Margaret Tudor

(1489—1541) queen of Scots, consort of James IV.

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B. 29 Nov. 1489, da. of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York; m. (1) James IV, 8 Aug. 1503; (2) Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, Aug. 1514; issue: Margaret; (3) Henry Stewart (later Lord Methven), Mar. 1526; d. Methven, 18 Oct. 1541; bur. Perth.

As elder sister to Henry VIII, Margaret's marriage to James IV meant that her Scottish descendants were in close line of succession to the English throne. Her marriage at the age of thirteen sealed a treaty of ‘perpetual peace’, and James began to build a splendid new palace of Holyroodhouse in preparation. Of their six children, only one survived to adulthood, and he succeeded to the throne (at seventeen months) as James V. James IV had already named her as regent in the event of his death, but the appointment was resented as she was seen as a representative of the victorious enemy at Flodden, and the duke of Albany (next in line) was invited to come over from France to act instead. Margaret meanwhile had remarried, and after Albany's arrival, when the young king was taken from her keeping, she fled to England, where she gave birth to a daughter before proceeding south to her brother's court.

Ordered back to Scotland by Henry in early 1517, in an attempt to reassert English influence there and to make peace with her husband Angus, she was formally though briefly reconciled, and eventually allied with the earl of Arran to favour England rather than France, and to rule in James V's name. Angus and Margaret became bitter enemies, and her decision to seek a divorce so shocked Henry that he ceased to respect his headstrong and capricious sister. After her divorce in 1526, Margaret married Henry Stewart, younger son of Lord Avondale, who was later created Lord Methven by James V to honour his mother. She enabled her son to break free from Douglas control in 1528, continued her involvement in national politics (keeping her brother well-informed), unsuccessfully attempted to gain a divorce from Methven (1537), and died intestate at Methven castle after being stricken with palsy.

Subjects: British History.

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