18 October 1541 – Death of Margaret Tudor

Margaret TudorOn 18th October 1541, fifty-two year old Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, former Queen of Scotland and mother of James V, died of a stroke at Methven Castle, Perthshire, Scotland.

Margaret was laid to rest at the Carthusian Priory of St John in Perth, which was later destroyed and nothing remains of it today.

You can read all about Margaret’s life in an article I wrote on her back in 2010 – click here to read that now.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1555 – Elizabeth finally received permission from her half-sister, Mary I, to leave court and travel to her own estate at Hatfield, rather than return to house arrest in Woodstock. Click here to find out more.

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2 thoughts on “18 October 1541 – Death of Margaret Tudor”
  1. It is with Henry’s older sister Mary that I feel I have the most sympathy of his family and the most empathy. Sympathy because she did seem to have the most unfortunate life with her husbands, empathy because she also seems to have known to some extent what she wanted and to make her views known.

    On the earlier article post, I noted a number of comments on her sad life and I agree with this; she did have a sad married life, but she also had some happiness. For example, although she was married while a teen in 1503, she had a sypathetic husband. Her grandmother was also concerned to ensure that she did not live with James before her fourteenth birthday as she herself had been married when she was twelve; and her over enthusiasic husband had not waited until the recommended age, when she would be sexually mature. By the time Margaret Beaufort was 13 she was a widow and a mother as her husband had more or less raped her below the age of consent and sexual maturity that he should have waited until she was 14. Margaret Beautfort went through a very long and difficult birth and neiher she or her son, Henry Tudor were expected to live; but they did. Edmund Tudor, her 28 year old husband died of the plague in an English prison and poor Margaret was left a widow while pregnant, but also it is believed that the tough birth caused her internal damage as she was immature and very small and slender, evenfor her age. She wanted to protect her granddaughter from the same fate.

    For ten years, James of Scotland and Margaret had a successful marriage; they had six children, but when James invaded England in September 1513, while Henry VIII, her brother was out of the country in France; Margaret was left a widow as he was killed at the Battle of Flodden Hill in Northumbria. To make matters worse; the body of the King her husband was not returned to Scotland and in fact lay in a coffin, not buried at Syon Abbey for some years. It later vanished and its burial place became lost, if indeed he ever was buried. Katherine, Margaret’s own sister in law, regent in England, wanted to send the body of James to Henry, but sent his blood stained coat instead. Poor Margaret must have had very mixed feelings, especially as her brother’s family and Lords were primarily responsible for her husbands death. She may have felt sorrow and saddness for James, worry for her young son, the young King James V, her other children, maybe she wanted to come home, and maybe she even felt some anguish at Henry for this event. She must have wondered and thought that James was not making a wise move, invading while Henry was in France, although a victory would have changed things, and she must have been very concerned about what was to happen now.

    It must be pointed out also, that Flodden was most likely a battle waiting to happen as James III had good relations with England, the Scots had supported the Yorkist court, but even though they had supported Perkin Warbeck, Henry and James IV made good relations for some time. Henry VIII had an altogether different view of Scotland, wanting to enforce his senior authority over Scotland, that James would recognise him as some kind of overlord. Increased violence began across the borders, this intensified during 1512 and James took his opportunity to make his feelings felt through his invasion of Northumbria in 1513.

    Margaret was left with young children and was at first made Regent because of her son. However, Margaret was to embark on two contronversial marriages, to Angus and Albany. Her marriage to Angus caused problems in the council who wanted to replace her as regent, forcing her to flee back to England. Political upheaval over the next few years caused more problems and Margaret wanted to divorce her husband, but Henry was not so keen. But she eventrually ended her now unhappy marriage, entering a third marriage that was just as unhappy. Poor Margaret did not find as much sympathy in England or in Scotland but this marriage was also brought to an end.

    I feel very sad for Margaret at this time as she was seperated from the children from her second marriage, her daughter, another Margaret Douglas, this time, raised at the court of her brother and recognised as having a stake in the English succession, unlike her other children, born and raised in Scotland. At length there was something of a breach between Henry and Margaret, her letters in 1540 and 1541 are very heart rendering; Henry disaproved of her behaviour. He was being somewhat hypocritical at this period as he himself had married four times, but that is Henry, one law for him, another for any one else. He did not support her divorce when she first came to him in 1517-1518 but by now he had a varied married life and was on his second divorce, so he had little right to scold Margaret for her own marital and extra marital adventures. Margaret had married at least two unfaithful and not so good husbands, and she had begun to suffer many trials in order to maintain her dignity and her family status at this time. There is an indication in a final letter that brother and sister may have been reconciled to an extent by the time of her death; but I feel for her because although she always seems to be strong willed, I feel she came off worse from the choices that she made.

    Ironically, the happiest time in Margaret’s life appears to have been her life with James IV and her life as a Princess. Her so called love matches brought the poor lady unhappiness, she must have been strong to have endured all of this; a true Tudor Queen. From Margaret we have a number of successors; James V and our own James VI and I, and Mary Queen of Scots. We also have Arabella Stuart, a famous lady who was placed into the Tower, where she died for a love match with William Seymour, also an heir to the throne via Mary Tudor, her younger sister; a thorn in the side of that same James VI, her cousin. Another famous person who was descendent of Margaret Tudor via her second husband was Henry Darnley; though her daughters marriage to the Earl of Lennox, second husband of Marie Queen of Scots.

  2. What an interesting article , I know almost nothing about Margaret but will have to find out more about her, she seems so interesting . Why I haven’t read about her until now is a mystery to me, lynne

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