Henry (later Henry VIII), and Edmund, who did not survive early childhood. To the right is Elizabeth of York, with Margaret, then Elizabeth who didn’t survive childhood, Mary, and Katherine, who died shortly after her birth; Credit – Wikipedia

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. 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 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.

In 1501, Margaret’s elder brother Arthur, Prince of Wales had married Catherine of Aragon, the youngest daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Five months later, on April 2, 1502, 15-year-old Arthur was dead, probably of the sweating sickness, and his family was devastated. Shortly after Arthur’s death, Margaret’s mother Elizabeth became pregnant again and hoped for a son. Elizabeth spent that year preparing her daughter Margaret for her role as Queen of Scotland. In early 1503, Elizabeth spent her confinement at the Tower of London. On February 2, 1503, she gave birth to a daughter, Katherine. Shortly after giving birth, Elizabeth became ill with puerperal fever (childbed fever) and died on February 11, 1503, her 37th birthday. Little Katherine died on February 18, 1503.

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

In June of 1503, just a few months after her mother’s death, 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

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 bloodstained coat of his defeated and dead brother-in-law.

King James IV of Scotland; Credit – Wikipedia

Margaret’s seventeen-month-old son succeeded his father as King James V of Scotland. Under the terms of James IV’s will, Margaret was the regent for her son as long as she did not remarry. On April 30, 1514, Margaret gave birth to a son Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross who died on December 18, 1515. While the Scottish Parliament had confirmed Margaret as regent, many were unhappy with an English female regent and sought to replace Margaret with John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, grandson of King James II of Scotland, the closest male relative to the infant king, and the heir presumptive to the throne after the death of Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross.

Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus; Credit – Wikipedia

Margaret sought an ally with the pro-English House of Douglas. On August 6, 1514, Margaret secretly married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. The marriage stirred up the jealousy of the nobles and the opposition of the faction supporting French influence in Scotland. Civil war broke out, and Margaret lost the regency to John Stewart, Duke of Albany. Margaret and Douglas escaped to England where she gave birth to their only child at Harbottle Castle in Northumberland, England. It was while in the north of England that Margaret learned of the death of her son Alexander, Duke of Ross.

Daughter of Margaret and Archibald Douglas:

Margaret Douglas; Credit – Wikipedia

Sometime after the birth of her daughter, Margaret and her husband went to London where they were well treated by her brother Henry VIII and lived in Scotland Yard, the traditional residence of the Scottish diplomats and Scottish kings when they visited English royalty. In 1517, Margaret returned to Scotland hoping to regain her dower (a provision accorded by law, but traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support in the event that she should survive her husband) and also to regain access to her son James V, but she was unsuccessful in both pursuits. After returning to Scotland, it soon became clear that Margaret’s marriage with Archibald Douglas was on the rocks. He lived openly with his mistresses, gave them gifts paid for with Margaret’s money, and separated Margaret from her daughter. On March 11, 1527, Pope Clement VII granted Margaret a divorce from Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.

On March 3, 1528, Margaret married Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven to the consternation of her brother King Henry VIII who insisted that marriage was “divinely ordained” and protested against the “shameless sentence sent from Rome.” Ironically, a few years later Henry VIII would seek to end his marriage with Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. Margaret and Stewart had one daughter who died young. Stewart was proving himself to be even worse than Margaret’s second husband in his desire both for other women and for Margaret’s money. Margaret tried to divorce Stewart, but her son James V blocked the proceedings and Margaret felt that Stewart had bribed her son. Margaret often wrote to her brother Henry VIII about her plight, but he never helped her. In 1537, Margaret tried to escape to England, but was brought back to Methven Castle where she lived until her death.

Methven Castle; By Arthur Bruce, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=482685

After suffering a stroke, Margaret died at Methven Castle on October 18, 1541, at the age of 51. On her deathbed, Margaret asked her second husband Archibald Douglas to forgive her for having divorced him, telling him that he was her lawful husband and that their marriage was valid. It is not clear whether her motivation was actually regret or an attempt to ensure the legitimacy of her daughter Margaret Douglas to preserve her position in the line of succession to the English throne. Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland was buried at the Carthusian Charterhouse in Perth, Scotland. Her tomb was destroyed and her remains were burned on May 11, 1559 when a mob of Calvinists attacked and destroyed the charterhouse.  When the Tudor line died out with the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1603, it was Margaret’s great-grandson King James VI of Scotland who succeeded to the English throne as King James I.

