Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Margaret Tudor: "Hail, Rose, Both Red and White"

Margaret Tudor, queen of Scotland (b. 28 November 1489)


The Tudors have long been a money-making proposition for novelists, filmmakers, and television networks, and while I myself have spent a lifetime fascinated with them too, I have to admit that Henry VIII's poor sisters have been rather neglected in this whole Tudormania thing.

Margaret Tudor, detail
from a painting by Daniel Mijtens,
probably around the time of her
marriage to James of Scotland
Take, for example, the case of Margaret Tudor--while she is a character in the vastly popular television series, The Tudors, it's her name that is used rather than her actual life story.

In the BBC2, CBC Television, TV3 Ireland, and, Showtime joint production, Henry VIII has only one sister, not two, and the lives of Margaret and Mary Tudor are tossed into a blender with a lot of nonsense. The result is a character with Margaret's name who is given given a great deal of Mary's life experiences to which a lot of unnecessary and confusing idiocy has been added. 

Margaret Tudor deserves better. And so here we go . . . *

Born on 28 November 1489, Margaret was the eldest daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, four years younger than their son and heir Arthur. Her paternal grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, was present at her birth and supervised her granddaughter's education; though the English princess was, as her biographer Hester Chapman notes, "more carefully educated than most princesses of her day," Margaret Beaufort could not interest her namesake "in the intellectual projects for which she herself became celebrated."

In any case, by 1496 the English king was engaged in negotiations to arrange for the marriage of his first-born daughter. Henry VII had established his Tudor dynasty in 1485, with his defeat of Richard III at the battle of Bosworth. But his position was not unchallenged, and among those who were interested in unseating him was Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV and Richard III. 

Despite the fact that Henry VIII's queen was her niece, Elizabeth of York, the dowager duchess of Burgundy continued to intrigue against the king who had defeated and killed her brother. With her support, a young man named Perkin Warbeck had been acknowledged as one of the missing "princes in the Tower," Richard of York.46 In 1495, as "Richard IV," Warbeck was welcomed to the court of James IV.

The Scots king, evidently believing Warbeck's claims, had arranged for the marriage of the young "king" of England to a kinswoman, Lady Katherine Gordon. In response, Henry VII prepared for war--but he also attempted to gain the support of the Scots king in August 1556 by proposing a marriage with his daughter Margaret. The Scots king "replied," in Hester Chapman's words, "by an attempted invasion."
Margaret Tudor, kneeling,
in her coronation robes,
probably by Gerard Horenbout

But by 1497 James had agreed to withdraw his support from Warbeck, and he negotiated a seventeen-year truce guaranteeing peace with the English king. The marriage of the nine-year-old Margaret and the twenty-five-year-old James was to seal the treaty, but the king's plans were blocked by two formidable opponents: his wife and his mother. 

"The Queen and my mother are very much against the marriage," Henry indicated to the Spanish ambassador at his court, continuing, "They say if the marriage were concluded we should be obliged to send the princess directly to Scotland, in which case they fear the king of Scotland would not wait, but injure her and endanger her health." Margaret Beaufort, whose early pregnancy was widely believed to have permanently injured her, prevailed in this dispute, and her granddaughter's marriage was delayed.

The English king was not without some reservations of his own about the alliance. "Supposing, which God forbid, that all my male progeny were to become extinct and the kingdom devolve by law upon Margaret's heirs," he is reported to have reflected at the time of her betrothal. In such an eventuality, "Will England be damaged thereby or rather benefited?" 

But with two sons, the likelihood that Margaret would succeed to the throne as queen of England, while theoretically possible, was not great. And, as the king reasoned, if Margaret were to become queen, England would not suffer: "since it ever happens that the less becomes subservient to the greater, the accession will be that of Scotland to England."

The treaty that negotiated the marriage of King James IV and Princess Margaret was signed on 24 January 1502. The Tudor princess left for her new home in July of 1503, eighteen months later. Before she left England, her brother Arthur died, bringing her that much closer to the throne. 

Since her mother's death quickly followed, preparations for the young queen's departure were made by her grandmother, Margaret Beaufort. The new Scots queen remained with her grandmother at Collyweston for three weeks before setting off on her journey to Edinburgh on 8 July. On 30 July she crossed the border at Berwick. Margaret met her new husband for the first time on 3 August, five days before their marriage was celebrated.

