Mary of Gueldres, Queen of Scotland

(d. 1463)
   Hoping to make territorial gains at England’s expense, Queen Mary of Gueldres involved SCOTLAND in the WARS OF THE ROSES in the early 1460s.
   The daughter of the duke of Gueldres and a kinswoman of Duke PHILIP of BURGUNDY, Mary of Gueldres married JAMES II of Scotland in July 1449. She became regent for her eight-year-old-son JAMES III in August 1460, when her husband was killed by the explosion of one of his own ARTILLERY pieces at the siege of Roxburgh Castle, a border fortress that James was attempting to seize while the English were distracted by civil war. Mary successfully completed the siege, and then, in December, welcomed Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU to Scotland. With HENRY VI in Yorkist custody since the Battle of NORTHAMPTON in July, and Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER disinherited by the Act of ACCORD in October, Margaret required military assistance, and Mary was eager to turn that need to Scotland’s advantage. For several days over the New Year, the Scottish and Lancastrian queens and their sons met at Lincluden Abbey to conclude a treaty whereby Mary agreed to supply Margaret with Scottish troops in return for the surrender of BERWICK. The queens sealed the pact by arranging a future marriage between Prince Edward and one of James III’s sisters. Thus, when Margaret departed for England in January 1461, she was accompanied by a large force of Scottish MERCENARIES. After EDWARD IV’s victory at the Battle of TOWTON in March 1461, the Lancastrian royal family fled into Scotland. Although the Yorkists held the throne, the house of LANCASTER retained sufficient authority in the north to effect the surrender of Berwick to the Scots on 25 April. Mary and the regency council allowed the Lancastrians to use the town as a base for raids into England. These incursions compelled Edward IV to send Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, to Scotland to convince Mary to abandon the Lancastrian cause. Pressed to support the Lancastrians by a COUNCIL faction under Bishop James KENNEDY of St. Andrews and pressured to favor the Yorkists by her uncle the duke of Burgundy, Mary gave Warwick an evasive answer but readily agreed to Queen Margaret’s request for money to travel to FRANCE. With Margaret’s influence removed, and with Edward IV threatening to stir up trouble in northern Scotland by concluding the Treaty of WESTMINSTER-ARDTORNISH with the rebellious Lord of the Isles, Mary and the council agreed to a three-month truce with the Yorkist government in the summer of 1462. However, Margaret’s return to Scotland in the autumn with a body of French mercenaries revived Mary’s hopes of using the English conflict to achieve Scottish expansion. In 1463, several Scottish armies invaded England in concert with Lancastrian forces, including one in June that was accompanied by both MARY OF GUELDRES, QUEEN OF SCOTLAND 161 Mary and James III. When Warwick routed this army in July, queen and council lost all enthusiasm for the Lancastrian cause. By Mary’s death in the following November, Margaret and her son had sailed for France, and a Scottish envoy was preparing for peace talks with Edward IV.
   Further Reading: Macdougall, Norman, James III (Edinburgh: J. Donald, 1982); McGladdery, Christine, James II (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1990).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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