Elizabeth Queen of Scots, right lawful Queen of England

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by mcdnab, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. mcdnab Well-Known Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    An idea for a new TL -

    1) Daughter of York

    In late 1482 the conflict between James III of Scotland and his brother Alexander Duke of Albany reached its climax with Alexander joining Richard Duke of Gloucester's invasion of the country.
    James and Alexander's relationship had been in terminal decline for several years. Gloucester's victory saw Albany appointed Lieutenant General of the Kingdom of Scotland and James III under arrest.
    Many thought the King would manage to persuade some of his notable courtiers back to his side with time and Albany's governance was not much more impressive than his brother's.
    One consequence of Albany's victory was he again began negotiations with the English for the betrothal of the Scot's heir, his nephew James Duke of Rothesay, to one of the daughter's of Edward IV (ironic given the previous betrothal had prompted increased disatisfaction with the rule of James III).
    In late November Scots negotiators had arrived at the English Court to try and persuade Edward to revive his interest in a Scots marriage. Edward was not particularly willing given his brother's successful campaign against the Scots but was willing enough to hear them out after all the Scots heir was a child and any marriage would be several years hence.
    In December though the situation changed and on December 18th it was announced King James III had died "of grief" at his defeat by the English.
    In reality the King was almost certainly murdered with the connivance of his brother the Duke of Albany - his body displayed for his funeral bore few marks but it is generally believed that he was strangled.
    Many wondered if Albany would proclaim himself King - but when the Scots Parliament met it was merely to confirm the accession of the nine-year-old James IV - Albany still unpopular was as expected named as Regent - however the Scots Lords insisted custody of the young King and his brothers' was vested in the popular Queen Dowager Margaret of Denmark.
    The Regent ordered the Scots negotiators to look elsewhere for a bride for the new King and made overtures for possible betrothal's with both France and Maximillian of Burgudny.
    However Edward IV cheated of seeing his eldest daughter Queen of France (due to the Treaty of Arras) decided to push the Scots who if as many thought he went to war with France he would need to have negated the risk of a fresh war with Scotland.
    He gave the Scots negotiators a choice of Elizabeth (16), Cecily (13) or Anne (7) - if the Scots chose Elizabeth or Cecily he was willing for them to join Queen Margaret at Stirling immediately - he also suggested returning the recently taken town of Berwick as part of any dower.
    If they opted for Anne of York she would not travel north until she was 12.
    The Regent keen to ensure English support for his rule and a generous pension was prepared to support a suggestion - regaining Berwick might help negate the anger at an English match for the "wee King".
    The Scots opted for Elizabeth of York and preparations for her to travel north began to be made.
    Under the Treaty of Eltham (January 20th 1483) - The Scots were expected to maintain Elizabeth until the King's 12 birthday, if he repudiated the betrothal at that date her immediate return to the English Court along with any part payment of her dowery must be guaranteed, it was expected the couple should marry when James IV turned 14. The Scots were also expected to agree that in the event of James dying before the marriage Elizabeth would be returned to England along with all her plate and jewels and not forced to any other marriage that disparaged her dignity or that of her father.
    In return the English guaranteed pensions to Albany and many of his supporters in the Scots Parliament as well as the first part of Elizabeth's dower. Berwick would only be handed over on Elizabeth's marriage.
    Her betrothal took place at Windsor in February.
    Elizabeth of York's progression north in early March 1483 is well documented - she was accompanied on the first part of the journey by much of her father's court before being transferred with her household to the care of her uncle of Gloucester.
    At Berwick Upon Tweed still in English hands Elizabeth was formally received by the Scots regent.
    She entered the Scots capital and was well-received by the populace, despite her nationality, and was formally presented to her future mother-in-law and husband and was lodged in the Royal apartments at Edinburgh castle.
    The Royal family and much fo the Scots court celebrated Easter in the capital before Elizabeth accompanied her future mother-in-law to Stirling. It would be here Elizabeth received news her father Edward IV was seriously ill (he would die on 9 April).
  2. rgroberts Member

    Dec 16, 2010
    Interesting so far! I'm definitely intrigued.
  3. chr92 Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2008
    An interesting POD in an interesting time. Subscribed.

