WI: Margaret I of England

1510 Part One
1510
Disaster strikes. Just months after his coronation and wedding, King Henry the Eighth falls ill. By January, he is at death's door and his wife gives birth to a stillborn daughter. Everyone prays he will recover but alas by late February he dies: it is said that minutes before he died, he apologized to his father for failing him and leaving England in the hands of women.
Naturally now everyone is fighting over who shall be the next ruler of England. Princess Mary is fourteen and therefore can be controlled quite easily, perhaps marry her off to Plantagenet cousin. The Duke of Suffolk [1] is in France and is already preening to return to England to be declared King.
But as the discussions continue, someone is marching towards England with her husband riding beside her: Queen Margaret of Scotland.
Historians will never know exactly when King James and Queen Margaret decided to press her claim to the English throne but preparations started as early as January 31[2]. Some of Queen Margaret's detractors will insist that she poisoned her brother and her sister-in-law in order to gain the throne but that is unlikely as reports from Scotland tell us that Margaret collapsed upon hearing her brother was gravely ill, crying out "Not again! Not again!" which many have taken as the Queen's devastation that she was to lose another brother. Another indicator of the love she bared her brother was naming her third son [3] Henry.
Upon arriving at the House of Parliament Queen Margaret declares herself, the oldest legitimate remaining heir of the grand house of Tudor Queen Regent of England, Wales and France. King James then kneels at her feet, calling out for all the lords to do the same for the Queen of England. Many historians speculate that King James's act of kneeling at his wife's feet was to show that he had no plans of ruling through her something he stuck to until his death in 1533[4].
As Margaret has two sons already, the English Lords are swayed to accept her as their Queen as long as her Scottish husband stays out of English business and the Duke of Rothsey (soon to be Prince of Wales) follows the English custom of being sent to Wales once he turns ten.
When hearing about her sister's arrival to claim the throne, fourteen-year-old Mary has Sir Charles Brandon [5] escort her to London on the fastest horse so she may bow to her sister, proclaiming that she is but a child and her sister was always a better Queen. Letters between the two sisters shows that Mary was being completely sincere, telling Margaret that she was glad to be spared the headaches that came with ruling.
The Dowager Queen Catherine of Aragon is sent packing as she has lost two husbands early in marriage and some people are beginning to believe she is cursed. She returns home to Aragon where she stays until her father finds her a new groom.
In May, Margaret is crowned the first Queen regent of England much to the anger of the exiled Duke of Suffolk who promises to knock the bastard Queen off of her throne the moment he gets the chance.
Margaret just smirks when she learns of the declaration of war as she has an ace up her sleeve and she requests someone bring the Duke of Suffolk a gauntlet and throw it down. In other words, "bring it."

1. That would be Edmund de la Pole who should be in the Tower of London right now but I have decided that he and his brother Richard are hanging out in France.
2. That would be the day in real life Catherine loses her baby, depending on how long it takes messages to get from London to Scotland, in this timeline, it could have been a little earlier.
3. To make Margaret a more attractive candidate as all her rivals are childless, I have decided that all three of her firstborn children are alive and well which of course means that her third son who RL James V would need a new name anyway.
4. No war with England and Scotland, no death for James IV. Also means he dies when Margaret is old enough that nobody would be forcing her to have a second husband in hopes that they won't have a Scottish King.
5. He didn't even get his Dukedom until around 1514 so even I hadn't left Edmund de la Pole alive, he still wouldn't be anything higher than a knight for now.

Family tree:
King James of Scots m Queen Margaret I of England

Prince James Duke of Rothesay and Cornwall future Prince of Wales. b. February 21 1507
Princess Margaret b. July 15 1508
Prince Arthur Duke of Ross. b. October 20 1509
 
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Interlude I
Scene from the award winning The Queen of Roses starring Margot Robbie as Margaret Tudor [1].


(The scene opens on King James who played by an actor in his twenties to lessen the age gap between Margaret and James. He is in deep conversation with three other men).
King James of Scots: Then once my wife has been proclaimed Regent in London, our son will be brought to England for her coronation so all of England can see that their future monarch, a boy who shall unite our kingdoms. I have no doubt England will not accept me as a co-ruler so we must be sure that they do not see me as a threat least it backfire on poor Jamie. Furthermore I want to speak to the French Ambassador---

(The doors are thrown open and Queen Margaret storms in)
Queen Margaret(glaring at the councilors): GET OUT!


(The councilors look at King James, uncertain whether they should leave or stay)
King James(sighing): Do as your queen demands. (The three men scurry out, looking quite relived not to be on the receiving end of the famous Tudor Temper). Darling don't be upset.

Queen Margaret: Upset! Upset! Why would I be upset! My brother isn't even dead yet and you have risen an army to invade England.

King James(soothingly): Not an army. Just a squadron of men, sweetheart, to protect you when you claim the throne.

Queen Margaret: The King of England is not dead and his wife could give birth to his heir.

