Margaret Douglas

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland (1489-1541), c.1620-38 (oil on canvas)

Margaret Douglas was born October 8, 1515 in Harbottle Castle in Northumberland to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and Margaret Tudor. Her earliest childhood was spent crossing back and forth across the English/Scottish border. When she was about 15 she joined the court of her cousin, Princess Mary. During this time Henry VIII gifted his neice with money for Christmas each year. When Henry married Anne Boleyn, she was appointed lady in waiting.

She has a favorite of her uncle Henry VIII and had become her heir after he had Mary and Elizabeth declared bastards. That was until she went and got engaged without his permission. (Has anyone noticed a trend with the women in my family?) Her engagement was to Lord Thomas Howard (Anne’s uncle) who was imprisoned in the Tower of London for the engagement, he died there in 1537. Margaret had been imprisoned as well but was released when she fell ill on October 29,1537. One of the things she is known for is the poetry she wrote, mainly for Howard and they are preserved in the Devonshire MS along with works of her peers.

Annoying her royal uncle with a history of beheading women who upset him seemed to be a habit for young Margaret. After Howard’s death she began an affair with his nephew, Sir Charles Howard, who was brother to the Queen Consort Catherine Howard.


She later became lady in waiting to Catherine Parr as well as they had been friends since they each came to court.

She eventually settled down and married Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox on July 6, 1544. They had accomodations in Westminster after Henry’s death when Mary was queen. When Mary died she was the chief mourner. Mary had wanted to make Margaret her heir but Parliment refused. She returned to Yorkshire when Elizabeth became queen, where they had been living through Edward’s reign and the time that Jane Seymour was encouraged to take the throne. Their home at Temple Newsam became a center for Roman Catholic intrigue. This is also where she was when she married her son Henry Stuart to Mary, the future Queen of Scotland.


She was accused of murdering her own son in 1566 and sent back to the Tower by Elizabeth but was released. This caused issues between her and her daughter in law that eventually were resolved. In 1571 her husband , who was acting as Regent of Scotland, was assissnated. She couldn’t stop angering her royal family members and in 1574 upset Elizabeth again, this time by marrying her younger son, Charles, to Elizabeth Cavandish without permission. Back to the Tower she went and was not released until Charles’ death in 1576. She used her remaining time to help care for his daughter, her granddaughter, Lady Arbella . Though she died in debt and disgrace Elizabeth paid for a lavish funeral at Westminster. She is married with her son and near Henry VIII.






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