8th August, 1503: The Rose and the Thistle

On 8th August, 1503, Henry VII’s eldest child, Margaret Tudor, married James IV of Scotland – uniting the quarrelling nations of England and Scotland for all of about five minutes, (I say ‘five minutes’, I actually mean ‘ten years’, but still…)

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The decision that the thirty year old Scottish King would marry the fourteen year old Tudor princess came about in 1495, after a bit of a shit storm, and a genius tactical play by the Scottish King.

In 1495 Henry VII had been ruling for a few years; however there were still people who thought his claim to the throne was dubious to say the least, and wanted him gone. This led to a couple of people pretending to be Richard Plantagenet, the Duke of York, one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’. If it was found that the Princes were still alive, Henry’s claim to the throne wouldn’t be worth shit, and all that he had fought for would be thrown into question, and the country plunged back into civil war. Queue Perkin Warbeck.

Perkin was a pretender to the throne of England, claiming he was Richard, Duke of York. His claim was supported by Henry’s enemies, especially those in France, Ireland and Scotland, where Henry was hated the most, so when Perkin arrived in Scotland seeking help, King James was only too happy to oblige. James saw it as an opportunity to dangle a threat of uncertainty over the English, so kept Perkin close, gave him a salary of £1200 per annum and married him to Catherine Gordon, the daughter of a noble courtier. James was nobody’s fool, he was one of the brightest Kings in history; I don’t really believe that James thought that Perkin was who he claimed to be, but he was a handy man to have around.

Now that James had a trump card in his pocket, Henry shit himself and decided it might be a good idea to form an alliance with Scotland, by betrothing his then six year old daughter to the Scottish King, and approached the King with the suggestion.  Eventually Perkin used his income to invade England… but fucked it up, like a massive tit, and was finally captured by Henry VII – but the betrothal continued none-the-less. What harm could it do to keep your enemies close? Both kings saw the potential of the marriage, and both had their eyes on the greater prize of picking up another country through any heirs produced.

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Perkin Warbeck: Gobshite

On 24th January, 1502, both James and Henry agreed to sign a contract to confirm that they wouldn’t try and dick each other over anymore, and so the catchily-titled ‘Treaty of Perpetual Peace’ was created… ‘perpetual’ meaning ‘until you piss me off’ in this case. On the same day, after waiting ages for the Pope to decide if the couple were indeed not so incestuously-related that they would produce gompy, inbred heirs, (James and Margaret were distant cousins), the two kings also confirmed that James would marry Margaret in order to cement the friendship, (I use the term ‘friendship’ loosely here), so the plans for a wedding were drawn up.

On 25th January, 1503 Margaret was married by proxy to James IV at Richmond palace. Proxy weddings weren’t unusual at this time, but I don’t believe for one minute that people didn’t find them hysterical and ridiculous even then. Margaret’s proxy marriage basically meant that she had the usual customary wedding ceremony, but with one of James’ pal’s, a bloke called  Patrick Earl of Bothwell, standing in as the groom because James couldn’t make it, while everyone else stands like gormless idiots, pretends this is a normal thing to do, and definitely not fucked up in the slightest. In fact, proxy marriages were so stupid that when Mary Tudor, Henry VII’s other daughter, married the King of France by proxy years later, she had to ‘consummate’ her marriage by touching naked ankles with the pseudo-groom, though Margaret was spared this fucking ridiculous spectacle.

The proxy marriage was treated as a real marriage, and Margaret was known as Queen of Scotland from that day one, a fact that pissed off Margaret’s younger brother, The Prince Henry (later to be Henry VIII), as it now meant that she had greater titles and wealth than him and consequently received greater privileges at court, like being announced first at dinner, and sitting in a higher position to him. The fat little shit hated not being centre of attention, and outshined by his sister, and had to be warned to rein it in by his parents.

NPG D23868; Prince Henry aftwerwards King Henry VIII published by William Richardson

Prince Henry as a pube haired, spoiled brat of a child, with cold, dead eyes; ruining his sisters weird, groomless wedding with his sour fucking temper, like a little moonfaced shithouse.

