No one can blame Margaret Tudor for being overshadowed by her famous brother, King Henry VIII. But in all honesty, Margaret—as a thrice-married, husband-deposing, serial divorcée and regent of Scotland—pursued more than enough scandal to hold her own against Henry. While her headstrong ways didn’t always help her political career, they certainly makes for a new, salacious, and lesser-told story in the Tudor court.
Get to know your new favorite royal: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland and saucy sister to Henry VIII.
Margaret Tudor Facts
1. She Was Born With Purpose
Margaret was the very first Tudor princess of England. Born on November 28, 1489, she was the second child—but oldest girl—born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. In a time when royal baby boys were normally much more appealing than royal baby girls, Margaret’s parents were actually happy with their daughter, but not for a particularly good reason.
2. Her Dad Had A Plan
You see, Margaret’s dad Henry Tudor didn’t have a steady hold on power. He’d claimed his throne by slaying the previous king, which meant that Henry couldn’t really play the “I’m the King because God said so” card. His best bet for keeping his crown was playing nice with other European powers—and that meant having daughters to marry off to eligible bachelors.
Spoiler: Margaret will make her dad very proud in this department.
3. She Had A Rough Childhood
Princess Margaret grew up in the luxurious Eltham palace with her younger siblings, the infamous Henry VIII and her sister Mary, who would become the queen of France. However, her other siblings often go undiscussed for a dark reason. Margaret had to watch as two of her little sisters and two of her little brothers passed away in their early years.
4. Her Love Life Was Creepy
Royal people loved marrying off literal children and Margaret’s family was no different. Before she was even six years old, Margaret was creepily betrothed to King James IV of Scotland, who was a dicey 22 years old at the time. Clearly, this wasn’t a love match. Instead, the betrothal was for one thing and one thing only: Power.
5. She Was A Pawn
Young Margaret’s hand in marriage would seal England and Scotland’s sweetly named “Treaty of Perpetual Peace.” In this agreement, King James promised to stop sending pesky usurpers (and violent raids) to Margaret’s dad’s doorstep. In exchange, Henry Tudor would give King James his “eldest” daughter (who was still a literal child at the time). Name a more romantic marriage, I dare you.
6. Her Marriage Was Dramatic
Margaret’s marriage to King James came with a healthy dose of drama. Over the last few years, her family and King James constantly attacked each other. Heck, even before she was born, Margaret’s future husband tried to boot her father off the throne. King James made a guy, hilariously named Perkin Warbeck, pretend to be Margaret’s long-lost uncle and “true” heir to the English throne.
This zany plan failed, and when James realized that he couldn’t beat the Tudor squad, he joined ’em—via marriage to young Margaret Tudor.
7. Everyone Hated Her Beau
The English people absolutely hated Margaret’s first beau—but not because of the creepy age difference. Council members feared that marrying young princess Margaret to James IV could pave the way for Scots to grab the English throne. When Henry heard that his people weren’t down with the wedding, he responded with some fateful words.
8. Her Dad Clapped Back
Margaret’s dad responded, oh so classily, by saying that England was too big and important to be subsumed by the Scots. In fact, if things ever came down a wild thing happening like, say, every Tudor male dying out (which eventually did happen, by the way), England would take over Scotland! Reader, this man was deeply wrong. And dad’s bad judgment spelled doom for Margaret.
9. She Was In Danger
When Margaret Tudor was an elderly 10 years old, her dad King Henry became even more impatient to send his daughter off to marry the now 27-year-old King James IV of Scotland. Fortunately, Margaret’s grandmother was an absolute BAMF of Tudor history. She stepped in to “encourage” her son to wait a few more years. The way she persuaded him was both legendary and deeply disturbing.
10. She Was Rescued
Grandma Marg coolly reminded her son that she actually had some personal experience in the “grossly young wife” area. After all, she was just 13 years old when she gave birth to baby Henry. The experience was so traumatic that both mother and child almost died, and it permanently “spoiled” Marg’s ability to have more children. After getting owned by his mom, King Henry decided to let young Margaret wait a few more years before tying the knot.
