Annabella of Scotland

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Annabella of Scotland
Countess of Geneva
Countess of Huntly
Bornc. 1436
(m. 1447;ann. 1458)
(m. 1459;ann. 1471)
Issue Alexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly
Isabella Gordon
House House of Stewart
Father James I of Scotland
Mother Joan Beaufort

Annabella of Scotland (c. 1436 – 1509) was a Scottish princess, a member of the House of Stewart, and by her two marriages Countess of Geneva and Countess of Huntly. Both of her marriages were annulled, the first without being consummated and the second on grounds of consanguinity.



Early years

Presumably named after her paternal grandmother, Annabella was the eighth child and sixth daughter of King James I and Joan Beaufort. Her sisters were Margaret, Isabella, Eleanor, Mary and Joan, and her brothers were James II of Scotland and his twin brother Alexander, who died in infancy.

First marriage

On 14 December 1444 was signed the marriage contract between Annabella and Louis, Count of Geneva, son of Louis, Duke of Savoy at Stirling Castle. [1] Both bride and groom were about 8 years old. The following year, Annabella went to Savoy to be educated there. [2]

The cortege of the princess, accompanied by the ambassadors of her father-in-law, arrived in Savoy in September 1445, after an eventful journey of 86 days. [1] Many expenses were incurred for her reception, even though she was neither the heiress to the Kingdom of Scotland nor the future Duchess of Savoy. [1]

However, the official wedding was never celebrated. [1] King Charles VII of France, wasn't in favor of this alliance and sent several embassies to prevent it. [3] The marriage contract was thus broken during negotiations at Gannat in 1458, in the presence of the French King and the representatives of the Duke of Savoy and the King of Scotland. [1] The Duke had to pay 25,000 écus in damages to the Scottish royal family. [3]

Second marriage

Annabella returned to Scotland and married Lord George Gordon, son and heir of the 1st Earl of Huntly before 10 March 1460. After the death of her father-in-law on 15 July 1470, her husband became in the 2nd Earl, and Annabella the Countess of Huntly. However, shortly after the 2nd Earl instituted proceedings to have his marriage with Annabella annulled because she was related in the third and fourth degrees of consanguinity with his first wife, Elizabeth Dunbar, 8th Countess of Murray; the marriage was finally dissolved by the sentence pronounced on 24 July 1471. [4]


Annabella had children with her second husband the 2nd Earl of Huntly; two children are attributed to her:

However, there are other children of the 2nd Earl of Huntly whose maternity remained disputed; they could be children of either Annabella or the 2nd Earl's third and last wife (and previously mistress) Lady Elizabeth Hay:



  1. There still has been some uncertainty regarding Alexander's mother, whether she was Annabella Stewart or Elizabeth Hay. But the fact that his father married Elizabeth Hay in or about 12 May 1476 [5] and that Alexander himself was a member of parliament, as well as being one of the Lords of the Articles in 1485, makes it chronologically implausible he could have been Elizabeth Hay's son; meaning most probably his mother was Annabella Stewart. [4] [5] [6]
  2. George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron claimed descent from Annabella through his mother Catherine, daughter of George Gordon, 12th Lord of Gight. Byron wrote: "By her [Annabella], he [the 2nd Earl of Huntly] left four sons: the third, Sir William Gordon, I have the honour to claim as one of my progenitors."

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Pibiri, Eva (2003). "A la recherche d'une épouse. Ambassades et voyages autour des fiançailles d'Annabelle d'Ecosse et de Louis de Savoie, comte de Genève (1444–1445)". Cahiers lausannois d'histoire médiévale (in French). L'itinérance des seigneurs (XIVe-XVIe s.) (34): 123–171.
  2. Downie, Fiona (1999). "La Voie Quelle Menace Tenir': Annabella Stewart, Scotland, and the European Marriage Market, 1444–56". The Scottish Historical Review. 78 (206): 170–191. doi:10.3366/shr.1999.78.2.170. JSTOR   25530900. PMID   22272424.
  3. 1 2 Guichenon 1660, p. 536.
  4. 1 2 3 4 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland , ed. James Balfour Paul, Vol. IV (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1907), p. 529.
  5. 1 2 George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage; or, a History of the House of Lords and all its members from the earliest times, Vol. VI, eds. H. A. Doubleday: Howard de Walden (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1926), p. 677.
  6. The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland , ed. James Balfour Paul, Vol. IV (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1907), p. 532
  7. 1 2 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland , ed. James Balfour Paul, Vol. IV (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1907), p. 530
  8. The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland , ed. James Balfour Paul, Vol. III (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1905), p. 24
  9. The records of Aboyne MCCXXX-MDCLXXXI, ed. Charles Gordon Huntly (Aberdeen: The New Spalding Club, 1894), p. 402