Douglas, Margaret (1515–1578)

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Douglas, Margaret (1515–1578)

Countess of Lennox. Name variations: Lady Margaret Douglas or Douglass; Margaret Lennox. Born at Har-bottle Castle, Northumberland, England, on October 8, 1515; died on March 7 or 9, 1578 (some sources cite 1577); daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th earl of Angus, and Margaret Tudor (1489–1541); married Thomas Howard, Lord Howard; married Matthew Stuart (1516–1571), 4th earl of Lennox, on July 6, 1544; children: (second marriage) Henry Stuart (b. 1545), Lord Darnley (who married Mary Stuart, queen of Scots); Charles Stuart (b. 1555), earl of Lennox; and four daughters (names unknown); grandchildren: James VI, king of Scotland (r. 1567–1625), king of England as James I (r. 1603–1625).

Lady Margaret Douglas, countess of Lennox, was the daughter of Margaret Tudor . Lady Margaret's maternal uncle was Henry VIII and her maternal grandfather was Henry VII. Because of her proximity to the crown, Margaret was brought up chiefly at the English court in close association with the Princess Mary Tudor (Mary I ), who would remain her close friend.

Though Margaret Douglas was high in her uncle Henry VIII's favor, she was twice discredited; first for her marriage to Lord Thomas Howard, who died in the Tower of London in 1537, and again, in 1541, for her affair with Sir Charles Howard, brother of Queen Catherine Howard In 1544, Margaret married a Scottish exile, Matthew Stuart, 4th earl of Lennox, who was regent of Scotland in 1570–71.

During Catholic Mary I's reign, Margaret had rooms in Westminster Palace, but on Protestant Elizabeth I 's accession she moved to York-shire, where her home at Temple Newsam became a center for Catholic intrigue. By a series of successful maneuvers, Margaret married her son Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots . As a grandson of Margaret Tudor, Darnley was next in line after Mary Stuart to the English succession and their marriage on July 29, 1565, united the two nearest claimants to the English throne. For her troubles, Margaret was sent to the Tower in 1566, but was released after the murder of Darnley the following year. Margaret was at first vocal in her condemnation of Mary Stuart but was eventually reconciled with her daughter-in-law.

In 1574, Margaret again incurred Elizabeth I's wrath when her son Charles Stuart, earl of Lennox, married Elizabeth Cavendish (d. 1582), daughter of Elizabeth Talbot , countess of Shrewsbury. Margaret was sent to the Tower with the countess of Shrewsbury, and was only pardoned after her son's death in 1577. Her diplomacy largely contributed to the future succession of her grandson James I to the English throne.

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Douglas, Margaret (1515–1578)

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