Scotland - Famous Renaissance Women

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Mary, Queen of Scots
1542 - 1567
Mary, Queen of Scots


Mary Stuart was Queen regnant of Scotland from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567. In some lists of Scottish monarchs, she is recognised as Mary I. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland. She was 6 days old when her father died and she was crowned nine months later. In 1558, she married Francis, Dauphin of France, who ascended the French throne as Francis II in 1559. Mary was not Queen of France for long; she was widowed on 5 December 1560. Mary then returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Their union was unhappy and in February 1567, there was a huge explosion at their house, and Darnley was found dead, apparently strangled, in the garden. She soon married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, who was generally believed to be Darnley's murderer. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle on 15 June and forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son, James VI. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, Mary fled to England seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England, whose kingdom she hoped to inherit. Mary had previously claimed Elizabeth's throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in the Rising of the North. Perceiving her as a threat, Elizabeth had her arrested. After 19 years in custody in a number of castles and manor houses in England, she was tried and executed for treason for her alleged involvement in three plots to assassinate Elizabeth.


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Mary of Guise
1515 - 1560
Mary of Guise


Mary of Guise was the Lorraine born queen consort of Scotland as the second spouse of King James V. She was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and served as regent of Scotland in her daughter's name from 1554 to 1560. She was a member of the powerful House of Guise, which played a prominent role in 16th century French politics.Mary was born at Bar-le-Duc, Lorraine, the eldest daughter of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, head of the French House of Guise, and his wife Antoinette de Bourbon, herself the daughter of Francis, Count of Vendome and Marie de Luxembourg. Among her 11 siblings were Francis, Duke of Guise, Claude, Duke of Aumale, Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine, and Louis I, Cardinal of Guise. On 4 August 1534, at the age of 18, she married Louis II, Duke of Longueville (born 1510), becoming the Duchess of Longueville, at the Louvre in a union that turned out to be happy but brief. On 30 October 1535, Mary gave birth to her first son, Francis, but on 9 June 1537, Louis died at Rouen and left her a widow at the age of 21. For the rest of her life, Mary kept the last letter from her 'bon mari et ami,' her good husband and friend Louis, which mentioned his illness and explained his absence at Rouen, and it can still be seen at the National Library of Scotland. On 4 August, Mary gave birth to their second son, who was named Louis after his deceased father. Louis died very young, but Francis wrote letters to his mother in Scotland; on 22 March 1545 he sent a piece of string to show how tall he was, and on 2 July 1546 he sent her his portrait.


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Joan Beaufort
Queen of Scots
1404-1445
Joan Beaufort


Joan Beaufort was the Queen Consort of Scotland from 1424 to 1437 as the spouse of King James I of Scotland. During part of her son James II's minority (from 1437 to 1439), she served as the Regent of Scotland.She was a daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and Margaret Holland, and was half-niece of King Henry IV of England. Joan was named after her aunt, Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland. James of Scotland fell in love with her during his time as a prisoner in England. She is said to have been the inspiration of James's famous long poem, The Kingis Quair, written in his captivity. On 2 February 1424 at Southwark Cathedral, Joan married James I. They were feasted at Winchester Palace that year by her uncle Cardinal Henry Beaufort. She joined him on his return from captivity to Scotland that year. At his coronation at Scone, when James received the allegiance of his Tenants-in-chief, he had them swear their allegiance to Joan as well, as if she was a co-monarch. They had eight children, including the future James II, and Margaret of Scotland, spouse of Louis XI of France.After James I was assassinated in 1437, she took over the regency for her son: she had also been a target for her husband's assassins, but escaped, injured, from the place of the assassination, took custody of her son - now James II - and resumed the regency. The prospect of being ruled by an English woman was unpopular, and Archibald Douglas was therefore appointed co-regent. She had the side of Robert II's family responsible for murdering James I killed, protecting her and her son's position. She was Regent for two years. To avoid the dominance of William Crichton, Joan left Edinburgh for Stirling castle and the protection of Alexander Livingston. When Crichton and Livingston made peace, she allied herself with James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn. In 21 September 1439 she married James Stewart. They had a papal dispensation for both consanguinity and affinity. James was an ally of the Black Douglases Earls of Douglas, and plotted with them to overthrow Alexander Livingston, governor of Stirling castle during the minority of James II of Scotland. Livingstone arrested Joan, on 3 Aug 1439, imprisoning her in Stirling castle, while throwing James and his brother William into its dungeon. James and William were later released on good behaviour. Joan was released after she signing her resignation as regent. She died in 1445.


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Isabella of Scotland
1426-1499
Isabella Stewart



Isabella Stewart was a Scottish princess and by marriage the Duchess of Brittany. She was the second daughter of James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort, and the second wife of Duke Francis I. It was said she was more beautiful than her elder sister Margaret, who married the Dauphin of France, and that John VI, Duke of Brittany proposed to marry her to his son; thus he sent ambassadors to Scotland to take a description of her. They reported she was handsome, upright and graceful but she seemed simple too. The Duke's reply was "My friends, return to Scotland and bring her here, she is all I desire, and I will have no other; your clever women do more harm than good". Isabella was married to Francis I, Duke of Brittany at the Château d'Auray on October 30, 1442, after which the whole court went to Rennes for eight days of festivities. Upon the death of her sister Margaret, Isabella penned an illuminated prayer book of hours Livre d'Isabeau d'Escosse, which is still in preserved to this day. She had two children: Margaret of Brittany (1443–1469, Nantes), married Francis II, Duke of Brittany Marie of Brittany (1444–1506), married John II, viscount of Rohan and count of Porhoët


Upon her husband's death in 1450, there were talks of Isabella's marrying Charles, Prince of Viana, heir to the disputed Kingdom of Navarre, but this proposal fell through due to the disapproval of Charles VII of France. Isabella died in 1494.