    The Scots are certainly doing better, so far. Berwick *and* Elizabeth instead of Margaret.
  4. Teejay Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2007
    I wonder if Richard of Gloucester would dare to attempt in having Edward IV's children declared illegitimate, when the oldest of them is the Queen of Scots.
  5. Teejay Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2007
    I would not rule out the possibility of James IV of Scotland, becoming King James I of England. Especially if Richard of Gloucester comes on the throne and the "Princes in the Tower" disappear.

    The idea of James Stuart ruling as King Consort of Elizabeth of York (Elizabeth I of England) would be much more appealing to a lot of people, than Henry VII on the throne. If they have any sons, he would inherit the crowns of both England and Scotland, thereby uniting the two kingdoms a century earlier than OTL.
  6. Kellan Sullivan Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2012
    I read once that it was a case of if Edward IV's elder daughters had been married off on more than paper by the time he died, the usurpation of Richard might never have happened. For instance, how do you declare the children illegitimate if one is the queen of France, another the queen of Scots - that's asking for trouble IMHO.
  7. Teejay Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2007
    I would agree with you on that. Richard III unlike Henry VII (Henry could have claimed his wife had a very good claim to the throne) was not so flagrant when it came to usurpation.

    Perhaps Richard of Gloucester would try and turn Edward V into his puppet, similar to what Roger Mortimer tried to do to Edward III. However Richard would have known that he would have killed, when Edward reached of age.

    I might also add instead of going into sanctuary at Westminster abbey, Elizabeth Woodville and her children (including Prince Richard), would have probably fled to Scotland instead. Not to mention Edward Woodville with a large amount of the royal treasury would have joined them as well.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  8. mcdnab Well-Known Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    Couple of points:
    Eliabeth of York is betrothed to a nine-year-old boy. The betrothal can be ditched at any time by the Scots - at 12 James himself can formally renounce the betrothal if he wants to.
    The betrothal is likely to be unpopular with the Scots.
    Albany is regent of Scotland largely due to the military support of Richard of Gloucester and is weak domestically.
    No woman has ever been able to rule England in her own right and therefore support for Elizabeth at this point will be weak.
    Had more of the daughter's been married (rather than betrothed) - you could argue that even the remaining supporters of Edward IV opposed to Richard might prefer to support a male domestic alternative rather than handing the country to a foreign King. In fact an invasion by a foreign power on behalf of one of Edward's daughters might rally support for Richard rather than unseat him.
    I don't think one betrothal and one daughter out of England is enough to prevent him from seizing the throne in this case.
  9. mcdnab Well-Known Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    1) Albany's hesitation

    Elizabeth's reaction to her uncle Richard of Gloucester's assumption of power in England following the death of her father is not known.

    However the official Scots position from the Duke of Albany was to offer Richard his support and congratulations and to request his continuing agreements regarding Elizabeth's betrothal and dower be maintained.

    Albany does, in one of his few surviving communications, ask after Elizabeth's family - "As to the Lady she is somewhat anxious for her mother's health and the well-being of her sisters who we are given to understand remain at Westminster."

    The reply from Richard does not survive but it must have satisfied Albany as no further communication mentions the English Queen dowger.

    The next contact Elizabeth would have with her family was at the beginning of June when her uncle Sir Edward Woodville arrived with three ships in the Firth of Forth.

    He formally requested refuge from Albany and was allowed to travel to Stirling to see his niece.

    Elizabeth must have been alarmed at how her family's situation appeared to be worsening and by the end of June Richard of Gloucester was proclaimed King.

    Albany's initial reaction appears to have been somewhat muted when the English heralds presented him details of Richard's accession and the deposition of Edward V.

    He made no comment and left for Stirling where he appears to have informed Queen Margaret and Elizabeth of York of events south of the border.
    The Scots lords themselves now had serious questions - the Treaty of Eltham which confirmed the betrothal was based on Elizabeth being Edward's legitimate daughter.
    Many questioned whether the deal would be maintained given Elizabeth was now a bastard by order of her uncle. Would the marriage still be worth going ahead with for either side.
    An English betrothal had not been universally popular and the Scots felt under no obligation to maintain an alliance that now offered little advantage.
    In late July Richard informed Albany that he would continue to support Albany's regency for as long as he would maintain the peace with England.
    He indicated he was not willing to maintain the Treaty of Eltham and would be happy for his niece to be returned south and to be entrusted to the Earl of Northumberland's care.
    He said if the Scots wished to continue the match based on Elizabeth's new status then "out of affection" Richard would be prepared to offer a small dower appropriate to her station but no more.
    He also requested Albany banish Sir Edward Woodville from Scotland and have him escorted to the English border he also demanded Albany to not receive or give refuge to any of the "adherrants of the former Queen and her family".