When the new queen of Scotland arrived at Stirling, her dower castle, she found a nursery there already occupied by her husband's seven illegitimate children, including a daughter her own age. Since she did not immediately produce an heir for her husband, eighteen months after their marriage her husband legitimized his eldest son, James Stewart, earl of Moray. But on 21 February 1507, just three months after her seventeenth birthday, Margaret Tudor gave birth to a son.

Illustration of Margaret Tudor
and her husband, James of Scotland
He was baptized two days later and proclaimed "Prince of Scotland and the Isles and Duke of Rothesay," titles that, as Margaret's biographer Maria Perry notes, "clearly distinguished the little Prince of the blood" from that other James, the king's illegitimate son.

But the prince died a year later, on 27 February 1508; a daughter, born on the following 15 July, lived only a few hours. Margaret was pregnant again in 1509 when her father Henry VII died.

When Henry VIII succeeded his father as king of England, Henry VII's earlier questions about Margaret's status as heir to the English throne became more than hypothetical. For the moment, the queen of Scotland was the heir presumptive of the king of England; the child she was carrying might inherit the crowns of both Scotland and England. 

When Margaret gave birth to a son, Arthur, in October 1509, the prince's future thus seemed great. But this child, too, lived only a few brief months; by July of 1510, he was dead. Convinced that the deaths of his first three legitimate children were a judgment by God, James at first planned a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and then considered a crusade. 

Ultimately he settled on a visit to a shrine in Scotland instead. By 1511 Margaret was pregnant again; on 11 April 1512 the birth of another son, christened James, seemed to signal to the Scots king that God's favor had been restored. By May Margaret was pregnant again, for the fifth time, and in June Henry's English armies were routed in Spain.

Thus when his brother-in-law sent an embassy to Scotland, James felt the time was right to press the English king for a legacy due Margaret. In the midst of preparations for his planned invasion of France, Henry hoped to secure peace in the north; he would send Margaret's inheritance "on condition" that James "keep his oath . . . that none of us shall invade the other." 

Henry's ambassador indicated to Margaret that it was her responsibility "to preserve a good understanding between the two crowns." Margaret "promised to do her best for peace," but she also pressed for her legacy, which included jewels that had been left to her by her brother Arthur and a small bequest from her grandmother Margaret Beaufort.

Events overtook James IV of Scotland. In November Margaret's fifth pregnancy ended in the premature birth of a daughter who died within hours. James renewed his plan for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; to secure his safe passage through France, he agreed to send aid to Louis XII; the result was his excommunication. As her husband moved closer to declaring war on her brother, Margaret made one last appeal to Henry, sending him and Queen Catherine gifts and letter in which she addressed the king as "Right excellent, right high and mighty prince, our dearest and best beloved brother." 

"We cannot think that of your mind, or by your command, we are so fremdly [strangely] dealt with," she wrote, indicating that she was "ashamed" over the dispute about her legacy. She continued, "would God had never word been thereof," indicating that the matter was "not worth such estimation as in your diverse letters of the same." She concluded that, as queen of Scotland, "we lack nothing; our husband is ever the longer the better to us, as knows God."

When Anne of Brittany, queen of France, appealed to James IV of Scotland for his support of her husband against England, her appeal was couched in the terms of medieval romance. She sent the Scots king tokens and a request that he do battle on her behalf: "For my sake . . . march forth, were it only but three feet, on to English ground."

And if this failed to persuade him, she sent a more practical second letter enclosing money for his expenses. Margaret attempted to dissuade her husband with tears, accusations of infidelity, and anger: "What a folly, what a blindness . . . to make this war yours! Keep your promise to England, and enjoy peace at home. . . . Should [the French queen's] letters prove more powerful than the cries of your little son?"

Her husband's decision to go to war transformed Margaret from queen consort to queen regent; as he prepared to leave Scotland, James arranged for a regency government to be headed by his wife. The queen, for her part, continued to attempt to dissuade her husband from going to war against her brother, reminding him that the English were "a mighty people" and warning him that her dreams had given her omens of his failure. 

