Tag Archives: King James IV

On this day in 1541 – Margaret Tudor died

Margaret Tudor was born on 28th November 1489 at Westminster Palace she was the oldest surviving daughter of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Margaret was baptised in St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster.
As Margaret approached the age of six her father began to consider a marriage match between Margaret and the King James IV of Scotland in an attempt to secure a Scottish alliance and end the support that James had been giving Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne. The union was unpopular and the Italian historian, Polydore Vergil recorded that some of the council were concerned that it would bring the Scottish into the English succession. King Henry VII replied;
“What then? Should anything of the kind happen (and God avert the omen), I foresee that our realm would suffer no harm, since England would not be absorbed by Scotland, but rather Scotland by England, being the noblest head of the entire island, since there is always less glory and honour in being joined to that which is far the greater, just as Normandy once came under the rule and power of our ancestors the English.”
On 24th January 1502 the Treaty of Perpetual Peace was signed between the two countries and the marriage treaty was concluded on the same day. On 25th January 1503 the marriage was completed by proxy in the Queen’s great chamber at Richmond Palace with the Earl of Bothwell standing in for the Scottish King. Bothwell wore a gown made of cloth of gold and was accompanied by the Archbishop of Glasgow and the Postulate of Moray, Andrew Forman. Margaret was now considered the Queen of Scotland.
Now the Queen of Scotland, Margaret was provided a large wardrobe of clothes befitting her new status as well as state bed curtains made of crimson Italian silk embroidered with the Lancastrian red rose. In May 1503 King James confirmed that Margaret’s lands in Scotland would comprise of; Methven Castle, Doune Castle, Newark Castle, Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle as well as any income from the Earldom and Lordships of her land.
Margaret set of for her new life in Scotland on 27th June 1503 and was accompanied by an impressive progress that was led by King Henry VII until Collyweston. On 1st August Margaret was met by the Scottish court at Lamberton. On 4th August Margaret was comforted by her new husband after a fire broke out in the stables at Dalkeith Palace, which resulted in the death of some of her favourite horses. Just three days later on 7th August Margaret was carried in a litter from Dalkeith to Edinburgh.
The following day the marriage was celebrated in Holyrood Abbey with both Margaret and James present. The ceremony was presided over by the Archbishop of Glasgow and the Archbishop of York. Now officially married to James, Margaret undertook her first public engagement just two days later when she went to mass at St. Giles’ Cathedral. The couple would go on to have six children although only one survived infancy, the future King James V.

Margaret Tudor

Margaret Tudor

With Margaret’s brother, King Henry VIII, now on the throne of England the Treaty of Perpetual Peace soon broke down and with Henry away fighting in France, Scotland invaded England resulting in the death of King James IV. In his will he named Margaret as regent for their son, for as long as she remained a widow.
Margaret, now in charge of the country ruling in her infant son’s name soon came up against opposition, not only was she a women she was also the sister to their enemy and cries for her replacement soon began. The figurehead of their campaign was John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, the closest living male relative to the young King. Margaret was able to calm the calls for her to stand down and reunited the Scottish council; however, as she was doing that she turned to the House of Douglas for support and secretly married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus near Perth on 6th August 1514.Margaret refuses to hand her son over
Now no longer a widow by the end of August 1514 Margaret consented to the appointment of the Duke of Albany as the new regent of the country. The Scottish council also declared that with her new marriage she had also given up the rights to supervise her sons. In defiance to the ruling Margaret gathered her sons and fled to Stirling Castle. Margaret eventually surrendered her sons the following August to Albany, by now she was expecting another child with Douglas and they retired to Edinburgh.
Margaret obtained permission from the council to travel to Linlithgow and from there she fled back into England where she was greeted by Lord Dacre and was escorted to Harbottle Castle where she gave birth to her daughter, Lady Margaret Douglas. During her time at Harbottle Margaret was informed of the death of her youngest son, Alexander. It was also during this time that the relationship between Margaret and Douglas began to break down with Douglas returning to Scotland in an attempt to make peace with Albany and protect his lands, as outside of Scotland he had no real power.
Margaret, with her new born child, travelled on to London and the court of her brother, King Henry VIII, she was housed in Scotland Yard, the London residence of Scottish kings. A year later, in 1517, Margaret returned to Scotland following a new treaty between Albany, Henry and Cardinal Wolsey. The Dowager Queen of Scotland was met at the border by Sieur de la Bastie, Albany’s deputy and her husband. Shortly after returning to Scotland Margaret had discovered that her husband had been living with a former mistress, Lady Jane Stewart, in her home and using her money. In October 1518 Margaret wrote to her brother regarding the possibility of a divorce. Henry was strongly against the divorce on religious beliefs (this was before his own divorce to Katherine of Aragon) as well as the fact that Angus was an ally worth holding on to.
Margaret began to work closely with Albany and when Albany returned to Scotland in November 1521 they set about restoring order to Scotland. Angus by now had gone into exile and began to spread rumours regarding the relationship between Margaret and the Regent. However, in 1524, Margaret showed that her alliance with Albany was just political when she formed a party that set about removing the Regent altogether with the help of Arran and the Hamiltons, Margaret brought her son, King James V, to her in Edinburgh and it was declared that now James was 12 years of age he was able to rule in his own name and was granted full powers. In November of the same year Margaret was recognised by Parliament as the chief councillor to the King.
Angus returned from exile and the relationship broke down between Margaret and Angus so much that upon entering Edinburgh Margaret ordered cannons to be fired at him from both Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood House. He was finally admitted to the council in February 1525 where he seized custody of the King and held him for three years.
Margaret did all she could to resist the Angus’ attempts to rule through James and despite her previous coup remained in friendly contact with Albany who was in Rome working on achieving her divorce from Angus. Pope Clement VII granted the divorce in March 1527 but she was unaware of this until December of that year.
On 3rd March 1528 Margaret married for a third time to Henry Stewart. In June 1528 Margaret’s son, King James, was finally able to free himself from Angus and began ruling in his own name. James created his new step father Lord Methven and they became some of the leading advisors to the King. One of Margaret’s main aims was to bring about a stronger relationship between Scotland and England and attempted to arrange a meeting between James and Henry. Margaret wanted an event similar to the Field of Cloth of Gold but it never came to fruition as James refused to be ruled by others and was suspicious of Henry.
Margaret once again sought divorce from her latest husband and even attempted to flee back to England before she was intercepted and escorted back to Edinburgh. She would write to Henry complaining of poverty and sought his protection against her husband. In June 1538 Margaret welcomed her daughter in law, Mary of Guise, to Scotland. The two would have a good relationship and Mary ensured her mother in law was more comfortable making regular appearances at court with her husband, with whom she had reconciled.
Margaret died at Methven Castle, Perthshire on 18th October 1541. It was reported that she suffered a palsy but expected to recover and therefore made no will. She did send for her son who was at Falkirk Palace but he failed to arrive on time. She was buried at the Carthusian Priory of St John in Perth.

