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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 1513 – the Battle of Flodden began

On 9th September 1513 the Battle of Flodden took place between England and Scotland in Northumberland, England. King James IV led the Scottish army against the defending English that was led by the Earl of Surrey who was acting on orders of the Regent of England, Katherine of Aragon who had been left in charge of the country whilst her husband, King Henry VIII, was leading the army in France.

King James IV declared his intentions for war upon England in order to support France and the alliance that they held together. However, his declaration was in breach of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace a treaty signed between England and Scotland in 1502. King James IV sent a letter via the Lyon King of Arms to Henry on 26th July asking him to stop his attack on France. Henry responded to the Lyon Arms by saying that James had no right to ask this of him and if anything James should be England’s ally as he was married to Henry’s sister, Margaret. Henry said;

And now, for a conclusion, recommend me to your master and tell him if he be so hardy to invade my realm or cause to enter one foot of my ground I shall make him as weary of his part as ever was man that began any such business. And one thing I ensure him by the faith that I have to the Crownof England and by the word of a King, there shall never King nor Prince make peace with me that ever his part shall be in it. Moreover, fellow, I care for nothing but for misentreating of my sister, that would God she were in England on a condition she cost the Schottes King not a penny.”

King James IV used the pretext of the murder of his Warden of the Scottish East March, Robert Kerr, five years previously in 1503 at the hands of John ‘The Bastard’ Heron to begin his invasion of England. However, England was not completely unprepared before Henry left for France he left an army and artillery in the north of the country and he also appointed Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey as Lieutenant General of the army in the north in 1512.

King James IV sent notice to England a month in advance regarding his intention to invade this gave England enough time to collect the banner of Saint Cuthbert from Durham Cathedral, a banner that had been at the front of the English army in past victories over the Scottish.

On 18th August 1513 the Scottish transported five cannons from Edinburgh Castle to Netherbow Gate at St Mary’s Wynd with the King setting off that night to join the army as well. As a result on 27th August 1513 Katherine of Aragon acting as Regent of the country issued warrants for all property belonging to any Scots to be seized instantly. Upon hearing of the invasion preparations Katherine sent an order on 3rd September to Thomas Lovell to gather an army from the Midlands.

The Scottish army moved closer to England before taking Norham Castle on 29th August and moving further south capturing the castles of Etal and Ford. James kept the army at Ford Castle for a while enjoying the hospitality of Lady Heron and her daughter. It was here that the English Herald, Rouge Croix arrived to negotiate a place of battle for the 4th September and gave instructions that if James sent any heralds to speak with the Earl of Surrey should be met away from where the English army was camped. It was at Ford Castle that the Earl of Angus spoke out in favour of returning to Scotland as he felt they had done everything for France; James sent the Earl of Angus home and wanted to push on with the invasion.

On 7th September the Earl of Surrey recorded that James had sent his Islay Herald and agreed that they would commence battle on the 9th between midday and 3pm he returned the Herald asking for the battle to take place at Milfield as previously agreed.

With the time and place agreed Surrey moved his troops to block the Scottish route north so it would force them towards Branxton Hill. When the Scottish and English armies were three miles apart Surrey sent to Rouge Croix to King James to confirm the time of battle, James replied that he would wait until noon.

At 11am on the morning of 9th September the English vanguard and artillery crossed the Twizel Bridge whilst the Scottish army was in five formations and by the afternoon the Scottish descended into battle. The English had two battle formations each comprising of two wings. The Earl of Surrey combined his vanguard with the soldiers of his father’s rearward. Surrey’s groups fought the Scottish troops led by the Earls of Huntly, Crawford and Erroll with forces that totalled 6000 men.

The King of Scotland then led an attack on Surrey and the son of Lord Darce who bore the brunt of the Scottish armies force. When the battle ended Edward Hall, the chronicler, wrote ‘the battle was cruel, none spared other, and the King himself fought valiantly.’