King James(shakes his head sadly); I received this letter from London just this morning. Queen Catherine of Aragon has miscarried. (He shows her a letter which she rips out of his hand. Once she reads it, her anger fades and she puts a hand over her mouth, muffling a sob). Margaret, if your brother dies, we must be ready to fight for your crown. I know I must seem callous but we have to be prepared.

Queen Margaret(her face crumbling): Oh God, my father had such plans for his dynasty. Such high hopes. He had defeated every obstacle, fought so hard to get and then keep his crown. Now it is all over. The Tudors are all gone.

King James(kneels down and takes her hand in his, kissing the back of it): Nay, there is a remaining Tudor. You, the Rose without Thorns. You will be Queen Margaret of England and our son will continue your legacy as well as mine. I will not rest until it is so.

1. Margot Robbie played the most recent Queen Elizabeth I so I thought it was kinda fitting.
 
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1510 part 2
Once she is settled in Greenwich Palace, Queen Margaret arranges for her son to be declared Prince of Wales and for her husband to be declared King Consort of England and head of the Council of the North, informing her council that while her husband had no right to rule England, he was still an experienced not to mention savvy ruler and they would be fools to not recognize his skills.

Prince James, Duke of Rothesay traveled to England in the month of June, put in a litter so all of England could see him. He was a boy of three but he seemed to enjoy being on display, waving at the common folk who flocked to the roadsides just to catch a glimpse of him. The boy had gained the coloring of the Tudors to his mother's subjects pleasure.

"His surname might be Stewart but he has the looks of a Tudor thanks be to God." The Earl of Surrey {1} remarked in a letter to his wife.

Riding in a carriage behind James was his siblings, two-year-old Princess Margaret [2} and baby Prince Arthur, Duke of Ross.

While she awaited her children's arrival, Queen Margaret had to take care of what her brother had left behind. Her father's minsters[3] had been tried and found guilty but King Henry VIII had not gotten around to signing their death warrants. Unwilling to start her reign with bloodshed, although she was fully aware that there would be some bloodshed eventually, Queen Margaret decided to pardon them so long as they paid a large fine which would be donated to the poor relief (in her name of course). They were then sent home to their families.

Queen Margaret then turned to the royal treasury noting with displeasure that her brother had already spent a chunk of it. "Two men languished in the Tower, scapegoats for my father's tax laws which he had done so Harry would be a King of a prosperous country. My brother would have squandered all of his hard work within ten years time if not less." Queen Margaret observed in a letter to her husband. She and James lived rather modestly for royals and they made sure not spend too much on trivial things: the exception being celebrations for their children.

The next thing Margaret did was procure English husbands for her unmarried Scottish women and visa versa for her English ones. She wanted England and Scotland to be as united in all of things and her ladies taking after the example of her and her husband was a good start. There was also some talk of her finding a English bride for Prince James who was proclaimed the Princes of Wales in a grand ceremony on June 26th, just two days before what would have been his Uncle's nineteenth birthday.

Meanwhile the Holy Roman Emperor and the Dowager Duchess of Burgandy are now worried that England will now side with France thanks to the Auld Alliance [5], so they send their ambassadors to discuss to make sure that England would still honor the marriage pack between Princess Mary and Archduke Charles[6].

It is noised about in the English court that Queen Margaret will refuse in fear of upsetting her husband or the Scots but the young Queen surprises them all by accepting the proposal. However she has a stipulation: England cannot be forced to take sides in the War of the League in Cambrai [7]. The Imperial and Spanish Ambassadors try to argue with her, perhaps thinking that they can sway the young queen with bribes or threats but like any true Tudor Queen Margaret stands firm. Eventually a compromise is reached, Princess Mary, with an increased dowry will be sent to Flanders in two years to marry Archduke Charles.

In France, King Louis [8] is reported to be furious when he learns of the future marriage between Princess Mary and Archduke Charles, threatening to end the Auld Alliance if King James doesn't get his wife in line. Smelling the blood in the water, the Duke of Suffolk arranges to meet with King Louis, hoping to get his support for an invasion of England. A meeting that guarantees his bloody return to England.


  1. The Real Life Duke of Norfolk---grandfather of Anne Boleyn. Whether or not he will regain his Dukedom remains to be seen but as of right now, he won't be getting it before 1520, that is for sure.
  2. So I just thought to let all of Margaret's kids live for now especially when Margaret Douglas will not be born. So this Margaret of Scots was born in 1508.
  3. RL Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley---grandfather of RL Elizabeth's lover Robert Dudley.
  4. That would be Emperor Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy who was Margaret's great-aunt.
  5. France and Scotland had this treaty quite a long time before the one made between England and Scotland. It was because of this treaty that Scotland went to war with England.
  6. RL Future Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. I am not sure if he will marry Mary or if I will go with Isabella of Portugal as his bride as she was in real life.
  7. That would be the Italian war that went from 1508 to 1516. I believe England went in about 1512 hence why Margaret is saying she won't be participating.
  8. King Louis XII whose youngest daughter is going to be very important for this timeline.
 