Methven CastleMethven Castle, place of Margaret Tudors death

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On this day in 1514 – Margaret Tudor and Archibald Douglas married

Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VII, was the wife of King James IV of Scotland and mother to the future King James V. After King James IV was killed at the Battle of Flodden their infant son became King of Scotland, however, as he was just 17 months old a regency was required to rule in his place. It was originally led by Margaret as part of the royal will under the condition that it would last for as long as she remained a widow.

It was unusual for a woman to be in a powerful position and it wasn’t long before some of the nobility began plotting to replace Margaret and looked to John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany as their figurehead. Margaret began searching for her own allies in an attempt to keep the regency and looked to the House of Douglas and as a result met Archibald Douglas, 6h Earl of Angus. The couple married in secret on 6th August 1514 in the parish church of Kinnoull, Perth.

The marriage between Margaret and Archibald Douglas meant that the terms of her first husbands will was now violated and she would have to forfeit the regency and guardianship of her son. At this news Margaret took her children to Stirling Castle in defiance. John Stewart would eventually negotiate the handing over of the young King into his care.

Margaret briefly returned to London and stayed at the court of her brother, King Henry VIII, whilst Margaret travelled her husband remained in Scotland. Whilst the couple were separated Douglas had an illegitimate daughter and moved his mistress and daughter into property that belonged to his wife. Margaret returned to Scotland to find that Douglas had been openly living with his new family and refused to support Douglas as he attempted to gain power. Margaret also wrote to her brother in regards to divorcing Douglas. Margaret wrote;

I am sore troubled with my Lord of Angus since my last coming into Scotland, and every day more and more, so that we have not been together this half year…I am so minded that, and I may by law of God and to my honour, to part with him, for I wit well he loves me not, as he shows me daily.”

King Henry VIII did not support his sister, at this time he was still married to Katherine of Aragon. Henry viewed Douglas as an ally against Scotland. Margaret disappointed at the lack of support from her brother began moving her support towards John Stewart and the current regency. With the help of Stewart the couple were eventually divorced on 11th March 1528.

Margaret Tudor Archibald DouglasMargaret Tudor and Archibald Douglas

On this day in 1473 – King James IV was born

On 17th March 1473 the future King James IV of Scotland was born to King James III and Margaret of Denmark. The location of his birth is most likely to be Stirling Castle.

At a young age the heir apparent was proclaimed Duke of Rothesay and was betrothed to marry Princess Cecily of England, the third daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

King James III of Scotland was killed in the Battle of Sauchieburn in 1488 leaving the 15 year old prince the new King of Scotland. The Battle of Sauchieburn saw James III face a rebellion which used the young prince as their figurehead. The new King felt guilty over his indirect role in his father’s death and for the rest of his life at Lent he wore a heavy iron chain cilice around his waist, adding weight every year, as penance.

King James IV was involved in many arguments with the English court, including the backing of Perkin Warbeck, the pretender to the Plantagenet line. James even went as far as invading England in 1496.

In 1502 James signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with King Henry VII in a bid to end warfare between the two countries. As part of the treaty a marriage proposal between James IV and Margaret Tudor, daughter of the King of England, was agreed. Whilst agreeing to peace with England, James also maintained a relationship with France and began building a fleet that would defend Scotland and give them a large maritime presence.

King James IV married Margaret Tudor on 8th August 1503 at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh. They had four living children including the future King James V. James IV also had eight illegitimate children with four of his mistresses.

The Italian Wars broke out in 1494 and lasted until 1559; it saw many countries involved from Italy and France to England and Scotland. As a result war broke out between England and France. Scotland was tied to both countries through treaties but declared war on England after Henry VIII invaded France. Pope Leo X threatened James with ecclesiastical censure for breaking his treaty with England and was later excommunicated by Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge.

In September 1513 Scottish troops invaded England and headed towards Northumbria where they clashed with English forces on the 9th September. The English troops were under the leadership of Katherine of Aragon who was Regent of England whilst her husband Henry VIII was fighting in France. King James IV was killed in the battle and was the last King of Great Britain to die in battle. His body was taken to London for burial, however due to his excommunication King Henry VIII had to gain permission from the Pope to bury the Scottish King. He was never buried though; his embalmed body lay unburied for many years with his body going missing during the Reformation when Sheen Priory in Surrey, where he was lying, was demolished.

James IV