James V

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Aged only 1 when he came to the throne, James V was the son of James IV, king of Scotland. In 1513, his father died at the battle of Flodden, fighting the English, leaving his wife, Margaret, as Regent. She, however, was sister to the English king, Henry VIII and therefore unacceptable to the Scots nobility. When, in 1514, she remarried, to the Douglas Earl of Angus, they replaced her with the half-French John Stuart, Duke of Albany, who had been James IV's cousin. A faction struggle ensued between Albany, Angus and the queen mother -- finally, in 1526, Margaret divorced Angus, and the Earl seized the young king, holding him captive for 2 years and trying to seduce the 14-year-old with pleasures. James resisted and in 1528 managed to escape.

He immediately moved to self-rule and began by pursuing those he considered his opponents. The Douglas family had their lands confiscated and were declared outlaws, Angus was forced to flee Scotland, and James moved to an old alliance, with the Catholic France. He also moved against those nobles he considered dangerous: the borders, with England, were harried by an army he led, and those who lived there and raided English lands were put down; in the highlands he pursused a similar policy, which calmed the honest lords, but cost James many good fighting men.

James knew the dangers of lacking an heir (he had, it was said, sired 9 illegitimate children), and, in 1537, he married Madeleine, daughter of Francis I of France. Sadly she was to die within 6 months, of a tubercular condition, and after her death James married, in 1538, Mary of Guise, a widow who had already had 2 sons. In 1542 a daughter, Mary, was born (after 2 sons had died in infancy), but in the same year war broke out, with England.

James's bride, daughter of the Duke of Guise, had been on Henry VIII's list of potential brides (despite his Protestantism), and James' marriage to her perhaps soured relations. James also rejected Henry's attempts to win his support for the English religious policy, and in 1542 war broke out between the two countries. James's nobles gave him little support, and his army was routed at Solway Moss in 1542. He died shortly thereafter and was succeeded by his infant daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.

Scottish kings

James V

Preceded by
James IV
Succeeded by
Mary Queen of Scots