Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tudor Tart: Princess Margaret Stewart

No known portrait of Margaret exists. However,
here is one of her great granddaughter, Lady Agnes
Douglas, looking ever the saucy wench.
I haven't written a Tudor Tart in a while, so I thought I would post one today on Princess Margaret Stewart.

Margaret was the daughter of James II of Scotland, and youngest sister to James III of Scotland. It is said that she was James' favorite sister, and "a Princess of great beauty, but of a reputation that was more than loose."

According to contemporary sources, Margaret was "charged with too much familiarity with her own brother." It was known that she was James' favorite sister, but whether the implied relationship is true or not, it is fact that she was "familiar" with Lord William Crichton. Crichton was a powerful noble at court, and enemy of James III. It was speculated that Crichton seduced Margret to get back at James for sleeping with his wife. The two carried on their love affair long enough for Margaret to bear at least one illegitimate child, a daughter named Margaret Crichton.

The story doesn't end there. Lord Crichton's "disagreements" with the King caused him to take an extended vacation in England. Luckily for him, his wife died while he was in exile. According to one source, Margaret pined for him so, that the King recalled Crichton to Scotland under the condition that he marry her.

Though Crichton did (according to Sir Walter Scott) return and marry Margaret, the issues between he and the King were unresolved. James III was a very unpopular King, and was eventually overthrown. He died in battle in 1488. Margaret remained out of the political upheavals of her brother's reign upon her marriage, living out her days at her husband's country residence.

What think ye? Was Margaret a silly girl, easily swayed into a revengeful love affair, or a genuine lover who put her heart before her family?

Note: Some of the scandalous information about Margaret comes from Sir Walter Scott, a late 18th/early 19th century novelist and poet. Thus, it must be taken with a grain of salt.

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