11. Her Husband Was A Player
Grandma Marg had good reason to worry about her granddaughter’s health. At the time of Margaret’s engagement, James IV of Scotland already had several illegitimate kids with multiple mistresses. The Scottish king’s lusty reputation only added to grandma’s fear that James would not wait to consummate his marriage with Margaret, no matter how young she was. To this I say: EW.
12. She Was Beautiful
Not too much survives about Margaret Tudor’s appearance. However, it’s believed that she was petite and slight of frame in her youth, with fair skin, auburn hair, and dark eyes. In other words, she was a certified Renaissance hottie, and surprise surprise, her milkshake (read: good looks, royal blood, and huge fortune) brought all the European boys to the yard.
13. Her Wedding Was…Unusual
Even before the advent of conference calling, Margret’s first marriage was a long-distance affair. At age 12, she was married to James IV of Scotland via proxy ceremony at Richmond Palace. Celebrations and jousts took place as if the groom were actually there. Although Margaret stayed in England for two more years, she was legally referred to as Queen of Scots.
14. She Became Queen
Young Margaret’s marriage was basically for everyone except the bride, but don’t get it twisted. Our girl was still a royal and she got some sweet bonuses in her marital deal. Upon her wedding at just 13 years old, Margaret upgraded from a mere princess to the Queen of Scots and she inherited a whopping five sprawling castles. However, Margaret’s new riches were followed by a personal tragedy.
15. She Suffered A Terrible Tragedy
In 1503, when Margaret was only 14, she sadly lost two member of her immediate family in one fell swoop. Her mother Queen Elizabeth of York gave birth to a sickly baby daughter. Unfortunately, the baby only lived for a couple of days. Then, about a week after the birth, Queen Elizabeth perished too. The double loss devastated Margaret’s entire family.
16. Her Father Was Deranged
Margaret’s father, King Henry, was known for being a tough, stalwart ruler—but the demise of his wife nearly destroyed him. He was completely incapable of taking care of himself, never mind his grieving children. Instead of caring for young Margaret and her siblings, the King locked himself in a room and demanded to be left alone. And then things got even worse. The king’s health deteriorated so suddenly and violently that while in self-imposed isolation, he nearly died too.
17. She’s In An Eerie Historical Image
British royal families are all about keeping calm and carrying on, but the death of Margaret’s mother was so traumatic that Margaret’s family just couldn’t bother with the stiff upper lip charade. Instead, they fell headlong into their grief—and, in a rare twist, we can actually see their sadness. Illustrators drew a picture of the family around this time. In the image, the king and his surviving daughters wear mourning robes, while Margaret’s brother weeps on his deceased mother’s bed. What a nice moment to commemorate.
18. She Was Sent Away
1503 was Princess Margaret’s 2020. Aged not yet 14, the young royal had already been through hell and back, only to get sent away from her family and forced to deal with her much-older husband in Scotland. In June, mere months after losing her mother, little Maggie followed her dad’s orders and headed off to Edinburgh. Her journey was anything but smooth.
19. Her Beau Surprised Her
Instead of greeting his nervous, traumatized bride at the palace, Margaret’s beau King James decided to surprise her with a “spontaneous” meeting. The king orchestrated a set up where he’d “accidentally” come across the princess while on a hunting trip. Nothing like an elaborate meet-ugly to make a grieving child bride feel at home, right?
20. Her Romance Was Cursed
The “pre-honeymoon” of Margaret and James IV was one part storybook romance mixed with one part animal tragedy. The royal couple bonded over their love of music, only for their flirtations to screech to a halt when a stable fire killed Margaret’s favorite horses. Playing the savior, James wiped her tears, replaced the noble steeds, and showered her with expensive gifts.
21. She Tied The Knot
Even though Margaret and James had already been married via a Renaissance zoom call, they were now together in person, and that meant they could finally tie the knot in style. On August 8, 1503, Margaret capped off her rollercoaster of a year with a royal wedding. She and James tied the knot at beautiful Holyrood Abbey. It was a happy day, but the royal newlyweds were doomed to a disturbing end.
