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James V (April 10, 1512 – December 14, 1542) was King of Scotland from September 9, 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. His only surviving legitimate child, Mary I, Queen of Scots, succeeded him when she was just six days old.

James V of Scotland

James was the third son of King James IV of Scotland and his wife Margaret of England a daughter of Henry VII of England and sister of Henry VIII, and was the only legitimate child of James IV to survive infancy. He was born on April 10, 1512 at Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgowshire and baptized the following day, receiving the titles Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. He became king at just seventeen months old when his father was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field on 9 September 9, 1513.

James V renewed the Auld Alliance and fulfilled the 1517 Treaty of Rouen on 1 January 1537 by marrying Madeleine of Valois, the fifth child and third daughter of King François I of France and Claude, Duchess of Brittany (daughter of King Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany). The wedding was a great event and it took place in Notre Dame de Paris. François I made a contract with six painters for the splendid decorations, and there were days of jousting at the Château du Louvre.

Madeleine of Valois

After months of festivities and celebrations, the couple left France for Scotland in May 1537. By this time, Madeleine’s health had deteriorated even further, and she was very sick when the royal pair landed in Scotland. Madeleine wrote to her father from Edinburgh on June 8, 1537 saying that she was better and her symptoms had diminished. However, a month later, on July 7, 1537, (a month before her 17th birthday), Madeleine, the so-called “Summer Queen” of Scots, died in her husband’s arms at Edinburgh, Scotland.

James then proceeded to marry Mary of Guise, daughter of Claude, Duke of Guise, and widow of Louis II d’Orléans, Duke of Longueville, by proxy on June 12, 1538. Mary already had two sons from her first marriage, and the union with James V produced two sons. James, Duke of Rothesay was born May 22 1540, St Andrews, Fife. On April 12, 1541 his brother, Robert, Duke of Albany, was born at Falkland Palace. Sadly, Robert lived only eight days and died April 20, 1541. His brother, James, only eleven months old, died the very next day on April 21, 1541.

James was with his army at Lauder on October 31, 1542. Although he hoped to invade England, his nobles were reluctant. He returned to Edinburgh, on the way writing a letter in French to his wife from Falahill mentioning he had three days of illness. Whatever the cause of his illness, James was on his deathbed at Falkland Palace when his only surviving legitimate child, a girl, Princess Mary, was born December 8, 1542 at Linlithgow Palace. Six days later, December 14, King James V of Scotland died at the age of 30. Scotland once again was ruled by an infant monarch.