Mary of Guelders



Mary of Guelders

Mary of Guelders was born 1434 in Grave, Netherlands. She was the daughter Arnold, Duke of Guelders, and Catherine of Cleves. Her aunt and uncle, Philip The Good, Duke of Burgundy and his wife Isabella of Portugal wanted to marry her off to Charles, Count of Maine but her parents could not afford the dowry so she remained at the Burgundian court, with Isabella paying for many of her expenses. So, yes, you can be royal and broke. While there she was a lady in waiting to Catherine of Valois, the daughter of Charles VII King of France and daughter in law to Isabella.

When it was arranged for her to marry James II of Scotland, Philip paid the dowry and Isabella paid for the trousseau. She was sent to Scotland in 1449. She married James II, king of Scots, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh on July 3rd of that year.

James granted her many lands leaving her independently wealthy. After she was present during the Seige of Blackness Castle in 1454, he gave it to her as well. She used her founds to found a hospital outside of Edinburgh for the poor and also donated to the Franciscan friars.

When James II died she took over as regent for their son James III. However, at this time England was going through the War of the Roses and she ended up drawn into it. She took in Margaret of Anjou, the Lancastrian Queen, and Edward of Westminster (son of Henry IV who they bethrothed to her daughter Margaret) to keep them safe from the Yorkists. The Lancasters were family with James’ mother, Joan Beaufort. This friendship created tensions between her Uncle Philip and Edward IV. To try to win her over Edward proposed marriage to her, which she rejected. She agreed to make peace with England in 1462.

She died December 1, 1463 while finishing James II’s dream of a castle at Ravenscraig She was initially buried at Trinity College Church, which she helped to found in honor of her husband and was later moved to Holyrood Abbey in 1848.



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