22. Her Husband Had A Secret Side
Despite the observed PDA between James and Margaret at their first meeting, Margaret’s lack of children for the first four years of their match suggests that James actually did wait until Margaret was mature enough to begin regular “marital” duties. A low bar for decency in our age, definitely, but we can’t doubt that many people—including Margaret and her grandma—were grateful.
However, there was a less touching side to James’s kindness.
23. He Had A Double Life
It wasn’t like King James was piously abstaining from all bedroom-based fun. He was just having bedroom-based fun with women who weren’t his pre-pubescent bride. After marrying Queen Margaret, James continued to enjoy the company of his favorite mistress, Lady Janet Kennedy. She was pregnant with their third child while James said “I do” to Margaret.
24. She Married A Bro
Yes, James IV was way too old for Margaret Tudor. However, if you had to marry a royal stranger, I gotta say, James would be at the top of my list. He was charismatic, rich, and funny. Proof: In an effort to impress Margaret, James defaulted to his go-to-move: party tricks. Entering the capital, James jumped directly onto his horse rather than use stir-ups like some boring dude. Then, to the joy of the Scottish people, James invited Margaret to squish onto his horse so that they could ride to Edinburgh together. Pretty cute, right?
25. He Pledged His Loyalty With A Disturbing Act
James’s special treatment of Margaret went far beyond horse boy antics. Before their marriage, James housed his many illegitimate kids in the same nursery. Soon after meeting their new stepmom, however, the kids were broken up into different households. Rumor has it that James erased those pesky little reminders of his past liaisons solely to please Margaret.
If you ask me, dude was whipped—but Margaret’s days as the king’s favorite wouldn’t last for long.
26. Motherhood Was Awful To Her
Childbirth during the Renaissance was always going to be awful, but Margaret had an absolutely horrific time when it came to motherhood. During her marriage to King James, the poor woman gave birth six painful times. Sadly, all the children except for one would perish as infants. The only surviving child was a boy named James.
27. Her Pregnancy Was Doomed
Margaret’s first doomed pregnancy was incredibly traumatic. The difficult labor ended in the baby’s demise and Margaret’s own brush with death. Though she survived, she was so weak that her husband decided to beg God to help her get better. King James thus abandoned his horrendously ill wife and set out on an arduous 120-mile pilgrimage on foot to pray for her recovery. Um, thanks?
28. Everything Fell Apart
I hope you all enjoyed reading about Margaret’s relatively stable marriage, because the ish is about to hit the fan and we’ll all need some happy memories to get us through the rest of Margaret’s dramatic life. You see, on April 21, 1509, her father King Henry VII passed at the age of 52 from tuberculosis. With Henry’s demise, Margaret’s life—and the course of British history—changed overnight
29. A New King Took The Crown
In 1509, Margaret’s little brother Henry VIII (ever heard of him?) ascended to the throne of England. And with his reign, the old “we promise to be friends” treaty between England and Scotland immediately began to break down. England began fighting with France, which was Scotland’s long-time ally. It didn’t take long for tensions to rise to a fever pitch.
30. Her Inheritance Disappeared
For Margaret Tudor, all of these enormous national conflicts culminated in a battle over her dad’s will. Mags insisted that her cheapskate father had left her a significant “legacy”—but her brother Henry retorted that she wouldn’t get any of it since the will was lost. Margaret didn’t believe that for a second and she fought like heck to get her cash. Or she did until she received a sinister message about the “lost” inheritance.
31. Her Brother Threatened Her
Even though Henry VIII had previously said he had no clue where the will went, he suddenly changed his tune. It turned out that Margaret could get the money—so long as James vowed to stay on the new king’s good side. Henry was planning to attack France, and this was his way of saying “If you stay out of my way (and lowkey betray your ally), you can have the money.”
Relations between Margaret’s hubby and her brother were already bad—but this blackmail pushed them to a breaking point.