The ceremony itself was followed by an enormous banquet and several days of celebrations, including jousting, dancing and pageantry. Margaret, although only fourteen, was the life and soul of the court. She rocked being a princess, she loved to dance and play music, and was fucking obsessed with fine clothes. Both Margaret and the Earl wore cloth of gold to the ceremony, and she was given a new wardrobe to match her new status.

Due to her young age, Margaret wasn’t allowed to travel to Scotland to meet James for the best part of a year. Her Grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, had been forced to marry a man when she was twelve, and was so completely and utterly fucked up by her own experienced of marriage and child birth at such a young age, that she advised against a proper shagging consummation until Margaret was a little older.

Margaret set off for Scotland in June 1503, with a 30000 gold noble dowry; chaperoned by the Earl of Surrey and his wife, and a procession of well-dressed courtiers. Her carriage was kitted out in blue velvet and cloth of gold, and draped in bear skin. Margaret eventually arrived in Scotland on 1st August after three weeks of travelling, and was greeted by the Scottish Lords and the Archbishops of Glasgow, before being escorted to Dalkeith Castle, where she met James IV for the first time, (there had been a stable fire which had killed some of Margaret’s horses, so James had come to console his new wife like a proper sweetheart).

On 7th August, James and Margaret rode into Edinburgh, and Margaret was introduced to the people as their new Queen. Despite hating the English, the people of Scotland were made up to meet their new Queen. James was now thirty and despite being a complete womaniser, had never shown any signs of wanting to marry, which caused uncertainty as to who would inherit the throne upon his death. Now that worry was over, though this may also have something to do with the shit-tonne of wine that James supplied to the city in honour of his wife’s arrival.

James IV & Margaret Tudor-marriage procession

Margaret and James’ wedding procession through the streets of Edinburgh.

Both James and Margaret upped their spouse game by wearing matching outfits of cloth of gold trimmed with black fur, and trotting into the city ahead of a train of horsemen, trumpeters, minstrels and dancers. James kept his arm around his young bride’s waist for most of the day and Edinburgh was in its element. The next day the pair had a proper ceremony at Holyrood Castle to officiate their marriage. Once again, they wore matching ‘his and hers’ outfits, both made from white damask with crimson trimmings, and James, who was known for having the best beard in the kingdom, shaved it off for the event, as Margaret wasn’t a fan and he wanted to win her over big time.

The celebrations went on and on. James had spent a quarter of his annual living allowance on wine for the wedding and was desperate to show the visiting English nobles how rich the Scottish were. The English tried to pass it off as if it was nothing, but were obviously secretly impressed. James’ court was the place to be, and James was one fucking amazing King.

James IV became King after his father was murdered by a man pretending to be a priest as he fled from battle. James was then brought up by and groomed to be King by the very men who had defeated his father. He lived with this guilt all his life, and wore an iron chain around his waist at lent as penance for his dad’s death.

James was incredibly intellectual, and very generous. He spoke fluently in seven languages, including Celtic and had travelled far and wide. He met regularly with his people (including the Celts), and was a much loved King. In those times it was almost expected that kings would have mistresses, and James was no exception, only James seemed to treat his mistresses better than most monarchs, and seemingly never did the dirty on them. He was a womaniser, there is no doubt, but the women who were taken as mistresses by him were treated as queens, and of the several bastard children he had by these women, all were acknowledged and raised as princes and princesses, accessing the best education money could buy.

Shortly after arriving in Scotland, James took Margaret on a tour of his country, there she met all of his children who were being raised and taught together as a family and children of the king. Margaret wrote to her father to tell him about her time with James and commended him being such a fucking good Dad to his illegitimate kids, and whilst initially Margaret told her family that she was homesick, over time the couple came to love each other greatly.

However, Margaret Tudor was not the great love of James’ life. Prior to marrying her, James took a mistress, also called Margaret just to cause confusion, and apparently married her in secret. The problem was, or so the theories go, that James wouldn’t agree to his marriage with Margaret Tudor because of his love for Margaret Drummond, his favourite mistress. The Pro-English noblemen of the Scottish court apparently were having none of this shit, after all a king should marry a princess and stop pretending a mistress in anything more than a bit of fanny, and so decided to bump off Margaret Drummond in order to clear the way for James to marry the Tudor princess.

