James IV: His Wife & Four Mistresses

Chapter 4 : Lady Isabel Stewart

After Margaret Drummond's dispatch, whether by fair means or foul, James seems to have had a short relationship with Lady Isabel Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Buchan and thus a distant cousin.

Lady Isabel had a daughter, Janet Stewart, who had a colourful career as governess to Mary, Queen of Scots, and mistress of Henri II of France.

Lady Janet Stewart, James IV's illegitimate daughter, known as La Belle Ecossaise

The timing of this relationship with Isabel Stewart is difficult to understand. Janet Stewart's birth date is given as 1502, yet she definitely had the affair with Henri II in the late 1540s, giving birth in 1551 to Henri d'Angouleme.

It is not impossible for a woman to have a child at the age of 49, but it is extremely unusual. This, together with the fact that her Christian name was Janet, rather than Isabel, might mean that she was, in fact, the child of James' final relationship of note, outside marriage.