By Stephanie Burkhart
Gabrielle Anwar, Margaret Tudor on "The Tudors."
A part of Henry VII always worried that the English Crown might not fall to his male progeny. He is quoted telling his councilors:
"Supposing, which God forbid, that all my male progeny should be come extinct and the kingdom devolve by law to Margaret's heirs, will England be damaged thereby or benefited?"
This was in 1502, as England waited to see if Arthur and Katherine, Prince and Princess of Wales, had conceived. The future for Henry VII's male progeny looked bright. But we all know history had other plans.
What niggled in the back of Henry VII's mind? Was he haunted by the deaths of the Princes in the Tower, rightful heirs to the throne, before their deaths? Did he have anything to do with the Princes' deaths, as the rumor mill implied? Only history knows, but he did feel, STRONGLY, that his daughter's heirs just might inherit his kingdom.
Margaret was born in NOV 1489. She was six when her father proposed a marriage between her and the Scottish king, James IV. This was Henry's way to quell the support the Scottish had for Perkin Warbeck, who was supposedly Richard of York, Edward IV's son. Rumor was Elizabeth Woodville, put a changeling in her son's place before he was taken to the tower.
In 1502, Margaret was married to James IV by proxy. She was 13. It was noted that Henry, Duke of York, 10 years old, threw a tantrum when he realized his sister held higher precedence than he did at court.
In 1503, Margaret joined her husband in Scotland. It was a poor nation, but James was a strong leader and held the warring nobles in check.
James and Margaret were not a love match, but there was strong affection between the couple. Interestingly, Margaret didn't bear children right away. It was speculated she used birth control methods of the time to "time" her children. She was 17 when she first gave birth to a son. Total, Margaret had six children with James IV, but only 1 child, James V, lived to adulthood. All her other children with James died in infancy.
The Scots were natural allies to the French. In 1513, James went to war with England to honor his French alliance and died in the Battle of Flodden. Interesting Historical Note: Katherine of Aragon, now Queen Katherine of England was Regent at the time, and it was her forces that killed James.
Margaret was named regent – as long as she stayed a widow. She gave birth to a son in 1514, after her husband's death.
She managed the regency well, but her heart got the better of her. Her first marriage was for state reasons, her second was for love – she married Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, a Scottish Lord.
The Scottish lords didn't like that and sent for John Stewart, Duke of Albany to be regent from France. Without support, Margaret was force to flee to England. Her daughter, Margaret Douglas was born in England. (She lived to adulthood and was the Countess of Lennox – Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley's mother – remember him? Mary of Scot's husband)
Archibald stayed in Scotland while Margaret was in England. (Everyone thought he'd stay in England with his wife and baby daughter.) He had to hold his property so the crown couldn't get it. The separation ruined the marriage and Margaret sought a divorce. In 1527, the pope gave it to her.
Her brother, Henry VIII, was appalled. Ironic, considering what he dared to do just a couple of years later – get a divorce himself. And we all know what the Pope told him.
Margaret played Scottish politics and intrigue. Her son, James, was crowned at 12 and she remained an advisor, but their relationship always had a bit of a strain to it due to their separation when he was younger.
Margaret married a 3rd time to Henry Stewart, another Scottish lord. She married for love, but time quickly proved her a 3rd time loser. Henry was a big flake like Archibald. Through the help of her daughter-in-law, Mary Guise, Margaret reconciled with Henry, her husband. She died of a stroke in 1541.
Her son, James V, had a daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary's son, James VI came to the English throne, heir to Elizabeth I, Henry VIII's daughter.
While Elizabeth served well as Henry VIII's heir, it was Margaret's great-grandson who united England and Scotland, and in her way, it was Margaret's heirs who better served England, as her father supposed they would.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots
A member of Generation X, Stephanie was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, she joined the U.S. Army. She spent 11 years in the military, 7 stationed in Germany. While in the military she earned her B.S. in Political Science from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in 1995. She left the Army in 1997 and settled in California. She now works for LAPD as a 911 Dispatcher. The New England Patriots are still her favorite football team. Stephanie has been married for over 19 years. She has two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4.