32. She Feuded With Her Brother
Soon enough, Margaret’s husband and brother were on opposite sides of a vicious conflict. As Henry got ready to invade France, James got ready to invade England. Margaret, meanwhile, was dealing with her own problems: Henry was so mad that sided with her husband that he threatened to disinherit his own sister (and thus, her Scottish children) from the throne. Ouch.
33. She Had Terrifying Nightmares
As James got ready to fight for Scotland, Margaret began to suffer from terrifying nightmares. According to legend, she dreamt of James falling from a great height. She insisted that the vision was real—and even cited non-dream rumors that Henry’s bride Queen Catherine of Aragon was collecting an army against James. However, James didn’t listen. He insisted that the dreams were just anxiety coming for Margaret at night. Unfortunately, he was incorrect.
34. Her Premonitions Came True
On September 9, 1513, Margaret Tudor sat in Linlithgow Palace and waited to hear about her husband’s fate in the enormous, chaotic Battle of Flodden. Soon enough, Margaret’s premonitions were confirmed in the worst way possible. Along with 10,000 Scots, her beloved James IV charged into the fray only to be violently slain by the English forces.
35. Her Husband Met A Dark End
One person’s tragedy is another person’s morbid treasure. Henry VIII and his bride Catherine of Aragon were delighted that they’d defeated the Scots and soon enough, they gloated in macabre fashion. Margaret’s sister-in-law, Catherine of Aragon, had James’s bloody coat retrieved from Flodden and sent it to her husband Henry VIII as a “love token.” And that’s not even the worst part.
36. Her Enemy Was Cruel
Two things really make Catherine’s “gift” nauseating. First, it wasn’t like Catherine and Margaret were strangers. They were childhood friends. Second, James IV’s body was infamously lost. To this day, no one knows where it ended up. To give Margaret some kind of closure over her husband’s passing, Catherine could have sent her the body or at least a token from it. And this wasn’t even the worst thing Catherine did to poor Margaret.
37. She Took Power
With her husband gone and the heir to the throne still in diapers, Margaret Tudor became the regent ruler of Scotland. She held power on behalf of little Prince James until he became of age. All this was clearly laid out in the deceased king’s will—however, James IV had also made sure the document included one little detail that complicated Margaret’s life in a huge way.
38. She Had A Tough Choice
Margaret was allowed to rule on behalf of her infant son—but there was a big catch. She could only do so if she remained a widow. That meant that the second Margaret married someone new, she gave up all of her power. And remember, Margaret was not an old maid at this point. She was just 24 years old when King James kicked the bucket.
So for our girl Mags, the choices were clear: Give up on romance and keep the crown, or follow her heart and lose everything. Honestly, a glossy TV adaptation of Margaret’s life writes itself.
39. The Court Resisted Her
As per the old king’s will, Queen Margaret was the new de factor ruler of Scotland. Unfortunately, the court deeply resisted Margaret’s power. For one, people hesitated to let a woman rule (what’s new?). But more pertinently, Margaret was also, awkwardly, the sister of the guy who had caused King James to kick the bucket in the first place. All to say: Her reign was controversial from the get-go.
40. People Tried To Oust Her
Margaret really could not catch a break in 1513. Despite her husband’s crystal-clear will, a rebellious clique in the Scottish court actively supported the idea of giving the throne to a young hotshot named the Duke of Albany. Thankfully, they were defeated—shout out to the King of France for giving Margaret a sweet assist there—but Margaret received the message loud and clear: Her hold on the crown was unsteady at best.
41. She Had A Secret
Oh, did I not mention? During this eventful and horrible time in Margaret’s life, she was also dealing with the discomfort and stress of being pregnant. In the spring after her husband’s passing, Margaret went into labor and gave birth to the Scottish king’s last son, Alexander. Sadly, she wouldn’t get very much time with her baby.
42. She Had A Famous Suitor
Margaret Tudor could have become a Holy Roman Empress. Talks were in place to wed to her Emperor Maximillian after James IV’ death. Unfortunately, the widow was already making other, far more scandalous plans.