Monument marking the site of the Perth Charterhouse; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland

Works Cited
Abrufstatistik. “Margaret Tudor.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 2006. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.
De Lisle, Leanda. Tudor. Philadelphia: Perseus Books Group, 2013. Print.
“James IV of Scotland.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.
“Margaret Tudor.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Anne of Denmark, Queen of Scots, Queen of England

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Princess Anne of Denmark (Anna in Danish) was born at Skanderborg Castle on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark on October 12, 1574. She was the second of the eight children of King Frederik II of Denmark and Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. Anne had seven siblings:

Anne spent the first part of her childhood with her sister Elisabeth and her brother Christian in Güstrow with her maternal grandparents Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg- Güstrow and
Elisabeth of Denmark, sister of King Christian III of Denmark, the children’s paternal grandfather. In 1588, Anne’s father died and her 11-year-old brother became King Christian IV, and the three children returned to Denmark. King Christian IV reigned for 59 years and is the longest reigning Danish monarch.

Anne was 14 years old when she returned to Denmark and candidates for her hand in marriage were numerous as the Danish court was considered wealthy and a high dowry was expected. Anna’s mother opted for the Scottish King James VI, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. On August 20, 1589, Anne was married by proxy to James VI, King of Scots at Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, Denmark. Ten days after the proxy wedding, Anne set sail for Scotland, but severe storms forced her to land in Norway. Upon hearing this, James set sail to personally bring Anne to Scotland. On November 23, 1589, the couple was formally married at the Bishop’s Palace in Oslo, Norway. After a prolonged visit to Denmark, James and Anne landed in Scotland on May 1, 1590. On May 5, 1590, Anne made her state entry into Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. She was crowned Queen of Scots on May 17, 1590 at the Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh.

James and Anne had seven children and at least three miscarriages. Only three of their children survived childhood:

by Charles Turner, published by Samuel Woodburn, after Willem de Passe, mezzotint, published 1814

‘James I and his royal progeny’ by Charles Turner, published by Samuel Woodburn, after Willem de Passe mezzotint, published 1814 NPG D9808 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Although Anne and James were close at the beginning of their marriage, their relationship deteriorated during the years. Their first major argument was over the transfer of the custody of their firstborn Henry, Prince of Wales to John Erskine, Earl of Mar at Stirling Castle, in keeping with Scottish royal tradition, led to an estrangement and a competition for the custody of the Prince of Wales. Courtiers noticed a number of incidents of marital discord including a three-year rift when Anne refused to dismiss two of her ladies-in-waiting after their brothers were killed by James’ attendants for a supposed assault on the king, and a confrontation when Anne shot and killed James’ favorite dog during a hunting session.

On March 24, 1603, Queen Elizabeth I of England died and James became King James I of England. Since none of the children of King Henry VIII had children, James was the senior heir of King Henry VII through his eldest daughter Margaret Tudor. (King Henry VII → Margaret Tudor married King James IV of Scotland → King James V of Scotland → Mary, Queen of Scots → King James VI of Scotland). Anne was pregnant when Queen Elizabeth died, so James set out for England without her. Anne miscarried the child in May 1603, and joined James in England when she had recovered. James and Anne were crowned King and Queen of England at Westminster Abbey on July 25, 1603. Religion provided another conflict. Although Anne was raised a Lutheran, she refused to take Communion during the Church of England coronation at Westminster Abbey. There were suspicions that Anne secretly converted to Roman Catholicism which put James in an awkward situation as King of England.

Anne’s expensive tastes in clothing and jewels contributed much to the English court’s costs and this hurt James’ reputation. After 1606, Anne and James lived mostly apart, with Anne residing largely at Somerset House, renamed Denmark House.  In 1612, 18-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales died from typhoid fever, which was a great tragedy for Anne and the entire nation. Anne could not bear to have Henry’s death mentioned and people were advised not to give her condolences. After her son’s death, Anne’s health began to deteriorate and she withdrew from social activities.

Anne in mourning for her son Henry, Prince of Wales; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

In 1616, the Queen’s House, designed by the famed architect Inigo Jones, was commissioned for Anne at Greenwich, London, but work on the house stopped in April 1618 when Anne became quite ill. Work did not restart again until 1629, when the house was given to Henrietta Maria of France by her husband King Charles I, and the house was completed in 1635.

The Queen’s House at Greenwich, begun for Anne in 1616; Photo Credit – Wikipedia, © Bill Bertram 2006, CC-BY-2.5 — Attribution

By 1617, Anne’s condition became debilitating. James visited Anne only three times during her last years, but her surviving son Charles was often with her and was at her bedside when Anne died at the age of 44 from dropsy (edema) at Hampton Court Palace on March 2, 1619. Also with Anne at her deathbed was her personal maid Anna Roos who came with Anne from Denmark in 1590. On May 13, 1619, Anne was buried at Westminster Abbey in a vault beneath the monument to the Dukes of Buckingham in the Henry VII Chapel. Her grave is marked by the inscription on the floor: “ANNE OF DENMARK QUEEN OF KING JAMES 1st 1619.” It had taken James twelve weeks to raise the money for proper funeral rites of his wife. James survived his wife by six years, dying on March 27, 1625 and was succeeded by his son King Charles I who was beheaded during the English Civil War.

Wikipedia: Anne of Denmark