Margaret Drummond was poisoned at breakfast, along with her two sisters, in 1501 and died. She was given a tomb bestowing a queen and James mourned her death greatly. A few years later, Margaret Tudor wrote of the incident in letters to her family, condemning the Scottish nobles for their actions. Although Margaret eventually came to enjoy the Scottish court she could never really get her head around the women being so outspoken and liberal, but in spite of this her love for the Scottish people grew all the same.

Since James was the biggest Romeo around, he was well practiced in keeping women happy, and knew exactly what to do to make sure he won Margaret’s heart. He was known country wide for his warmth and generosity, he kept taxes low, spent cash when it needed to be spent and bought shit-hot gifts when they needed to be bought. For Margaret this must have been a bit of a change, as her Dad was a known tight arse and didn’t part with a penny unnecessarily. James lavished Margaret with the finest gifts*, and she was every bit the Scottish Queen he had made her. The pair had six children, though sadly only one that lived through infancy, a boy they called James after his father. Aside from the loss of their children the couple were very affectionate and loving and had ten years of happy marriage.

 

NPG D23905; King James IV of Scotland probably by Isaac Taylor

James Iv: Pulling out all the smooth moves on Madge.

In 1509, Margaret’s father, Henry VII, died and her brother Henry VIII came to power. In true Henry VIII style, he went into his reign like a bull in a china shop and decided that in 1513 he would go and cause some shit in France, after all it had been quiet for a while and the French were only a stone’s throw away over the Chanel. This proved to be a problem for James IV, he had a sworn allegiance with France and now his cock-end brother-in-law had decided to go lay waste to them. James decided that there was only one course of action to take: to break the treaty of Perpetual Peace and invade England whilst Henry was away.

There was one thing that James hadn’t banked on though, and that was the fact that Henry had left his wife, the total BAMF and uber heroine, Queen Katherine of Aragon, in charge. Katherine wasn’t having her sister-in-laws hubby invade on her watch and sent her army to lay waste to James, and that’s exactly what they did.

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Katherine of Aragon looking like butter wouldn’t melt. Well let me tell you, butter very much does melt…

James was killed at Flodden by the troops of the Earl of Surrey, the very man who had brought his Wife to him ten years earlier. His body was sent to Katherine of Aragon as proof of his death, who, like a total bad-ass then decided to send his blood stained clothes to Henry in France to use as a war banner, and not so subtle message, to the French.

Sword and Dagger of James IV, and Two Knights' Banners, used at the Battle of Flodden Field

Margaret was gutted at James’ death, and understandably fucked off with her brother, but then all is fair in love and war, and Margaret had to dust herself off and act as regent to their seventeen month old son, the new King of Scotland, James V. Margaret wasn’t even allowed to bury her husband, as her sister-in-law had his body. Ordinarily he would have been buried in a royal grave, but James had been excommunicated the day he decided to break the Treaty of Perpetual Peace, so to bury him in consecrated ground would be like jizzing in the eye of God. So, instead he was shoved in the woodshed at Sheen Abbey and left to rot.

There has been much speculation over James IV’s body. It is believed that it became detached from his head as it lay rotting in the Abbey until it eventually ended up getting dumped in a charnel pit in London. The exact site of the pit has now gone and a pub sits in its place, it is believed that James’ head is still underneath.

‘And what of Margaret?’ I hear you cry. Well she went on to lead a life of up’s and downs, marrying twice more, holding a coup, being a general mother bear and becoming Great Grandma to the one King that eventually did manage to untie the two countries, James VI.

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James IV and his beautiful wife, Queen Margaret, (though I say beautiful, she looks like a 1980’s headmistress in this painting, which is pretty shit considering she is meant to be fourteen).