43. Her New Beau Was Awful
In between all the power grabs and personal tragedies, Margaret somehow found time to fall in love. Unfortunately, the apple of her eye was a true knobhead. Archibald Douglas was, according to his own freaking family, “a young witless fool” and apparently, Margaret couldn’t get enough of him. On August 6, 1514, she eloped with her new boy toy—and soon enough, all hell broke loose.
44. She Ruined Her Own Reign
This is the moment that most historians pinpoint as the beginning of Margaret Tudor’s scandalous downfall. As per the terms of old King James’s will, Margaret’s impulsive second marriage ended her reign. She literally gave up her crown for her new lover Douglas—and trust me when I say that this fool was far from worth it.
45. Her New Husband Sucked
While King James had spoiled Queen Margaret with gifts and love, her new man was…a different story. It turned out that Archibald Douglas had been cheating on Margaret from the very beginning. When he married the regent queen, he was already engaged to another woman. And in some accounts, his behavior was even worse: He might not have just been engaged, but full-on married. This man was a consummate player—and he’d milk Margaret for all she was worth.
46. She Made A Bad Call
If Douglas was such a poo, why did Margaret marry the guy? To this day, historians just don’t know, but most believe it was a combination of factors. First, her new hubby was from a powerful Scottish family, which would help her appeal to a court that disliked her. Second, Mags probably found her new position as regent stressful and may have wanted help from a seasoned Scot. Third, and most likely, Margaret was young, stressed, and lonely. She’d endured a terrible year and found solace in a new romance. It’s just a shame she chose the worst possible guy.
47. The Court Turned On Her
Queen Margaret Tudor did not have a peaceful exit from the throne. After marrying Douglas, the Scottish court turned on her and demanded that she give up her crown and let the Duke of Albany govern the country. This was already a huge insult—but for Margaret, the real kicker involved her sons. The court absolutely insisted that Margaret leave James and baby Alexander with them.
48. Everyone Was Against Her
As the months passed, Margaret became even more stressed and afraid. She was shuttled around Scotland by rude courtiers who constantly tried to trick her into giving up her sons and eventually, she felt backed into a corner. Margaret handed over her children to the new Governor of Scotland. Soon after, she decided to leave Scotland entirely. To get away from the country’s watchful eyes, Margaret appealed to an unlikely savior: Her brother Henry.
49. She Fled
Surprisingly, Henry came through for his big sister. He helped Margaret flee from Scotland and escape the wrath of the new ruler, the Duke of Albany. However, he didn’t do this out of the kindness of his heart. Henry basically had to keep Margaret happy because at this time, she was his heir. If there’s one person you don’t want to tick off, it’s the lady who could slit your throat and control your entire country.
50. She Was Keeping A Secret
Because Margaret’s life was dramatic AF, she was also pregnant while all of this went down. She was carrying her lame-o second husband’s child as she fled Scotland. Of course, he didn’t stick around to support Margaret through the birth. Instead, he travelled back to Scotland to make nice with the new ruler. Margaret had to give birth to her daughter without her husband by her side.
51. Childbirth Was Horrendous
As we have already established, Margaret Tudor did not have a great record with childbirth—and her latest labor was no different. After giving birth to her baby daughter, Margaret was so sick that she couldn’t even bear to be moved. And the bad news just kept coming. Margaret learned that her baby son Alexander hadn’t made it to his second birthday.
52. She Was Heartbroken
The loss of little Alexander broke Margaret’s heart and led her to lash out with a disturbing accusation. In a fiery list of all the things she hated about the new leader of Scotland, Margaret publicly accused the Duke of Albany of poisoning her baby son.
53. Her Brother Used Her
For once in her life, Margaret had a bit of a breather in between scandals—but the good times didn’t last. Margaret spent much of 1516 travelling, only for her days in the sun to grind to a halt. After all, Henry always had his eye on the prize: To gain power in Scotland, he needed Margaret over there influencing her son, the future king, to play nice with England. Henry put on his negotiating gloves and got to work. By 1517, she was back in Scotland and about to have her life turned upside down.
