James IV: Life Story

A Renaissance Prince

Chapter 9 : Marriage Negotiations

As part of James' plans to bring Scotland to centre-stage in Europe, he had negotiated throughout the late 1480s and 1490s for a suitable Queen. Bianca Sforza, sister of the Duke of Milan had been one possibility, and he even went so far as to ask for the hand of Marguerite of Austria, widowed daughter of the Emperor Maximilian.

Marguerite of Austria (1480 - 1530)

He tried for a Spanish princess, but was offered only an illegitimate daughter of Ferdinand, the pill of illegitimacy to be sweetened with a fat dowry.

The peace with England, however, led to a different choice – James was to marry Henry VII's eldest daughter, Margaret. Princess Margaret was a mere eight years old at the time of the Truce of Ayton.

Margaret of England, around the time of her marriage in 1503

The eventual agreement, known as the Treaty of Perpetual Peace and signed on 24 th November 1502, agreed the union and assigned a very impressive dowry of £10,000 English for Margaret. In return, she received a jointure from James of land and rents of £2,000 Scots per annum, plus a further £1,000 Scots as a spending allowance.