James V: French Fashions

Chapter 1: The Journey

In February of 1536 a marriage was agreed between James and Marie of Bourbon, daughter of the Duke of Vendome, a relative of King Francois I of France. The original intention of the Treaty of Rouen of 1517, had been for James to marry a daughter of the King, but his two elder daughters had died young, and the next in age, Princess Madeleine, who was not quite sixteen, was in frail health, probably suffering from tuberculosis. Francois therefore proposed Marie of Bourbon, offering her with a dowry as great as that of a Princess of France.

James V of Scotland (1512 - 1542)

James, after initially protesting, and seeking a bride amongst the flock of female relatives of the Emperor, whether genuinely or to concentrate Francois’ mind, agreed to the match. He gave authority to the Duke of Albany to conclude negotiations and send the bride to Scotland. For some reason, however, he changed his mind about waiting at home for his bride, and decided to go to France to fetch her himself.

Madeleine of France, Queen of Scots (1520 - 1537)

He requested a safe-conduct to travel through England, but this was refused. The Duke of Norfolk wrote to Henry VIII and the Council, saying that, although he was surprised that James had not asked Henry directly, he did not think there could be a problem with James’ request, other than in the matter of expense.

Henry replied, that no King of Scotland could be entertained in England except as a vassal, for

there never King of Scots into England in peaceful manner otherwise ’.

In addition, since James had failed to meet Henry as previously mooted, citing that he feared betrayal, Henry could not allow him or his wife to travel through England, because if there were any mishaps, Henry would be suspected.

Following this ungracious response, James was obliged to sail all the way. In July, he set out, but was driven back by storms. After regrouping, on 1 st September 1536 he sailed again from Kirkcaldy, in Fife (or possibly Leith), with seven ships, landing at Dieppe on 11 th of the month. He took no chances with leaving potential troublemakers at home, and was accompanied, amongst others, by the Earls of Argyll, Rothes and Arran and the Lords Fleming (his brother-in-law) and Maxwell.