She also suggested a way out of the confrontation. She believed that Catherine of Aragon would accompany the English army, and Margaret proposed a meeting with the English queen: "I hear the queen my sister will be with the army in her husband's absence; if we shall meet, who knows what God, by our means, may bring to pass?" But there was to be no avoidance of conflict for James IV and Henry VIII. Catherine did not come north with her English army, and Margaret did not travel with her husband and his.

The Scots king crossed into England on 22 August. On 9 September he was dead, defeated at the battle of Flodden by the English troops his sister-in-law, Catherine of Aragon, had sent north. His seventeen-month-old son became James V of Scotland. Pregnant again, Margaret acted decisively upon receiving the news of her husband's death. According to Perry, the regent "moved with speed and resolution," securing her son in the safety of Stirling castle and ensuring his coronation twelve days later, on 21 September. 

She seized the treasury, then summoned a council that approved her husband's will designating her as regent, thereby becoming de facto ruler of Scotland. The new king and his mother were "styled" as "James, by God's Grace, King of the Scots and Margaret, Queen of Scotland and testamentary tutrix of the same."

In an interesting analysis of the situation in Scotland in the aftermath of Flodden, Perry writes that the "manhood of a nation had been wiped out." Margaret had become, in Perry's terms, "queen of a country full of despairing widows and fatherless young men." In the tide of violence that erupted, the queen regent acted to defend the country for which she was now responsible. A proclamation designed to prevent the violation of property and of women (a telling combination) was issued on 26 September, followed quickly by a second in the new king's name. 

Recognizing that the "wives and widows" of his father's supporters were "desolate," and acknowledging "their daughters . . . being heirs to them," it made rape and robbery of these women treasonable offences. Since many of these "desolate" women had no legal status, Margaret's council took up their cases, and to replace those council members lost at Flodden, Margaret suggested her own candidates for bishop to the pope. 

She also attempted to repair the break with England. A week after her son's coronation she wrote to her brother Henry asking him not to invade Scotland, and a month later sent a letter to her sister-in-law appealing for her consideration "in the blow" that had "fallen" upon her.

Margaret's position was a difficult one. She had to negotiate between those who desired revenge for Flodden and those who wanted peace. The situation was further complicated by the succession; the heir presumptive to the throne was now John Stuart, duke of Albany, who was in France at the court of Louis XII. 

Margaret's council wanted Albany recalled, though the French king, who said that he wanted to do "everything befitting an ally," cautiously wrote to know the regent's wishes. Henry VIII, meanwhile, saw himself as his nephew's "natural guardian" and wanted the boy sent to England; his ambassador informed Margaret that her son should be "ordered and ruled by the King's Grace."

It seems inevitable that the widowed and pregnant queen would find the question of her remarriage under discussion by both Louis and Henry. Anne of Brittany was ill, and the French king considered marrying Margaret Tudor himself even before his second queen died. By March, when Margaret was eight months pregnant, the English ambassador was writing to Henry that "by sundry reports that are made unto me, I am informed that if the French king be disposed to marry her upon knowledge thereof had, he shall have her at his pleasure." 

Henry, on the other hand, suggested a suitable marriage for his widowed sister might be to the Emperor Maximilian, whose heir Charles was Catherine of Aragon's nephew; the idea that Margaret would "make a good match" for the emperor was also noted in Venice. Both prospective husbands made offers for her hand in 1514, after the birth on 12 April of her second son, Alexander.

Margaret's situation seemed more stable immediately afterward, and the Scots nobility signalled its support of her and her regency: "Madame, . . . we are content to stand in one mind and will to concur with all the lords of the realm to the pleasure of our master the King's grace, your grace and for the common weal." 

But when her brother once again pressed her to send her sons to England--reminding her that, as he still had no children, James V was his heir--dissension was renewed. On 14 August she secretly married Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus. Since the Douglas family was an enormously influential one, her alliance with Angus had serious political implications, suggested by the immediate reaction of the council:
We have shown heretofore our willingness to honour the Queen contrary to the ancient law and custom of this kingdom. . . . We suffered and obeyed her authority the whiles she herself kept her right by keeping her widowhood. Now she has quit it by marrying, why should we not choose another to succeed in the place she has voluntarily left?
Margaret's decision to remarry illustrates one of the many dilemmas of women and rule. A mother's desire to protect her minor son's interests could lead her to ally herself with a powerful man, but such alliances brought risks with them. 

