Margaret Stewart, Dauphine of France

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See also Margaret Stewart.
Margaret of Scotland
Dauphine of Viennois
Margaret Stuart Dauphine of France.jpg
Died16 August 1445(1445-08-16) (aged 20)
Châlons-sur-Marne, France
Saint-Laon church, Thouars, France
Louis XI of France (m. 1436)
House Stewart
Father James I of Scotland
Mother Joan Beaufort
Margaret Stewart, Dauphine of France Margaritaescocia.jpg
Margaret Stewart, Dauphine of France

Margaret of Scotland (French : Marguerite d'Écosse) (25 December 1424 – 16 August 1445) was a Princess of Scotland and the Dauphine of France. She was the firstborn child of King James I of Scotland and Queen Joan Beaufort.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Princess is a regal rank and the feminine equivalent of prince. Most often, the term has been used for the consort of a prince, or for the daughter of a king or prince.

Kingdom of Scotland Historic sovereign kingdom in the British Isles from the 9th century to 1707

The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England. It suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.


She married the eldest son of the king of France, Louis, Dauphin of France, at eleven years old. Their marriage was unhappy, and she died childless at age 20, apparently of a fever.

Louis XI of France King of France

Louis XI, called "Louis the Prudent", was King of France from 1461 to 1483. He succeeded his father Charles VII.

Early life

She was born in Perth, Scotland to James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort, a cousin of Henry V of England. Margaret was the first of six daughters and twin sons born to her parents (her surviving brother, James, would become James II of Scotland at six years old).

Perth, Scotland City in Scotland

Perth is a city in central Scotland, on the banks of the River Tay. It is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire. It has a population of about 47,180. Perth has been known as The Fair City since the publication of the story Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott in 1828. During the later medieval period the city was also called St John's Toun or Saint Johnstoun by its inhabitants in reference to the main church dedicated to St John the Baptist. This name is preserved by the city's football teams, St Johnstone F.C.

James I of Scotland King of Scotland

James I, the youngest of three sons, was born in Dunfermline Abbey to King Robert III and his wife Annabella Drummond and reigned as King of Scotland from 1406 to 1437. His older brother David, Duke of Rothesay, died under suspicious circumstances while being detained by their uncle, Robert, Duke of Albany. Fears for James's safety grew through the winter of 1405/6 and plans were made to send him to France. In February 1406, James was forced to take refuge in the castle of the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth after his escort was attacked by supporters of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas. He remained there until mid-March when he boarded a vessel bound for France. On 22 March English pirates captured the ship and delivered the prince to Henry IV of England. The ailing Robert III died on 4 April and the 11-year-old James, now the uncrowned King of Scotland, would not regain his freedom for another eighteen years.

Henry V of England King of England

Henry V, also called Henry of Monmouth, was King of England from 1413 until his death in 1422. He was the second English monarch of the House of Lancaster. Despite his relatively short reign, Henry's outstanding military successes in the Hundred Years' War against France, most notably in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, made England one of the strongest military powers in Europe. Immortalised in Shakespeare's "Henriad" plays, Henry is known and celebrated as one of the greatest warrior kings of medieval England.


Margaret was Charles VII of France's diplomatic choice for daughter-in-law. [1] The marriage was forced upon Charles's thirteen-year-old son, Louis, which did not help their relationship. However, royal marriages in the 15th century were always political. [2] There are no direct accounts from Louis or Margaret of their first impressions of each other, and it is mere speculation to say whether or not they actually had negative feelings for each other. Several historians think that Louis had a predetermined attitude to hate his wife because she was his father's choice of bride. But it is universally agreed that Louis entered the ceremony and the marriage itself dutifully, as evidenced by his formal embrace of Margaret upon their first meeting on 24 June 1436, the day before their wedding.

Charles VII of France King of France

Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461.