Post battle the Scottish council sent for help from Christian II of Denmark the Scottish ambassador, Andrew Brounhill, was asked to explain what went wrong in the battle. Brounhill blamed the King for moving downhill to attack the English on marshy ground from a more favourable position and he claimed that the English won purely because of Scottish inexperience.

King James IV was killed close to Surrey after being fatally wounded by an arrow and a bill, a polearm weapon. His body was discovered by Lord Dacre and was taken to Berwick-upon-Tweed where according to Edward Hall the Scottish courtiers William Scott and John Forman who identified the body as the late King. His body was then embalmed and taken to Newcastle upon Tyne. From York the body was taken to Sheen Priory near London.

James’s banner, sword and his thigh armour were taken to the shrine of Saint Cuthbert at Durham Catherdral. Thomas Hawley, the Rouge Croix Herald, was first to take news to London of the English victory. He took the blood stained surcoat of the King to Katherine of Aragon at Woburn Abbey, who instantly sent it to Henry VIII who was still battling the French at Tournai. She had thought about sending the body of the fallen King instead as Henry had sent her the Duke of Longueville, a prisoner from Thérouanne.

Margaret Tudor was informed of her husband’s death and a council met at Stirling to form a committee that would rule Scotland in the name of Margaret Tudor and her infant son the new King James V of Scotland.

battle_of_floddenArtist impression of the Battle of Flodden

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 1571 – The Creeping Parliament is held in Scotland

King James VI ruled Scotland from the age of one when his mother Mary Queen of Scots was overthrown and forced out of Scotland. With the new King coming to the throne at such a young age the country was ruled by regents until he came of age.

After the murder of Regent Moray in 1570 at the hands of James Hamilton, a supporter of the former Queen, Scotland could not decide who to appoint to succeed Moray and so turned to Queen Elizabeth I in England to help make the decision. Elizabeth selected the Earl of Lennox to succeed Moray and rule the country, Lennox was the father of Lord Darnley and James grandfather. Lennox took the role at a time when Scotland was highly divided and this was not helped when Lennox reopened the investigation into his son’s murder, who many believed was at the hands of Mary herself and her future husband, the Earl of Bothwell.

On 14th May 1571 Lennox held a parliament at Edinburgh in the Cannongate that would become known as the creeping parliament. It earned this name as many attendants had to creep past supporters of the Queen who had captured the castle and were shooting at anyone who attempted to attend.

At the same time as the creeping parliament was being held, Mary’s supporters were holding their own parliament in Edinburgh tollbooth where they attempted to restore Mary to the Scottish throne.

Both parliaments were adjourned until a later date and the fight for the throne continued.

Edinburgh Parliament House

On this day in 1568 – Mary Queen of Scots escaped Lochleven Castle

Mary Queen of Scots has always had a controversial reign, she ruled Scotland from when she was six days old after the death of King James V of Scotland. She spent most of her childhood in France in preparation for her marriage to Francis II of France. Scotland was ruled through a regency until Mary returned to the country in 1561.

Mary remarried four years after her return to her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley with whom she had a son, the future King James VI of Scotland. Her husband was found murdered and suspicion fell on James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell was acquitted of the charge and the following month married Mary.

The nobles of the country were unhappy with this alliance and they soon rose up. On 15th June 1556 Mary was escorted from Carberry Hill to the Palace of Holyroodhouse where she was allowed to gather her belongings before being taken to Lochleven Castle and placed under house arrest.

Lochleven was a castle that was situated on a small island, which was only reachable by boat. Mary was housed on the third floor in the Glassin Tower and placed under the custody of Sir William Douglas. However, despite being under arrest Mary was free to walk in the courtyard, pray in her room and have her servants with her.

On 24th July 1567 Lord Ruthven and Lord Lindsey arrived at the castle and approached Mary with an ultimatum to abdicate her throne or die. By abdicating she would place her son on the throne, despite the fact he was only just over a year old. Mary signed the Deed of Abdication and James was crowned King just five days later at Stirling.