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Margaret of Denmark, Queen Consort of Scotland
1456-1486
Margaret of Denmark


Was the daughter of King Christian I of Denmark (1448-1481), Norway (1450-1481), and Sweden (1457-1464), and his wife Dorothea of Brandenburg.In July 1469 (at age 13), at Holyrood Abbey, she married James III, King of Scots (1460-88). Her father, King Christian I of Denmark and also of Norway, agreed on a remarkable dowry to her. He however was strained in cash, so the islands of Orkney and Shetland, Norwegian crown possessions, were pledged as security until the dowry was to be paid.William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness was at that time the Norse Earl of Orkney, who was made in 1473 to exchange his Orkney fief to castle Ravenscraig, so the Scottish throne took the earl's rights in the islands too.This marriage produced three sons:

* James IV (17 March 1473 ? 9 September 1513)
* James Stewart, Duke of Ross (March 1476 - January 1504), and
* John Stewart, Earl of Mar (December 1479 - 1503).

She died at Stirling Castle and is buried in Cambuskenneth Abbey.Her great-great-grandson James VI of Scotland married another princess of her dynasty, Anne of Denmark. They became ancestors of all the future monarchs of England and Scotland.

She was responsible for introducing the bloodline of England's first Danish monarch King Sweyn Forkbeard into the Scottish Royal blood line and after James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne in 1603, into the English royal bloodline as well.



Source: www.generationsgoneby.com/getperson.php?personID=I12276


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Margaret Tudor, Queen Consort of Scots
28 November 1489-18 October 1541
Margaret Tudor


Margaret Tudor was the eldest sister of King Henry VIII and was the first daughter ofKing Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. She was born in the palace of Westminster. After two days of her birth she was baptized in St. Margaret Westminster, Margaret Beaufort her grandmother was one of her godmothers. Margaret was well prepared to be a royal consort, she was taught to play the clavichord, the lute, she learn Latin and French, and she loved archery. As you all know the children of Kings always become an important part of negotiations for marriages and Margaret since she was very little was part of Henry VII negotiations for her betrothal to James IV of Scotland. Both parts has been making this negotiations since 1496, but was official by a treaty in 1502. This negotiations was delay because of the family related by blood, the family has to wait for a papal dispensation. James great-grandmother was Joan Beaufort, sister of John Beaufort,who was the great-grandfather of Margaret Tudor. This made James IV and Margaret Tudor fourth cousins. This was prohibited by the church.


Before the couple was married in person, Patrick Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, acted as a proxy for James IV of Scotland at Richmond in January 1502 for his betrothal to Margaret Tudor.In April 1502 before Margaret move for Scotland her family lost the eldest of the Tudor children Arthur Tudor, he died on the border of England and Wales in a place name Ludlow Castes. After a year Elizabeth of York, Margaret mother died after given birth to a baby girl name Katherine, the baby died shortly after her mother. Now after all that lost on the 2nd of July,1503 Margaret finally departed for Scotland from Richmond Palace. On her way to Scotland she stopped at her grandmother Margaret Beaufort state at Collyweston, and later she continued on the way north.

Her real wedding (after a several proxy marriages) took place on 8 August 1503 at Holyrood House in Edinburgh. By that time Margaret was only 13 years old and James IV was 30. In March 1504 Margaret was officially crowned Queen. Margaret wrote a letter to her father Henry VII and apparently she was not happy and she was homesick. Apparently in the letters where two different hand writings, seems like the top of the letter was written by a secretary and the other part was Margaret owns handwriting. In 1506 she was pregnant for the first time and in February 1507 she gave birth to her first son James, who only lived about 1 year. Later in July 1508 she gave birth to a daughter who only survived few hours. Her brother became King Henry VIII of England when her father died in 1509. Later at the beginning of the same year she became pregnant again, and in the month of October she had a baby boy and she name him Arthur. Again she suffer another lost and the baby died only with 9 month old.

On April 11, 1512 at Linlithgow, Margaret gave birth again to a baby boy name James. This boy succeed his father as James V a little over a year old, unlike all those before him he lived to adulthood. The Queen became pregnant again, she gave birth to a baby girl, that only survived a few hours. The relations with Scotland become strained the first few years of Henry VIII reign, and eventually erupt into war. King Henry made Queen Catherine of Aragon regent with the Earl of Surrey in 1513, when he went to France to conduct military campaigns.( Margaret was conducted to Scotland by the Earl of Surrey for her wedding) by that time he was in charge of the forces that had remained in England. Surrey and the Queen took the troops to the northern and wait for the Scottish attack. This time Margaret was pregnant again and was the last child of James IV. In order to cross the border of England, James IV began his march in August. On September 9th at Flodden Field was the final battle of this conflict where James IV died leaving Margaret infant, King James V. In September 21 and according to James IV's will, the boy was crowned King. As long as Margaret not remarry, Margaret was to act as regent until James came of age. Margaret was pregnant again at the time of James IV death, she was going to have the late King's baby. In April 1514 Margaret gave birth to a boy she name him Alexander and was given the title "Duke of Ross". Margaret married again to a powerful Scottish man name Lord Archibald Douglas 6th Earl of Angus.


Margaret died en October 18, 1541, in Methwen Castle in Scotland probably from a stroke. She was buried at the Carthusian Abbey of Saint John's in Perth, Scotland.


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