Margaret Tudor was a foreigner in the country of her regency. Although her marriage to James IV had confirmed the intended "perpetual peace" between the neighboring realms, tensions between the countries had persisted; after James IV's death, fear of English domination was renewed, fed by Henry VIII's influence over his sister and his interest in the guardianship of his nephews. Margaret herself contributed to these fears; she seemed to regard herself, in Chapman's terms, "as her brother's Vicereine."

By marrying Angus, Margaret might have intended to neutralize both foreign influence--French and English--and her own foreignness. But the council insisted she had terminated her regency by marrying without its consent; for her part, Margaret argued that James IV's will had not limited her regency in any way. 

She then proceeded to name Angus as co-regent, a move that did not help her situation. In response the council insisted that, by law, a widow who remarried forfeited the guardianship of her children; the nobles wanted Albany recalled and named regent in Margaret's place. Margaret again insisted that she had been named regent by the terms of her husband's will, that this will had made no conditions on her regency, and that it had been confirmed by an act of Parliament.

In addition to her legal position, Margaret counted on support of the people, to whom she could appeal "as the widow of their adored King and the mother of his children." She determined on a more conciliatory course and arranged to meet with the council once more, even agreeing to recall Albany. 

Arriving in Edinburgh on 12 September, she was "wildly cheered" by the people, their evident support convincing several more influential lords to her side. But it was not enough. She would later write that her "adversaries" had continued "in their malice and proceeds in their parliament, usurping the king's authority," as if she and her supporters "were of no reputation, reputing us as rebels." She retreated once more to Stirling with her sons.

By November her situation had become so tenuous that she appealed to Henry VIII for help. "I beseech you that you would make haste with your army, both by sea and land," she wrote in her desperation, noting that she was, as well, "at great expenses . . . and my money is near wasted." Henry's support would "revenge" her enemies, who had already laid siege to the castle of St. Andrews and who threatened a siege against her as well, but Margaret was aware, as well, of the memory of Flodden:
There is some of the lords that dread that your army shall do them scathe, and that their lands shall be destroyed with the fury of the army: wherefore I would that you wrote to them that their lands nor goods shall not be hurt, and, if so be, that they shall be recompensed double and treble.
Her opponents--her "party adversary"--had recalled Albany, and Margaret wanted her brother to prevent Albany's arrival in Scotland. Meanwhile, she planned to "keep this castle" with her children, who were well. In a subtle way she reminded her brother that his own interests lay in defending her and her sons: "The king, my son, and his brother, prosper well, and are right lifelike children." 

She appealed to him by claiming that "all the welfare of me and my children lies in your hands." Fearing that her enemies would "counterfeit" her letters, Margaret closed by telling Henry that if she was compelled to write to him "for concord," the letter would be signed merely "Margaret R." and "no more." If she wrote on her own, she would sign herself "Your loving sister."

But Henry did not enter actively into the conflict in Scotland. He had his own political interests to pursue. As his older sister Margaret struggled in Scotland, he had concluded his war with France. A treaty of peace between the two countries was signed on 7 August 1514, and as part of the peace, Henry arranged for the marriage of his younger sister Mary to the just-widowed Louis XII. 

On 13 August a proxy marriage was celebrated, but the new "queen of France" had only left England in October; thus in November Henry was was not interested in disturbing his relationship with France by invading Scotland. Instead he suggested that Margaret flee with her children and take refuge with him in England.

The Scots queen responded that she would be "gladder" to follow her brother's advice than to be made "the greatest lady of the world," but that it was "impossible to be performed by any manner of fashion" she, her husband, or their supporters could devise. On the one hand she was surrounded by "watch and spies" and feared to "disclose" her counsel to anyone "but God," and on the other she had no money and feared that her "poverty" would force her to "consent to some of their [her enemies'] minds." 

Her letter shows that she had still not given up on the idea that her brother would come to her aid with an army; she could "defend" herself from her "enemies," she wrote, if she had "sufficient expenses to [until] the coming" of Henry's help. Her letter contains, as well, a touching--and carefully calculated--picture of her special plight as queen: "If I were such a woman that might go with bairn in mine arm, I trow I should not be long from you, whose presence I desire most of any man." 