    The Queen's brother Lionel Bishop of Salisbury had also fled abroad and was thought to be in Brittany.

    Albany was left with little choice and in August he ordered Elizabeth removed from the Queen's household at Stirling and brought to Edinburgh - she was housed in the royal apartments at the Castle but her staff was reduced significantly and she had little money. He had Sir Edward "closely" kept but did not have him escorted to the border.

    Throughout August the Scots Lords and Albany debated whether to proceed with the agreement and keep the betrothal in place but no firm agreement was made with division on all sides.

    In September and October England errupted with revolts against Richard's rule initally in the name of Elizabeth's brother Edward.
    The revolts were coordinated by many of those who had served Elizabeth's father and suprisingly included Richard's former friend the Duke of Buckingham.
    It is not clear whether Albany received communications from any of those rebelling against Richard III or when the first rumours of the death of Edward V and his brother reached him but it is noted that he did communicate with both the French regent and the Duke of Brittany about the situation in England (he was also sounding out alternative matches for James IV including Anne of Brittany)
    It seems likely he was at least at one point considering supporting the rebels and invading England from the north such an invasion whether it succeeded or not would have seriously damaged Richard's ability to crush the rebellion he was facing in the South and West of England.
    Albany it seems was hoping that if her brother's were dead those loyal to Edward V would support Elizabeth as his lawful heir - he seems to have backed away when he heard that Henry Tudor was planning to join with the rebels.
    Albany's hesitation in taking action helped guarantee the rebellion in England would fail.
    He retained custody of Elizabeth but again issued no confirmation of the betrothal to James IV.
    By Christmas 1483 Richard was celebrating the end of the rebellion and for the first time since his usurpation was looking more secure.

    The Marquess of Dorset (stepson of Edward IV) had fled to Brittany joining his uncle and Henry Tudor - on Christmas Day Henry Tudor proclaimed himself committed to destroying Richard and made an oath that if she were free he would marry Elizabeth of York or if not free her sister Cecily of York.
    It is possible that Dorset with the support of his mother had told Tudor the family would support an invasion by Henry if he would marry one of the older York girls - Henry's claim through his mother was weak but marriage to a daughter of Edward IV would strengthen his claim significantly and give him the support of all those Yorkists estranged from Richard's government.
    It is a strange deal but given Albany's failure to support the rebels earlier that year it might have seemed the only choice for Dorset who probably believed the Scots would not move against Richard and that Elizabeth's betrothal was not likely to survive.

    As 1484 began it seemed likely that Richard III would maintain his hold on the English Crown and that Elizabeth of York would remain in limbo in the custody of the Scots.
  10. Ultimate Paragon Banned

    Dec 8, 2013
    Interesting idea.
  11. mcdnab Well-Known Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    In early 1484 the prospects for Elizabeth of York looked weak - her uncle has seized her brother's throne and she had been declared illegitimate.

    Rumours suggested her brother's were dead but there was no proof.

    She had received little communication from her family in England and the Scots had refused to confirm her betrothal or allow her to return to England.

    She had been housed in apartments at Edinburgh Castle but had few attendants and from her later letters we know she missed the company of her large family in England.

    During her time in the household of Queen Margaret at Stirling she had at least had the company of the young King and his two younger brothers.

    Nominally the Lady Elizabeth was under the protection and custody of the Scots Regent the Duke of Albany. However her day to day protection was provided by the Keeper of Edinburgh Castle the John Stewart Lord Darnley.

    Darnley had been loyal to the late King James III and loathed Albany and the resentment among the Scots nobility of Albany and his subservience (whether real or imagined) to the English was growing.
    Even Albany's former ally, Archibald Douglas Earl of Angus, had fallen out with the regent and rumours of rebellion were present throughout the first three months of the year.

