Mary of Guelders

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Mary of Guelders
MaryofGuelders.jpg
Queen consort of Scotland
Tenure 3 July 1449 – 3 August 1460
Spouse James II of Scotland
m. 1449; wid. 1460
Issue James III of Scotland
Alexander Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany
David Stewart, Earl of Moray
John Stewart, 1st Earl of Mar and Garioch
Margaret Stewart
Mary Stewart, Countess of Arran
House House of Egmond
Father Arnold, Duke of Gelderland
Mother Catherine of Cleves
Born 1434
Grave, Netherlands
Died 1 December 1463 (aged 29)
Roxburgh Castle, Roxburghshire
Burial Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh

Mary of Guelders (c. 1434 – 1 December 1463) was the queen consort of Scotland as the wife of King James II of Scotland. She served as regent of Scotland from 1460 to 1463.

Biography[edit]

Background[edit]

She was the daughter of Arnold, Duke of Guelders, and Catherine of Cleves, a great-aunt of Anne of Cleves. She was a great-niece of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy.

Burgundian court[edit]

Philip and his wife Isabella of Portugal at first planned to have Mary betrothed to Charles, Count of Maine, but her father could not pay the dowry.[1] Mary stayed on at the Burgundian court, where Isabella frequently paid for her expenses. Mary attended Isabella's daughter-in-law Catherine of France, while she herself was attended upon by ten people.[2] The duke and duchess then started negotiations for a Scottish marriage. Philip promised to pay her dowry, while Isabella paid for her trousseau. William Crichton came to the Burgundian court to escort her back to Scotland.[3]

Marriage and children[edit]

She landed in Scotland in June 1449 and both nobles and the common people came to see her as she made her way to Holyrood Abbey. Mary married James II, king of Scots, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh on 3 July 1449. A sumptuous banquet was given, while the Scottish king gave her several presents. It had been agreed that any sons they might have would have no right to the duchy of Guelders.

James and Mary had seven children together:

Regency[edit]

After her husband's death, Mary acted as regent for their son James III of Scotland until her own death three years later. Mary was drawn into the War of the Roses taking place in England at this time. She appointed Bishop James Kennedy as her chief advisor; their companionship was described as well-functioning despite the fact that the bishop favoured an alliance with the Lancastrians, while Mary at first wanted to continue playing off the warring parties in England against each other.[4]

While Mary was still mourning the death of King James II, the Lancastrian Queen Margaret of Anjou fled north across the border seeking refuge from the Yorkists. Mary sympathetically aided Margaret and took Edward of Westminster into her household to keep them out of Yorkist hands.

Mary's dealings with Margaret were mainly to provide aid to the deposed queen. Mary gave a number of Scottish troops to help Margaret and the Lancastrian cause. She and Margaret also organised a betrothal between Prince Edward, son of King Henry VI of England, and King James III's sister Princess Margaret in 1461. In return for her support, Mary asked for the town of Berwick on the Anglo-Scottish border, which Margaret was willing to give up.

Relations between the two women deteriorated, however, with the increasingly friendly alliance between King Edward IV of England and Duke Philip of Burgundy. Any support by Mary for Margaret, Edward's enemy, threatened the alliance that Duke Philip wanted with King Edward IV against the French King Louis XI.

Edward IV tried to put a stop to Mary's support of Margaret by proposing marriage to the widowed queen, which Mary rejected. Her uncle, Duke Philip, pressured her to call off the betrothal of Margaret of Scotland and Prince Edward, to Margaret's disappointment. In 1462, she paid the Lancastrian royals to leave Scotland and made peace with Edward IV. She also hinted at the possibility of a marriage between herself and the new English king. Mary, reportedly, had several affairs during her period as regent, notably one with the Lord Hailes[5]

Mary went ahead with James II's plan to build a castle on land at Ravenscraig, designed to withstand the use of artillery, and lived in it while it was under construction until her death.[6]

Trinity College Church[edit]

A devout Roman Catholic, Mary founded Trinity College Church ca. 1460 in memory of her husband. The church, located in the area now known as Edinburgh's Old Town, was demolished in 1848 to make way for Waverley station, although it was partially reconstructed on a different site in 1870 under the name Trinity Apse. Mary was buried in the church, although her coffin was moved to Holyrood Abbey in 1848.

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Marshall, Rosalind K. (2003). Scottish Queens, 1034-1714. Tuckwell Press. pp. 57–58. 
  2. ^ Marshall, Rosalind K. (2003). Scottish Queens, 1034-1714. pp. 57–58. 
  3. ^ Marshall, Rosalind K. (2003). Scottish Queens, 1034-1714. p. 60. 
  4. ^ Marshall, Rosalind K. (2003). Scottish Queens, 1034-1714. p. 66. 
  5. ^ Anne Echols, Marty Williams: An annotated index of medieval women
  6. ^ Marshall, Rosalind K. (2003). Scottish Queens, 1034-1714. p. 67. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Scottish royalty
Preceded by
Joan Beaufort
Queen consort of Scotland
1449–1460
Succeeded by
Margaret of Denmark