But Margaret was not "such a woman"; she was a queen and, for the moment, regent of Scotland. Relatively quickly, however, her regency came to an end. In January 1515 Louis XII died, and his successor Francis was not so interested in keeping Albany in France. Henry attempted to persuade the new French king to preserve the peace and prevent Albany from leaving; Henry would renew his treaty with France if Francis "would promise not to send the Duke of Albany into Scotland." 

For his part, Francis wanted the treaty renewed without conditions, and he got what he wanted. On 2 April Albany began his trip back to Scotland; on 5 April the English king and the French king renewed their peace treaty.

Albany arrived in Scotland on 17 May 1515, and at first his relationship with the regent was cordial. But on 12 July parliament declared him regent of Scotland, and he was formally invested with the "sword and sceptre" that symbolized his rule. Since it was obvious even to his supporters that his own claim to the throne precluded him from being the best guardian for the young king and his brother, custody of the princes was to be given over to others, selected by the queen but from a slate of candidates forwarded by parliament.  

Even in her defeat, Margaret demonstrated her political skill. She retreated into Stirling castle with her children, her husband, and a few servants. An eyewitness described her defiance of the delegation of lords who came to take custody of her children:
And when she saw the lords within three yards of the gates, she bade them stand, and demanded the cause of their coming. . . . They told her they had come from the duke [Albany] and parliament to demand "deliverance of the king and his brother." Without hesitation, she defied them, and then she caused the portcullis be letten down, and made answer, saying that the castle was her own feoffment, given to her by the king her late husband . . . and that her said late husband had made her protectrix, and given her authority to have the keeping and government of her said children, wherefore she could in no wise deliver them to any person.
"It was," as Maria Perry describes it, "a superb coup de théâtre, calculated to impress the crowds thronging the castle approach." It was, as well, a superb political statement, for the portcullis itself was "a device forming part of the Beaufort arms," which were in turn part of the "royal arms of England." 

Despite her husband's plea for her to surrender her sons and despite her own physical state--she was pregnant again--Margaret would not compromise. She had taken the only action she could take. While she waited for relief from her brother, who failed to come to her aid, and from her husband, who came to her aid but failed, she planned her strategy. 

If she was besieged, she would appear on the battlements, where she would "set the young King upon the walls in the sight of all persons crowned, and the sceptre in his hand," aware that such a display would make it "manifestly known to every person that the war shall be made against the King's own person."

On 6 August, Albany arrived outside Stirling with 7,000 men and heavy artillery, and the queen lost her nerve. She abandoned her plan and surrendered. In another deliberately calculated gesture, however, she made her son, the king, hand over the castle to Albany. In a letter to her brother dated 20 August, she seemed to be pleased with the turn of events, writing that her relations with the new regent were peaceful: "Brother, I am determined that I and my said cousin [Albany] shall take one part, for I know it is most for my profit." 

Through her "diligence" she wrote that she hoped to "keep the peace betwixt the realms" and expressed her desire that her brother would do likewise. She indicated that her children were also well: "I have presence of my children at my pleasure, and enter to them whenever I will."75 On the same day she consented to Albany's regency, handing over to him "charge and keeping of the King and his brother."

But both her letter and her "consent" had been coerced. She preserved the truth of the situation in a document she entitled "A remembrance of an information by me, Margaret queen of Scots." There she wrote about the disobedience of the lords and their threats to her, indicating that after her husband's death they had tried to force her marriage with Albany. 

