James IV: His Wife & Four Mistresses

Chapter 7 : Treaty with England

Eventually, however, it was settled that James should marry Margaret, eldest daughter of King Henry VII of England. The marriage would be the living symbol of the new Treaty of Perpetual Peace – the first peace treaty between the countries since the late fourteenth century. The only slight fly in the ointment was Margaret's youth. When the treaty was agreed she was well under the minimum marriageable age of twelve.

A detail from the Treaty of Perpetual Peace showing James' thistle and Margaret's red rose

Polydore Vergil, historian of Henry's reign, recorded that Henry's Council raised a concern that marrying his daughter into Scotland would risk a later King of Scots becoming King of England.

Apparently Henry replied equably,

' "What then? Should anything of the kind happen (and God avert the omen), I foresee that our realm would suffer no harm, since England would not be absorbed by Scotland, but rather Scotland by England, being the noblest head of the entire island, since there is always glory and honor in the less being joined to that which is far the greater, just as Normandy once came under the rule and power of our ancestors the English." And so the king's wisdom was praised and they unanimously approved the measure. Margaret was betrothed to King James." '