 

*Some of the gifts can still be seen. For instance, a kick-ass illustrated bible called ‘The Hours of James IV’, (I say ‘kick-ass’ but if my husband gave me a bible nowadays there would be words, like actual harsh murder words), which can be seen in a museum in Vienna, and also a recently found, monogrammed wedding chest is on public display in Scotland. The monograms on the chest are identical to the ones that James commissioned to be put on the tiled floor at Linlithgow castle.

 

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29th July 1565 – Mary Queen of Scots marries one giant wanker.

Mary Queen of Scotts and the right Honourable prick Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley)

Mary Queen of Scots and the right Honourable prick Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley)

When Mary Queen of Scots was 18 years old, she became a widow for the first time. Her husband, who was the King of France, had only gone and died so Mary found herself back in Scotland as Queen where she belonged, (or not as the case may be – she had been away far too long for the public to give a shit about her). Mary being a widow presented a new opportunity for marriage: she was young, royal and more importantly fertile. It was time for hubby number two.
The whole prospect of marriage raised a few issues though (cos when would it be interesting if it didn’t): Mary was heir to the English throne as well as ruler of Scotland, her husband had to be chosen carefully. Because her cousin Elizabeth 1st had refused to marry and chuck out some kids, Mary was next in line. This pissed Liz off a little so she took it upon herself to sort out Mary a match and in return for marrying Liz’s choice of suitor, Mary would def’s inherit the English crown.
Liz chose Henry Stuart, the Lord Darnley to marry Mary. He was a royal himself, in line to the English throne and Mary’s 1st cousin (which makes me want to chunder but was ‘normal’ back in the day). He was also a massive prick. Somehow his charm won through and Mary fell head over heels for him, as most teenage girls do when they meet someone who’s not only good looking but also minted and says the right thing. Usually this is a pretty good indicator that the boy in question is actually a giant fuck head and should be swerved at all cost. Darnley was no exception to this.
Anyway, Mary fancied the shit out of him and the couple married on July 29th1565, (only after she had nursed him to health after a casual  bout of secondary syphilis that he had caught in England prior to arriving in Scotland for his marriage).  Darnley dressed himself in all the jewels he could find like a fucking idiot and Mary wore her mourning gown for the last time, (which I’m sure did everything to lighten the atmosphere of the service). Darnley was such a gobshite that he even refused to attend the nuptial mass (he was protestant and Mary catholic. Yes it came down to that shit again).
A few months down the line, Mary began to realise what a dick she had married. Darnely barely ever saw her, drank like he had an endless supply of livers and had gold membership and a loyalty card at the local brothels. What a bell end this man was. Not only that but he incessantly pressed her to make him King, putting himself above her as the sovereign in an act called ‘crown matrimony, which was a fucking joke because when they had first married Mary had given him a say at parliament and he never showed up. Mary even had a stamp made out in his signature so shit could actually get done. She wasn’t having any of his crap any more and started to despise the prick, but by this time it was a bit too late.
Mary turned to her close friend and private secretary, David Rizzio for support. By now Darnley was a violent, incompetent piss head, and Mary needed advice on how best to handle it. Having said this, Rizzio was by no means an angel. He was a short arse who has been documented to have been shagging Darnley himself at some point prior to all of this. But anyway, that aside, Mary and Rizzio’s friendship didn’t sit well with Darnley, and he grew jealous and enraged.  He saw it as an opportunity to try again to seize power of the throne. What this fucker did next was unreal (even for a bloke like him).
Mary had pissed off some of the protestant nobles by taking away their lands because they had been utter knobs. The nobles weren’t happy so approached Darnley. They suggested that if he were to kill Rizzio and put it about that the queen was shagging him, they would grant him ‘crown Matrimony’ in parliament, and he would take full control of the Scottish throne in exchange for returning the noblemen’s lands and benefits. Of course he agreed.
On the night of May 7th, 1566, Mary was sat having tea in her quarters with Rizzio and some pals when in bursts Darnley and his pals and stab the shit out of Rizzio. Rizzio apparently hid behind the queens skirts but nothing could protect him and he was stabbed over 50 times until he died in front of the 7 month pregnant queen. How Mary did not miscarry was a miracle. She could do nothing to save her best friend and hated her husband with a passion. Who wouldn’t? he was a right cunt.
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Mary fled to Edinburgh where her army were awaiting. There she had protection and power and sentenced all of the murderous protty noblemen. The plan had failed, but there was still a problem. If Mary named Darnley as a perpetrator to the crime, it would put into question the legitimacy of her unborn baby and the throne would be up for grabs. She just carried on bless her, (I would’ve drowned the bastard but that’s just me).
On June 19th 1566, Mary gave birth to her son and heir James Stuart (soon after his birth this little dude inherited the throne because his mum fucked up and married another dick head but that’s another story… The link to which is at the bottom of the page). Mary reconciled with Darnley but the marriage was bitter and cold. Not surprisingly she pure fucking hated him but couldn’t divorce him because a) she was catholic and b) it would make her child a bastard and he would loose his entitlement to the throne. They barley saw each other. Darnley couldn’t even attend his owns sons christening because he was at home with anther bout of cock rot. At the christening Elizabeth was proclaimed Prince James’s Godmother, later he would inherit her throne too.