54. Her Husband Betrayed Her
Margaret returned to Scotland to an upsetting sight. Her second husband Douglas had shacked up with an old mistress. And hear this, when Douglas acted like a jerk, he really went the whole nine yards. Not only was he living with another woman, he actually had a baby with this woman. And their lavish lifestyle? He was charging everything to Margaret’s purse.
55. She Got Rejected
Even before this mega-betrayal, Margaret Tudor’s love life was…not the best. After losing her first husband, she was offered to the King of France. Harshly, he passed on Margaret and instead chose her younger, prettier sister Mary. That one stings.
56. She Broke Up With Him
Upon discovering her second husband’s adultery, Margaret immediately got to work on divorcing him, but this was back in the 1500s so you can bet that splitting up with your husband was going to take a loooong time. While Margaret waited to dump Douglas, she busied herself with visiting her one remaining son, the future King James V, and—what else?—finding a new scandal.
57. She Loved Gooooold
Margaret Tudor was a lady who LOVED money. So much so that multiple historians have mentioned how she’d switch sides to get the most coin possible. But in my opinion, her greatest greedy girl moment comes right about now, when she loudly moans about the Scottish court not giving her a big enough allowance. They responded by pointing out that, actually, Margaret had stolen 18,000 gold crowns from them back in 1513. Margaret didn’t complain quite so loudly after that.
58. Her Awful Husband Clung To Her
By 1521, Margaret and Douglas were in a scorched earth break-up. While Margaret was doing everything she could to divorce him, Douglas was busy controlling her money, barring her from her lands, and keeping her from acting in her son’s court. And to make matters worse, in the last few years, Douglas and his allies had seized control of the Scottish government, meaning that he was not an easy guy to dump. Luckily for Margaret, she had a clever trick up her sleeve…
59. She Had A Genius Plan
When Douglas and his bros took over the government, they booted out the Duke of Albany. Back in the day, Albany and Margaret were enemies—but now? Our girl Mags decided to let bygones be bygones. She made up with Albany and successfully campaigned for her one-time rival to return and seize the government from her own husband. I love to see it.
60. She Pwned Her Husband
In November of 1521, Margaret successfully waged a coup against her own husband, the uber-loser Angus Douglas. Her rebound hubby was humiliatingly booted from power and relieved of all his government titles. Douglas could only watch as his wife marched victoriously into Edinburgh, side-by-side with their once mutual enemy, the Duke of Albany. Take that Douglas!
61. She Humiliated Her Husband
Here’s the kicker: Even after her power grab against Douglas, Margaret still begged her husband to forgive her actions. Of course, she still regretted marrying him, but the queen did feel bad about humiliating him so publicly. But her guilt didn’t last too long. Soon after overthrowing Douglas’s cheating pantaloons out of office, Margaret embarked on a new romance of her own…
62. Rumors Swirled
To some people, Margaret reconciled a little too well with her ex-rival, the Duke of Albany. Rumors swirled that the Queen of Scots was having an affair with her new ally. King Henry himself accused Albany of such, screaming that he was “inciting and stirring Margaret to be divorced from her lawful husband for what corrupt intent God knoweth.” Oh, I’m sure you “knoweth,” Henry…
63. Her Friend Betrayed Her
Margaret Tudor was dealing with far more than an unpopular romance. She soon learned that she had let an honest-to-god spy into her household too. The lady in question was Margaret’s “friend,” the nun Isabella Hoppringle. Whenever tensions between England and Scotland flared up, she’d coldly use her closeness with the queen to sell Scottish secrets to Henry VIII. When Margaret found out about her pal’s double dealing, she responding with a shocking gesture.
64. She Made A Bad Move
She freaking forgave her! When it looked like angry Scottish nobles were going to make both Isabella and her convent pay the price, Queen Margaret stepped in to get mercy for her old friend. In return, Margaret told Hoppringle that she had to stop spying and be loyal only to Margaret. Hoppringle returned the favor by, drumroll please, continuing to spy for the English.