As for Albany himself, he had sent "tokens" to her "for marriage": "Whereupon I was driven by force either to steal away and leave my said children or to marry . . . , seeing the suspicion that the said duke was in, and the pretence that his father made before him to the crown of Scotland." Her "tender children" had been forced from her, and all of her supporters, except Angus, had deserted her. She concluded:
And for to say that ever I was agreeable, content, or pleased that the said duke of Albany should come into Scotland, or that ever he did justice, or meddled with justice, but only vexed and troubled me and my friends, it appeareth in the said supplication, which I am ready to justify, point by point.
Her brother again offered Margaret asylum in England, indicating that she would be well provided for; she would lack neither "stuff, household, nor money." She arranged for her escape, outlining the plan in a "credence" given to Henry's representative Lord Dacre and forwarded to her brother. She began by describing the conditions of her life:
First, the said queen sheweth that the duke of Albany hath compelled and constrained her to subscribe and write diverse letters contrary to her own mind, and against all right and conscience; and [he] keepeth her so straitly in Edinburgh that neither she can nor may see nor send to the king and prince her children, nor to other her friends, for her relief and comfort in her causes, and therefore from thence she can make none escape.
Albany had also "withheld" from her "all the profits and revenues of her land," so that she found herself "at extreme poverty." Driven by such circumstances, she wrote, she would attempt to escape Scotland. She would "feign herself to be sick" and leave Edinburgh, retiring to Linlithgow, "with the consent of the said duke," where she would "take her chamber," naturally enough since she was nearing the end of her pregnancy; she was, she wrote, within "six weeks of her lying down." 

On the "first or second night of her coming thither" she would "depart without any man or woman with her" except her husband and "four or five servants" who would "not be privy to any part of her purpose." If her first attempt failed, she would try again, making sure some diversion--some "ruffling"--distracted Albany and his men.

But her initial plan was successful. After staying in Linlithgow for forty-eight hours, she disappeared on 13 September, spending a night in a stronghold that belonged to the Douglas family. She made an attempt to get her sons from Stirling castle, but abandoned that effort and arrived in England, quickly moving toward the fortress of Harbottle. There, on 7 October, she gave birth to a daughter, whom she named Margaret. She wrote to Albany on 10 October announcing the child's birth, asserting once more her rightful place as her son's regent and demanding her restoration.

Margaret's premature labor and delivery had weakened her, and she remained so seriously ill that she was not informed of the death, on 18 December, of Alexander, the younger of her two sons; the news was kept from her until she recovered somewhat. In March she was composing an eight-page catalog of the wrongs she had suffered in Scotland, and the story of her plight elicited much sympathy and support not only in England but throughout the courts of Europe, excepting, of course, in France.

Finally, in April, Margaret was strong enough to leave the north for London; Angus, however, had decided to come to terms with Albany and left for Scotland. The queen was reunited on 3 May 1516 with her brother, whom she had not seen since he was twelve years old.

She spent the next year in England, alternately pleading with Henry for political and financial support and negotiating with Albany for her return to Scotland. Albany, in the meantime, had had his own troubles with the fractious Scots lords and decided to return to France. 

The lords agreed to recall their queen; on 18 May 1517, twelve months after her arrival in England, Margaret Tudor left for Scotland once more, believing that she would resume her position as regent. Instead, when she arrived in June she was denied access to her son and learned that the regency had been offered to James Hamilton, earl of Arran. The grandson of James II, Arran was, after Albany, next in line to the throne. 

She also discovered that her husband had deserted her. In a letter to her "dearest brother" she wrote that she was "sore troubled" by Angus "every day more and more." He had taken control of her property and of her rents so that, she wrote, "I get never a penny." He had also taken a mistress, though she did not tell her brother so directly, alluding instead to another "evil" that she would "cause a servant" to "show Your Grace." She raised the possibility of a divorce, softening the news with something of an apology for the marriage in the first place and suggesting that a remarriage, if it occurred, would come at Henry's advice:
I am so minded . . . , an [if] I may by law of God and to my honour, to part with him, for I wit well he loves me not, as he sheweth to me daily. Wherefore I beseech Your Grace, when it comes to that point, as I trust it shall, to be a kind prince and brother to me, for I shall never marry but where you will bid me, nor never to part from Your Grace, for I will never with my will abide into Scotland.
Henry had not yet embarked upon his own efforts for a divorce, though by then he had begun his relationship with Elizabeth Blount. Nevertheless, he was offended by Margaret's suggestion that she would seek a divorce and occupied with his own personal and political affairs. 