Now at this point you may be thinking that things were looking a bit shitty for Mary, and you would be right. She was stuck in a marriage with a murderous, wife beating alcoholic adulterer, and her future looking really grim. But fret not, because Darnley was about to get his just desserts.

Early in 1567 Darnley got the pox (wait…that’s not even the best bit), so was sent to live at Kirk O’Field just outside Edinburgh. Mary had the estate kitted out so he would be comfortable but didn’t want him near the young prince so off he went to live away. To be fair, the pair were all but estranged at this point anyway and I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mary would have been possibly relived he was out of the way because he was one giant fucktard. Mary did however visit him frequently (probably to cheer herself up at how ill and disfigured the pox had made him. The chump).

Here’s the good bit. On the night of 9th February 1567, Mary left Darnley early in order to ‘attend a wedding’. During the early hours of the morning there was an almighty explosion and the whole of Darnley’s Kirk O’Fields estate went up in one giant fireball. Upon closer inspection it was obvious that it was arson and caused by a shit tonne of gunpowder. Darnley’s body was found and the fucker was at last out of Mary’s hair once and for all (though as Iv just typed that I remembered that Mary wore a wig, but you know what I mean). The curious thing about all of this though was that his body was recovered in the garden with not a burn or scorch mark on it. Darnley had been suffocated and dumped before the explosion.

The explosion

The explosion

A Tudor time CSI style map, giving an 'accurate' account of where the bodies of Darnley and his servant were found in the garden. Quite why they are stark bollock naked with their arses out, and bigger than what appear to be pine trees is as much of a mystery as the incident itself.

A Tudor time CSI style map, giving an ‘accurate’ account of where the bodies of Darnley and his servant were found in the garden. Quite why they are stark bollock naked with their arses out, and bigger than what appear to be pine trees is as much of a mystery as the incident itself.

Now I know what your probably thinking, that it was Mary, BUT there were several suspects. Yes Mary could’ve done it because it was her only chance to move on but it was equally likely to be one of the other noblemen that Darnley had annoyed, a pal of Rizzio’s or even Darnley himself in a failed plan to blow up Mary. One thing was sure: he was dead and Mary’s horrific car crash marriage had come to an end. The arsonist was never caught.

Now the really shitty thing is that this was only the end to one chapter of Marys life. The next chapter began almost instantly after these events, (again follow the link at the bottom of the page to find out more), when mary found herself in the company of one Earl of Bothwell, another known prick and also a suspect in Darnleys murder. She lost favour of her public and was forced to flee, never seeing her son James again. James inherited the throne of Scotland aged 13 months old. Mary Queen of Scots really did have one of the saddest lives that I’ve ever read about, (and the wankest choice in men), still Happy anniversary Mary and Henry Stuart.

Poor Mary

Poor Mary

https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/17/july-17th-1586-plots-executions-treason-and-the-dick-end-men-in-mary-queen-of-scots-life/