If Margaret chooses one actually good friend/romantic partner before the end of her life, I will be well and truly shook.
65. Her Son Took The Throne
As Isabella’s spying might have suggested, England and Scotland were back to hating each other. For years, they’d get into fights, nearly start a war, then retreat once freaked out courtiers sent enough diplomatic letters. Everyone double-crossed everyone else until the dust settled and Margaret’s son, King James V, took the throne in 1524.
But even with her kid wearing the crown, Margaret Tudor still had her own battles to fight. First one on the chopping block? Her awful estranged husband Archibald Douglas.
66. She Tried Everything To Dump Him
Even though Henry VIII wanted Margaret and Douglas to reunite, Margaret was desperate for a divorce. Proof: Over the last few years, she’d ousted Douglas from power, got him exiled to two different countries, and even threatened to start a literal war before letting him back into Scotland. Margaret was OVER. THIS. MAN. But Henry VIII didn’t exactly take no for an answer. He invited Douglas to come on over and woo his sister back.
This was a terrible idea.
67. Her Husband Lashed Out
After point blank refusing to get back together with Douglas, Margaret’s power-hungry, estranged hubby lashed out. He and his men marched on the Scottish parliament and attempted to seize control from Margaret and her son King James. In a satisfying turn of events, Mags completely owned her ex on the battlefield. Douglas slunk away with his tail between his legs. But their feud wasn’t over just yet.
68. Her Hate Mail Got Caught
Margaret made a Bad Move at this point. She wrote to her old ally the Duke of Albany and explicitly said that she’d team up with him and fight England before she took Douglas back. Unfortunately for Margaret, this letter was intercepted by the worst possible person: Her brother, the King of England, Henry VIII. And he was ticked. Henry gave Mags such a dressing down that she fearfully took back her words and began to play nice (well, nicer) with Douglas. This had horrendous consequences.
69. Her Husband Continued To Suck
When Douglas got even an inch of power, he did his darndest to use it for all it was worth. For example, when he finally received permission to have his son, King James V, live with him, Douglas used the opportunity to try to turn the boy against Margaret and her brother King Henry. Douglas all but kidnapped the boy, refusing to let James go back to his mother.
70. Her Son Was Kidnapped
Margaret desperately tried to rescue her son, but none of her attempts were successful. In the end, the boy king had to escape all by himself after three long years in his deranged father’s house. When he finally reunited with Margaret, James felt stunned. A lot had happened to his mother in the years that he had been away…
71. She Had A Bad Romance
Remember all those spicy rumors about Queen Margaret Tudor and the Duke of Albany? Well, they were way off base. Margaret’s new boytoy wasn’t the Duke, but the Scottish nobleman Henry Stewart. Beginning in 1524, the queen lavished her beau with fancy appointments and titles, all of which ticked off the senior nobility. But because Margaret has, um, limited self-control, she then took her already-messy personal life to the next level.
72. She Lived In Sin
Soon enough, Margaret began to share a home with her new boyfriend, now fancily titled “Lord Methven.” And according to rumors, the new couple had gotten busy. Margaret, who used to be a constant member of the Scottish court, barely attended parliament anymore—and people whispered that it was because she was concealing an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
73. She Was At Her Wits’ End
At this point, Margaret needed a divorce like never before. She felt she had no choice but to use her trump card. She scandalously argued that her second marriage had to be annulled because, and get this, her first love, King James IV of Scotland, might still be alive after all. Unsurprisingly, her complaint didn’t fly. But luckily, Margaret had a Plan B already in place.
74. She Finally Won
For once, Douglas’s endless womanizing actually worked in Margaret’s favor. She got her much-wished-for divorce thanks to the fact that when she and Douglas tied the knot, he was already engaged to another woman. With that, Queen Margaret Tudor was finally free—so what did she do? Why, immediately marry another awful man, of course!