Abandoned by her husband and his supporters, her appeals to her brother ignored, Margaret also found that the Scots lords had no intention of honoring the conditions they had agreed upon for her return; "the cause that I came hither most for was for the king my son's sake," she wrote to her brother, "and I am holden from him like a stranger, and not like his mother, which doth me great displeasure in my heart, considering I have no other comfort here but him." Arran, meanwhile, found himself outmaneuvered by Angus and his supporters and in a reversal took up the queen's cause. Together they decided to negotiate with Albany for his return to Scotland.

Margaret's decision to accept Arran's support and to recall Albany provoked warnings and admonitions from England, but no direct aid. For the first time, as Perry notes, Margaret seemed to see that her future lay in Scotland rather than in England: "I must cause me to please this realm, when I have my life here." 

Later, in explaining her decision, she was to describe her new determination: "I would be contented with" what "was for the good of the king my son's person," she wrote. That is, she had decided "that I should be a good Scotswoman." Thus the political game in Scotland continued. Albany returned from France on 18 November 1521. He seized power immediately, and Angus and his supporters were exiled. Albany and Margaret together resumed control of the government, the duke as regent and Margaret as queen mother. 

In responding to a series of fifteen charges leveled against her in England, Margaret replied in a long letter, written in 1522, to what she characterized as the "right sharp" articles. She began by asserting that, as she had gotten "no remedy" from her brother, she had determined to act for herself; "considering I am mother to the king of this realm," she wrote, she had acted for her son's honor and her own. 

She justified her break with Angus as well, who, "if he had desired my company or my love" would have acted "more kindly" toward her. She had sought Henry's assistance again and again, but it had not been forthcoming; although her brother had supported her "in general words," it "must be the deed" that would help. She rejected a series of rumors about her personal behavior, including one that she had begun a sexual relationship with Albany. She ended with a keen insight into the problems she had caused herself:
I took my lord of Angus against all Scotland's will and did him the honour that I could, where-through I lost the keeping of my sons, my house of Stirling, my rule of the realm which I had by right, that might not have been taken from me, and all this for his sake. . . .

[S]ince I took him at mine own pleasure, I will not be boasted [threatened] to take him now.
But relations between England and Scotland remained strained, and war threatened. Margaret worked ceaselessly to maintain the peace, her efforts earning her Henry's good graces once more. Henry suggested a marriage between his daughter, Princess Mary, and Margaret's son, James V, but the Scots parliament rejected his offer.

In 1523 Henry sent additional troops north and in June commenced a series of border raids. Albany, meanwhile, had been back in France for reinforcements and with those French troops entered England. He was forced to withdraw, and on 31 May 1524 he left Scotland for France, never to return.

After Albany's departure, Margaret wrote to her brother that her twelve-year-old son should "have his proper position of authority and throw off the governance usurped by Albany." Fearful of her intentions and of continued French influence in Scotland, Henry responded by advising Margaret to be reconciled with Angus, who had shown up at the English court and convinced the English king that he would support the English cause in Scotland. 

With Arran's support, she wrote to Henry rejecting his proposal that Angus should return to Scotland and the regency, asking him to "remember well" her many letters to him and "to make not long delay in helping of the king my son to put him to freedom and out of danger of his enemies, for now is the time." She minimized her political power and authority, reminding him, "I am but a woman and may do little." He, by contrast, could affect the situation for better or worse. If he ignored Margaret's advice--"do Your Grace the contrary"--it would affect James V; "the king my son will be the longer from his liberty and his person in danger."

But, as if to contradict her statement that as a woman she could do little, she told Henry that her son "will be ruled by me" and that she had "labored and broken many lords from the ways of the duke of Albany to his [her son's] way that he may be put out of danger and that he and his lords may rule this realm" with, of course, "the help and assistance" of Henry, in whom was "all" her "trust." 

She rejected any notion that Angus would "help" her brother or the cause for peace, attacking as well the idea that Henry should rely on the advice of others: "methinks, dearest brother the king, methinks that he [Angus] nor no other should be heard in that matter so well as I your sister, nor that you may get so much honor to do for their request as for me."

In August James V opened parliament flanked by his mother and the earl of Arran. The boy moved "to deprive the duke of Albany of his government," and after some opposition from Albany's supporters, the lords agreed. But by November 1526 Angus was in Scotland. 

As the parliament met, he seized control of Edinburgh. Margaret and the king were in Holyroodhouse, which the queen defended despite protests that she not oppose with force her "lawful husband." Angus retreated, and the parliament confirmed Margaret's regency.

