Sunday, 5 June 2016

The blood royal

Marie de Guise
Queen's Courier is a stand-lone story that follows on chronologically from Abduction and Fair Border Bride. The main protagonists include three real characters - Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, Mathew Stewart, fourth earl of Lennox and Marie de Guise, Queen Dowager of Scotland,

None are particularly well known, and yet it is Mathew and Margaret's off-spring, Darnley, who sired the child who would one day rule both Scotland and England, and whose blood has come down to every sovereign since.

The year 1515 was the year all three were born, though in Mathew's case there is some evidence that he was a trifle younger than the two ladies. Marie was born in France and brought up almost as a French princess, part of the illustrious de Guise family. Mathew was born in Scotland, great grandson of James II of Scotland. Meg was born in England, in the remote castle of Harbottle on the southern side of the Anglo-Scottish border, daughter of Henry VIII's elder sister Margaret Tudor and her second husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.

Archie and Margaret divorced in 1527 and Meg moved south into the English court where she was accepted as a princess of the blood. Mathew's father was killed by a member of the Hamilton clan, forcing Mathew and his brothers to escape to France. This was the cause of the constant hatred between Governor Arran and Mathew twenty years later. Marie de Guise married the 2nd Duke of Longueville, but became a widow at a very young age and was then chosen to become the second French bride of James V after the death of the fragile Princess Madeleine. Marie and James produced two sons who both died in childhood, leaving only a daughter - the daughter who married Darnley and added her blood to the royal line.

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