Margaret and Louis' marriage shows both the nature of medieval royal diplomacy and the precarious position of the French monarchy. The marriage took place 25 June 1436 in the afternoon in the chapel of the castle of Tours and was presided by the Archbishop of Reims. By the standards of the time, it was a very plain wedding. [3] Louis, thirteen, looked clearly more mature than his bride, eleven. Margaret looked like a beautiful "doll", perhaps because she was treated as such by her in-laws. [3] Charles wore "grey riding pants" and "did not even bother to remove his spurs". [3] The Scottish guests were quickly hustled out after the wedding reception. This was seen as something of a scandal by the Scots. King Charles' attire and the speed with which the guests were hustled out was considered an insult to Scotland, which was an important ally in France's war with the English. However, this spoke to the impoverished nature of the French court at this time. They simply could not afford an extravagant ceremony or to host their Scottish guests for any longer than they did. [2]

Tours Prefecture and commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Tours is a city in the west of France. It is the administrative centre of the Indre-et-Loire department and the largest city in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. In 2012, the city of Tours had 134,978 inhabitants, and the population of the whole metropolitan area was 483,744.

Following the ceremony, "doctors advised against consummation" because of the relative immaturity of the bride and bridegroom. Margaret continued her studies and Louis went on tour with Charles to loyal areas of the kingdom. Even at this time, Charles was taken aback by the intelligence and temper of his son. During this tour, Louis was named Dauphin by Charles, as is traditional for the eldest son of the king. [2]

Dauphin of France Title given to the heir apparent to the throne of France

Dauphin of France, originally Dauphin of Viennois, was the title given to the heir apparent to the throne of France from 1350 to 1791 and 1824 to 1830. The word dauphin is French for dolphin. At first the heirs were granted the County of Viennois (Dauphiné) to rule, but eventually only the title was granted.

Margaret was considered lovely, gracious and very beautiful, [4] with a certain ability to write poetry and rhymes, though no example of her compositions survived destruction at her husband's hands after her death. She was also very interested in the French court's social and gallant life. She was a favourite of her father-in-law Charles VII of France and popular among the courtiers. However, she felt herself alien amongst the French court and became depressed.[ citation needed ]

She had a strained relationship with her husband, the future king of France, mainly because of Louis' hatred of his father. Charles VII ordered the marriage, and Margaret frequently supported the king against her husband. It is said that she wore a strongly-tied corset because of her fear of pregnancies, ate green apples and drank apple vinegar. Her unhappy marriage furthered her depression, as did the gossip regarding her by supporters of Louis.[ citation needed ]


Tomb of Margaret Stewart in the Saint-Laon church Thouars - Eglise St Laon int 06.jpg
Tomb of Margaret Stewart in the Saint-Laon church

On 16 August 1445, between ten and eleven at night, she died in Châlons-sur-Marne, Marne, France at the age of 20. On Saturday, 7 August, she and her ladies had joined the court on a short pilgrimage. It was very hot, and when she returned, she undressed in her stone chamber. The next morning she was feverish, the doctor diagnosed the inflammation of the lungs. She died, raving against a Jamet de Tillay, a Breton soldier, in favour of her father-in-law, King Charles (Jamet surprised Margaret at her habitual poetry reading, when there were no candles, only a good fire in the mantelpiece; he stuck a candle into her face, sniggered and afterwards went around, talking about "wanton princesses". Louis was cold to Margaret, and she attributed his coldness to the gossip spread by Jamet. She died, protesting her faithfulness to her husband, and accused Jamet of killing her with his words). 1 Melancholic and distressed by slander against her, she sank into a final languor before dying. Her last words, in response to others' urgings to rouse herself and live, were supposedly Fi de la vie! qu'on ne m'en parle plus ("Fie on life! Speak no more of it to me").

She was buried in the Saint-Laon church [5] in Thouars, in the Deux-Sèvres department of France.

Five and a half years after her death, her husband married Charlotte of Savoy, by whom he had three surviving children: Charles VIII of France, and two daughters, Anne of France and Jeanne.

Margaret is also famous for the legend that she was kissed or almost kissed by poet Alain Chartier while asleep in her own rooms (another variant of this legend has Anne of Brittany as its protagonist), though her age and location at the time of Chartier's death would have made that impossible.


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  1. Paul Murray Kendall, Louis XI:The Universal Spider, (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 1971), 43.
  2. 1 2 3 Tyrell, Joseph M. Louis XI. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980.[ page needed ]
  3. 1 2 3 Cleugh,James. Chant Royal The Life of King Louis XI of France (1423-1483). Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1970.[ page needed ]
  4. (facie venusta valde, "a very lovely face," according to the Book of Pluscarden )
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 November 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (French)