Margaret of Scotland (Stewart) was born on 25 December 1424 as the eldest daughter of James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort. She was betrothed to the future King Louis XI of France from an early age as part of a political alliance for Scottish assistance in the war between France and England.
Margaret sailed for France in March 1436, and she was escorted by some of the greatest Scottish nobles. She entered Poitiers, where a child dressed as an angel crowned her with a wreath of flowers. She married Louis in Tours on 25 June 1436 and became the Dauphine of France. She was taken into the household of the French Queen, Marie of Anjou, where she reportedly saw very little of her husband, whose aversion of her was remarked upon by contemporaries.
She is said to have devoted much of her time to writing, and she was criticised by doctors for it, who claimed that her “poetic overwork” may have attributed to her death. Unfortunately, none of her works survives to this day. Reportedly, Louis ordered that all her papers be destroyed.
She was treated with kindness by King Charles VII and his wife, and when she died on 16 August 1445, there was a great outpouring of grief. Her two sisters, Eleanor and Joan, were on their way to France at the invitation of Marie of Anjou, but they arrived just a few days after Margaret’s death.
An unidentified Scot wrote of Margaret,
Alas that I should have to write what I sadly relate about her death…I saw her every day, for the space of nine years, alive and enjoying herself in the company of the King and Queen of France. But then…I saw her, within the space of eight days, first in good health and then dead and disembowelled and laid in a tomb at the corner of the high altar, in the cathedral church of Châlons.
Margaret wished to be buried in the abbey church at Thouars, where she had founded a chapel, and she was moved there in 1479.1
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