75. She Shacked Up With Her New Man
Just one year after her divorce, Margaret married her boy toy, Lord Methven. Unfortunately, he turned out to be even more adulterous and wasteful than her second husband. He shacked up with a mistress of his own and, just like Douglas, he and his lover lived on Margaret’s dime. This is a huge part of why, ten long years after their wedding bells rung, Margaret was petitioning for another divorce.
76. She Was Miserable
How miserable was Margaret with Methven? Several times, Margaret tried to escape across the Scottish border back to her home country. She was carried back to Edinburgh each time. And do you remember how passionately she resisted getting back together with Douglas? After a decade with Methven, she was begging to return to her ex-husband. Yiiiiikes.
77. Her Son Felt Embarrassed For Her
After June 1528, James V began to rule for himself—but Margaret held no role in her son’s government. In fact, mother and son didn’t seem to get along when forced to interact directly. James had ticked off Margaret by refusing to let her divorce another husband. Margaret also complained about lack of money and having “to follow her son about like a poor gentlewoman.” But she wasn’t telling the whole story.
78. She Betrayed Her Son
Margaret definitely cherry picked her stories when she tried to portray herself as James’s victim. In actuality, their relationship fell apart firmly because of one person—Margaret, and Margaret alone. She had been caught spilling her son’s state secrets to his rival King Henry VIII in 1543. Um, yeah, Margaret, that’ll make a king mad at you!
79. Her Daughter Was Scandalous
Margaret spent the rest of her life petitioning for Henry VIII to return her younger child, Lady Margaret Douglas. The young woman was raised in the English court, where she followed her mother in scandal. Margaret Junior also had an affair with a courtier and landed herself in the Tower of London. When she was released, young Mags remained at her uncle’s court and never saw her mother again.
80. She Passed On
All in all, Margaret wasn’t the best mother, the greatest judge of character, or the most savvy ruler. Over her later years, she ticked off enough people, including her powerful brother and son, that her influence dwindled away. Even though she and James made up later in life, they didn’t have many happy years together. Shortly after a stroke, Margaret Tudor passed on October 18, 1541. She was 51 years old.
81. Her End Was Sad
Even though Margaret had sent for her son James, he didn’t get to his mother’s bedside quickly enough. Sadly, Margaret Tudor breathed her last without him by her side. In an ironic twist, she and James had renewed their relationship after Margaret comforted James and his wife after the losses of their two children. Tragically, they weren’t really able to return the favor.
82. Her Legacy Is Wild
Margaret Tudor has a significant legacy. After all, she may have been the one who introduced King Henry VIII to the idea of divorce. And here’s a bonus fun fact: When Henry heard that his big sister would dare to treat the sacrament of marriage so lightly, he was absolutely aghast. He also once said, “It was impossible for anyone to live a more shameful life than Margaret.” Centuries later, Henry’s offence remains the source of riotous laughter for many historians.
83. She Got The Last Laugh
After a lifetime of fighting and making up, Queen Margaret Tudor of Scotland got the last “laugh” over her famous brother. Her descendants are the ones who sit on the throne today, not Henry’s. Henry VIII died without grandchildren, but Margaret was grandmother to Mary, Queen of Scots and thus great-grandmother to James I, who succeeded Elizabeth I on the English throne. Therefore, today’s British royal family owes their claim via dignified descent from the scandalous Margaret Tudor.
84. Her Name Had A Double Meaning
Before we all head out, here’s one more fact about Margaret Tudor. She was named after her grandmother, the ferocious Margaret Beaufort. Did she live up to grandma’s legacy? You can read about Beaufort here and decide for yourself.
85. Her Friend Betrayed Her
Catherine of Aragon was Margaret Tudor’s childhood friend and sister-in-law, but she was also complicit in the slaying of Margaret’s husband. This awkward triangulation did not stop Catherine from offering the 24-year-old, widowed, and pregnant Margaret some “comfortable messages.” Of course, these soothing was sent with a catch: Catherine would ensure peace from England’s if Margaret would quell the Scots’ rage about the whole “slain king” thing.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22