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@Violet Rose Lily in OTL at this point Charles V was still engaged to Margaret’s younger sister Mary AND King Ferdinand would NOT be involved in finding a bride for Charles.
You will do better in having Emperor Maximilian and Archduchess Margaret (Maximilian’s daughter and Charles‘s regent in Burgundy) writing to Margaret for searching the confirmation of Charles’ betrothal to Mary Tudor. And as the Auld Alliance was explicitly AGAINST England is not like Louis XII can make many menaces against James and Margaret without risking to lose their friendship in favor of Burgundy or Spain or Portugal
 
@Violet Rose Lily in OTL at this point Charles V was still engaged to Margaret’s younger sister Mary AND King Ferdinand would NOT be involved in finding a bride for Charles.
You will do better in having Emperor Maximilian and Archduchess Margaret (Maximilian’s daughter and Charles‘s regent in Burgundy) writing to Margaret for searching the confirmation of Charles’ betrothal to Mary Tudor. And as the Auld Alliance was explicitly AGAINST England is not like Louis XII can make many menaces against James and Margaret without risking to lose their friendship in favor of Burgundy or Spain or Portugal
As for your first point, considering that betrothal was broken and Mary went on to marry King Louis XII, I think it wouldn't be that far out of the realm of possibility for them to decide Charles should have a young bride.
As for your second point, I'll go ahead and fix that. Thank you for the info.
Number three: Louis was reported saying that and it was directly brought to the Duke of Suffolk's ears.
 
As for your first point, considering that betrothal was broken and Mary went on to marry King Louis XII, I think it wouldn't be that far out of the realm of possibility for them to decide Charles should have a young bride.
As for your second point, I'll go ahead and fix that. Thank you for the info.
Number three: Louis was reported saying that and it was directly brought to the Duke of Suffolk's ears.
No. In OTL that betrothal was broken because Henry, already married to Catherine, was unsatisfied with the Spanish alliance in 1513 (as neither Spain or Austria-Burgundy supported him much against France) and had given her as bride to Louis XII the year later ... Here Mary is still engaged to Karl and on the Austro-Burgundian side they would have no gain in exchanging Mary with her 12 years younger niece...
 
I think Catherine of Aragon could do a lot better as regent of Spain for her nephew a la Margaret of Austria then being shut up in a nunnery
Ferdinand's not going to waste his daughter when he needs support since he's planning to invade Navarre.
 

krieger

Banned
I think Catherine of Aragon could do a lot better as regent of Spain for her nephew a la Margaret of Austria then being shut up in a nunnery
Ferdinand's not going to waste his daughter when he needs support since he's planning to invade Navarre.
But his living mother would be Queen and her husband King iure uxoris, so there is no need to appoint any regent.
 
But his living mother would be Queen and her husband King iure uxoris, so there is no need to appoint any regent.
His living mother is ‘insane’ while her husband is dead. Should Charles travel outside of Spain(which he will need to do frequently), he would need someone to look after Spain.
 

krieger

Banned
His living mother is ‘insane’ while her husband is dead. Should Charles travel outside of Spain(which he will need to do frequently), he would need someone to look after Spain.
W8 I thought that you refer to Margaret of England and her son, in case of Charles of Spain you're right.
 
I've actually been doing some reconsidering about Catherine of Aragon. Does anyone think it's possible she would be chosen as King Manuel's third wife instead of her niece? When her sister dies, Catherine would be over thirty but it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that she could have more children not to mention King Manuel has at least five sons so he wouldn't be overly concerned.
 
So let's say Maria, Queen of Portugual dies in late 1512/early 1513. This would be before her niece is of age and Catherine would only been twenty-seven which would be old by medivial stands but not that old. This would also allow her to have Mary on her historical birthdate just with a different father.
 
Could be possible, though I'm sure Manuel would prefer his OTL third wife Eleanor of Austria, who would be just about ready for marriage at that time. Catherine is likely sent back to Spain and lives out a life similar to Margaret of Austria as the childless widowed aunt. She would be a very good regent for Charles when he needs to be away. I could also see Catherine, with her strong religious bent, wanting to join a nunnery.
 

krieger

Banned
Could be possible, though I'm sure Manuel would prefer his OTL third wife Eleanor of Austria, who would be just about ready for marriage at that time. Catherine is likely sent back to Spain and lives out a life similar to Margaret of Austria as the childless widowed aunt. She would be a very good regent for Charles when he needs to be away. I could also see Catherine, with her strong religious bent, wanting to join a nunnery.
If Charles kept his Tudor betrothal, Eleanor of Austria could end up married to Sigismund the Old, as it was planned by emperor Maximilian I.
 
I think Catherine would like to do something more meaningful with her life than a nunnery. Being back in Spain would certainly revive her spirits and I don't think Ferdinand is dumb enough to waste his daughter like that.
 
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