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Who was Mary of Guelders?

Mary of Guelders was Queen of Consort of  Scotland. Her Majesty was born in the year 1434 Grave in Netherlands and was the daughter to Arnold, Duke of Guelders and Catherine of Cleves. She was great niece of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy.

Her uncle Philip and his wife Isabella of Portugal planned to have Mary betrothed to Charles,Court of Maine but her father was unable to pay the dowry. Mary continued staying at Burgundian court where her aunt Isabella paid for her expenses. Later on, the Duke of Burgundy, her father, started negotiations for a Scottish marriage.

Mary arrived in Scotland in June 1449 escorted by William Crichton. Nobles and common people came to witness her arrival as she made her way to Holyrood Abbey.

James II King of Scots married Mary of Guelders at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburg on 3 July 1449 a month after her arrival. It is understood that the King gave his bride a special gift.

The King and Mary had seven children but it was agreed that any sons they might have would have no right to the Duchy of Guelders.

The first son was born and died on the same day 19 May 1450. The second son James III of Scotland was born on 1451 died 1488. The third born daughter Mary was born on May 1453 died the same year as James III May 1488. She was first married to Thomas Boyd, 1st Earl of Arran then secondly got married to James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton. She became the mother of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran. The fourth born son was Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany was born on 1454 and died 1485. The fifth born daughter was Margaret who got married to William Crichton, 3rd Lord Crichton of Auchigoul. The sixth born son was David Stewart 1st Earl of Moray was born 1456 died 1457. Finally, the seventh born son  was John Stewart 1st Earl of Mar and Garioch was born 1459 died 1479.

After the death of her husband the King, Mary acted as a regent for their son James III of Scotland until after she died three years later.

Mary of Guelders, the Queen Consort of Scotland was drawn into wars of the Roases taking place in England at this time. The Queen appointed Bishop James Kennedy as her chief advisor, their companionship was described as well functioning despite the fact that the Bishop favoured the Lancastrians.

The Lancastrian Queen, Margaret of Anjou fled North across the border seeking refuge from the Yorkists. The Queen of Consort of Scotland sympathetically took in Margaret of Anjoul and also took in Edward of Westminster into her household to keep them out of Yorkists hands.

Mary gave a number of Scottish troops to help Margaret and Lancastrian cause.

According to Royal central source, Mary requested in return for her support that she should get the town of Berwick on the Anglo-Scottish border which Margaret; the Queen was willing to give up.

Mary and Margaret’s  relationship started to deteriorate because Margaret was considered as King Edward IV’s  enemy. King Edward IV of England had a friendly alliance between him and King Philip.

King Edward tried to put a stop to Mary’s support of Margaret by proposing to Mary of Guelders but she rejected the proposal.

The Queen of Consort of Scotland founded Trinity College Church in1460 in memory of her husband. The church is located in Edinburgh’s Old town which was demolished to paveway for Waverley Station.

In 1462, Mary of Guelders paid the Lancastrian royals to leave Scotland and made peace with the King.

It is understood that she was buried in the church but years after, her coffin was transferred to Holyrood Abbey before the construction of the station.





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