Louise of Savoy, regent of France for her son Francis, responded to the situation immediately by offering the queen a pension and a renewal of an alliance with France. Margaret rejected the offer, however, and agreed at last to accept a reconciliation with Angus. But her agreement to be reconciled with her husband did not mean she intended to accept him as her husband.

She continued in her suit for a divorce, and she took a lover, Henry Stewart. As a result, her uneasy relationship with Angus broke down. He had custody of the king, and when he faced Margaret's army on the field, he had her son by his side so that she could not attack. The lord of Arran and many of Margaret's supporters deserted her and her cause, joining Angus instead.

Angus controlled the king entirely; he dismissed James's tutor and replaced the young king's household officials with Douglas supporters. On 14 June 1526 he had the king declared of age, but that did not mean that James was to rule. 

Angus defeated all attempts made by Margaret and Stewart to rescue the king. Late in 1527 Margaret finally received her divorce from Angus, and in April 1528 she married Stewart. Her brother was offended by her "foolish and evil" behavior, and in a moment of supreme blindness, since by this time he himself was seeking a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, he judged it "impossible for anyone to lead a more shameful life" than his sister. "Turn to God's word," he wrote to his sister, "and for the weal of your soul, avoid eternal damnation. . . . Relinquish the adulterous company of him that is not, nor may not be, of right, your husband."

Despite some initial objection to his mother's remarriage, the young king joined his mother and her new husband in May when he managed to escape from Angus. At last he entered into his majority and his role as king. In recognition of Henry Stewart's support and "for the great love I bear my dearest mother," he created Margaret's third husband the earl Methven. 

Together they besieged Angus and his supporters. Angus eventually surrendered in November 1528, leaving Scotland for England, taking with him his and Margaret Tudor's daughter, the thirteen-year-old Lady Margaret Douglas.

James V set about consolidating his power in Scotland, and for the next eight years, his mother and her husband were his most reliable advisers. Margaret mediated between her son and her brother, for Henry had continued to support Angus, who remained at the English court with Lady Margaret. When the alliance of mother and son was ultimately broken, as it was, the source of their disagreement was, ironically, James's marriage plans. 

The king, then twenty-five years old, wanted to marry his already-married mistress Lady Margaret Douglas of Lochleven, the mother of his son James Stewart. When he discovered that his mother had been in correspondence with her brother about his intentions, he sent her away from court. 

English ambassadors in Scotland reported to Henry VIII that Margaret was "weary of Scotland and fully determined to come into England." She had earned her son's "high displeasure" for having "intermeddled" in his affairs; specifically, she had tried to arrange a meeting between her son and her brother. James had accused his mother of receiving bribes "to betray him" from the English king.

Mother and son were reconciled, however, and the king abandoned his plan to marry his mistress. He arranged for a truce with England and even agreed to meet with his uncle; instead, when he left Scotland he went to France, where he planned to marry Marie of Bourbon, daughter of the duke of Vendôme. Once at the French court, however, he changed his mind, preferring the French king's fourteen-year-old daughter, Madeleine. They were married on New Year's Day 1537 and returned Scotland in May. By July Madeleine was dead.

Margaret, meanwhile, had resumed her role as regent of Scotland while her son was in France. She had also decided to divorce her third husband, Henry Stewart, but when her son returned to Scotland, he put an end to her suit. Pleading poverty and ill-treatment, Margaret turned once more to her brother; she would return to England. 

Then, within months of the death of his first queen, James married another French wife, Marie of Guise. After her arrival in Scotland, the new queen worked to reconcile her husband and his mother. Marie gave birth to her son James in May 1539 and quickly became pregnant again. The second child was also a boy, but disaster struck in April 1541 when the two young princes died within a week of one another. Margaret, who knew only too well the pain of losing her children, comforted her son and his wife.

Margaret Tudor died at Methven Castle as the year ended, on 18 October 1541. She was buried at the Carthusian Priory of St John in Perth. Her tomb was destroyed in 1559 when the priory was sacked by Calvinists in 1559.  A search for the site of her grave (also the site of the assassinated James I's burial) is now being made.


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