    In April - the Scots Parliament was summonsed and refused point blank due to the manipulation of several nobles and their allies to approve Albany's requests and it became clear he was losing his grip on the country and he fled Edinburgh.
    In May he would be murdered whilst attempting to board a ship for France.
    Parliament had declared him a traitor (due to his unproved involvement in the murder of James III) and established the Earl of Angus as Regent of Scotland until the King's 14 birthday (March 1487) and confirmed The Queen Dowager's custody of the King and his two younger brothers. The Parliament authorised Angus to seek out a match for the King for the good of the realm but no mention was made of the young English woman who remained in Edinburgh Castle.

    In England Richard III's success at defeating the rebellions of Autumn 1483 had meant he should have been enjoying some security but in early April his only legitimate child died at Middleham in Yorkshire and he was faced with the prospect of a further invasion by the Henry Tudor who now had the support of many members of the former Queen Dowager's family.
  12. mcdnab Well-Known Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    By the mid summer of 1484 the Scots Regent, Angus, had consolidated his governance of the realm but in August it became apparent he had misjudged his former English ally Richard III.
    Richard believed neither Angus nor his predecessor had honoured their agreements when he had invaded Scotland in 1482 - the price for English help against James III had been recognition of England's overlordship of Scotland.
    It was mentioned in the Treaty of Eltham which Richard had torn up and subsequent Scots Parliaments had refused to countenance any admission.
    Having crushed rebellions against his own rule - Richard was contemplating a fresh invasion of Scotland.
    Angus' had been putting out tentative diplomatic feelers to the French regent Anne for some time initially to find a match for the King or his younger brother's that would renew France's ties with Scotland. He now wanted a treaty of mutual aid against England.
    Anne was already offering support to Richard's enemies including Henry Tudor, his uncle, the Marquess of Dorset and the Bishop of Salisbury who had fled Brittany for France.
    In late August Richard III received communication that "the former bishop of Salisbury, along with many gentelman of the French court have arrived in Edinburgh".
    Lionel was formerly received by the 11 year old King and the regent and Sir Edward Woodville was released from his imprisonment as a mark of respect for the French delegation.
    Lionel made it clear the French were willing to support a new treaty allying France and Scotland against England with the aim of "restoring the right lawful sovereign of England".
    There were three main claimants - Elizabeth of York (if her illegitimacy was a mere ruse by Richard III), Edward Earl of Warwick (the only male Yorkist claimant but in Richard III's custody) and Henry Tudor (with a weak claim).
    It does seem some consensus had been reached between Henry Tudor and Dorset & Salisbury and the French regent was supporting it.
    The deal hinged on full recognition of the betrothal of Elizabeth and James IV. In the event of the marriage being without issue the Scot's throne would pass to James' lawful heir but the English throne would pass to Henry Tudor (or if he was deceased his issue by Cecily of York who he would marry).
    James brother James Duke of Ross would be betrothed to one of Elizabeth's younger sisters. The French regent's support for a scheme that would see England and Scotland under one crown might seem odd - but plunging the two nations into conflict would also ensure they left France alone - and her financial committment to support any joint invasion would be minimal.
    Richard III was probably well aware of the negotiations taking place in Scotland and had issued a flurry of orders relating to the defence of northern England and improvements to the principal castle's defending England from Scotland.
    In the end the long-drawn out negotitations took so many weeks it was early October before any formal agreements between the parties opposed to Richard was reached.
    Whilst holding off military action in the short-term allowed Richard time to improve his defences against any invasion it also allowed his enemies time to sound out further support in England.
    The Christmas festivities of 1484/5 were muted at the court of Richard III - his grief for his dead son was still heartfelt and the Queen was also unwell.
    In Scotland the regent organised numerous events for the court and the King and his brothers at a court presided over by the Queen Dowager. Notably Elizabeth of York was seated beside her betrothed and was addressed as Your Grace by all members of the court - it did not escape anyone's notice her canopy of estate bore not the arms of Scotland but the undifferenced Royal arms of England.
    On January 3rd this visual statement became fact when Angus in a letter to his wife described Elizabeth as "and Her Grace the right lawful Queen of England"
    HappyGirl123 likes this.