Meanwhile Parliament declared that Mary’s second husband, Bothwell, had murdered her first husband, Lord Darnley, and that she was an accomplice to the murder.

There were still many Scots that were loyal to Mary who would see her back on the throne. Many plots were rumoured to free the former Queen. However, on 2nd May 1568 a rescue attempt was made and was successful. Willie Douglas, a young relative of her custodian, had arranged a May Day masque at the Castle for the Queen and had managed to steal the keys to the part of the castle that held the Queen. During the celebrations Mary was smuggled out of the castle, dressed as a servant. She was placed in a boat and rowed away from the castle where she was greeted by George Douglas and Lord Seton.

Mary escaping Lochleven

On this day in 1558 – Mary Queen of Scots was betrothed to Francis future King of France.

On 19th April 1558 Mary, daughter of King James V of Scotland was betrothed to Francis the Dauphin of France. Mary was queen of Scotland since she was six days old.

On 27th January 1548 in the Châtillon treaty the marriage of Mary and Francis was put forward and aged six Mary was sent to France to be bought up in the French court until she was old enough to marry. Mary left Scotland in the hands of regents.

Formally betrothed on 19th April 1558 the agreement allowed Scotland to maintained their traditional rights but when Francis ascends the throne Scotland would unite with France. However, if Mary died without the couple having any children the Scottish throne would go to the Earl of Arran. The wedding was set for 24th April where Mary and Francis were married at Notre Dame Cathedral by Cardinal of Rouen. Mary wore a long trained white dress accompanied with a Diamond necklace and a golden coronet adorned with jewels.

Francis ascended the throne in 1559 to become King Francis II and Mary became his queen consort. As Francis was only 15 when he ascended the throne and already in ill health he created a regency to reign on his behalf, he appointed his wife’s uncles the Duke of Guise and Cardinal of Lorraine along with his mother Catherine de’Medici. However, with his mother still in mourning for her husband all orders were given by Mary’s uncles. At the time of the wedding Mary signed a secret agreement that contradicted the betrothal agreement. Mary agreed that if she died childless then Scotland would stay in control of the French.

King Francis II died in December 1560 and once it was established that Mary was not carrying the heir to the French throne she returned to Scotland landing in Leith on 19th August 1561. Mary went on to remarry and give birth to a son who would unite the thrones of Scotland and England.

Francis and Mary

On this day in 1512 – King James V was born

On 10th April 1512 James V of Scotland was born to King James IV and Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. James was born at Linlithgow Palace and instantly received the titles Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. King James IV was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513 and aged just 17 months James became the new King of Scotland.

King James V was crowned on 21st September 1513 at Stirling Castle. As he was still a minority his court was ruled by regents led by his mother, Margaret. Margaret’s control over the council ended when she remarried the following year. The regency passed to John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany.

In 1524 King James V was proclaimed a ruler in his own right and dismissed his Regents. However, James’ independent rule would not be easy his mother’s husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, held the King in his custody for three years and attempted to exercise power on his behalf. There were many attempts to rescue the King over the three years. Upon escape James removed Douglas and his family by sending them into exile.

In 1536 King James entered into a marriage contract with Mary of Bourbon, the daughter of the Duke of Vendôme. James set sail to France to he met Mary in person before going on to meet King Francis I. On 1st January 1537 instead of marrying Mary he married Madeleine of Valois, daughter of King Francis I, in Notre Dame, Paris. Only seven months after their wedding Madeleine died. The following year James married Mary of Guise and they had one surviving child, Mary.

In 1541 the King’s mother, Margaret died this removed any remaining ties to England. War soon broke out between the two countries. The Scottish armies were defeated at the Battle of Solway Moss. James was taken ill after the defeat and in the last days of his life his wife gave birth to a daughter, Mary.

King James V died on 15th December 1542 and was buried at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh. His daughter Mary took the throne aged just six days old and later became known as Mary, Queen of Scots.

James V