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Later house of Stewart (1460-1542)
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Later house of Stewart (1460-1542)

JAMES III (1460-1488)
BORN IN 1451, JAMES III was still a child when crowned in Kelso Abbey. His mother Mary of Gueldres ruled as regent until her death in 1463, after which her son fell under the influence of the Boyd family until his marriage in 1469 to Margaret of Denmark. The king's brothers -Alexander, Duke of Albany and John, Earl of Mar - were arrested in 1479, suspected of plotting against him. Mar died suspiciously. Albany escaped to England, where Edward IV recognized him as King Alexander IV in 1482. James's bisexuality outraged the Scottish lords; they hanged one royal boyfriend and when James tried to give another an earldom, they rallied behind the king's reluctant 15-year-old son James. Father and son met at the Battle of Sauchieburn near Stirling, where James III lost the Crown and his life.

JAMES IV (1488-1513)
James IV wore an iron waist chain as penance for the death of his father. In his reign - marked by a glittering court - university education flourished, printing was introduced and a navy established. Though the king supported the Yorkist pretender Perkin Warbeck against Henry VII of England, in 1503 he married Henry's daughter Margaret Tudor. Bound by the 'auld alliance' to France, James faced a dilemma when Henry VIII invaded France. The Scottish king led his army across the border, where he and it were crushed at Flodden, on 9 September 1513.

Later house of Stewart (1460-1542)


'The Flowers of the Forest that fought aye the foremost, The prime of our land lie cauld in the clay.'
'The Flowers of the Forest' (on the Scots' defeat at Flodden), Jean Elliott

JAMES V (1513-42)
James V was still a baby when crowned at Stirling and this inevitably meant a struggle between his mother Margaret (and her second husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus) on the one hand and John Stuart, Duke of Albany (the nobles' choice as Governor), on the other. Albany left Scotland in 1524, and James fell into the hands of the Douglases until he escaped in 1528 and drove his stepfather out of Scotland. James liked to travel incognito among his poorer subjects, but was suspicious of the nobility, whose power he tried to curb. He generously supported the Catholic Church at a time when the Protestant Reformation was gathering momentum.

James sided with France against Henry VIII's England. In 1542 Henry sent an army to Scotland, whereupon the Scots nobles revenged themselves on James by deserting him when the armies clashed at Solway Moss. News of his army's defeat devastated the Scottish king, who died in despair a week after the birth of his daughter Mary (later Queen of Scots). Mary was nine months old when crowned at Stirling Castle in 1543. Her French mother Mary of Guise became regent in 1554, but was defeated by Protestant forces and died in Edinburgh Castle.

James III with St Andrew in Hugo van der Goes' Trinity College altarpiece of 1476.

Later house of Stewart (1460-1542)

James V-who died after learning of the Scots' defeat at Solway Moss - pictured with his second wife Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots.

Later house of Stewart (1460-1542)

Built in French Renaissance style between 1501 and 1541 for James IV and James V, Falkland was a favorite residence of the kings while hunting in the forests of Fife.

Later house of Stewart (1460-1542)

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