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James III of Scotland

James III of Scotland (1452? - June 11, 1488), born Duke of Rothesay, was king of Scotland from 1460 to 1488. James is said to have been an unpopular and rather ineffective monarch due to a weak and argumentative personality. He was also reportedly a bisexual.

He had an interest in such matters as trade, currency, poetry, music, astrology and building.Coins produced during his reign showed his exact likeness. During his reign, a written record of Scottish Parliament came into being. James also established a third university in Scotland.

His exact date and place of birth remain unclear. It was in either May, 1452, or July 10 or July 20, 1451. The place of birth was either Stirling Castle of the Castle of St Andrews. He succeeded his father, James II on August 3, 1460, and was crowned at Kelso Abbey, Roxburghshire a week later.

Following his mother's death in 1463, he came under the custody of the Boyd family. The Boyds in effect ruled Scotland until 1469. One member of the family, Thomas , married Mary, James II's sister in 1467 or 1468.

The Boyd family's rule of Scotland came to an end with James III's marriage. He married Margaret, daughter of King Christian I of Denmark in July, 1469 at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh. The marriage dowry consisted of the Shetland and Orkney Islands, located off the northern Scottish mainland. Until the marriage, these islands had been Danish possessions. The marriage produced three sons, amongst them the future James IV of Scotland.

Conflict broke out between James and the Boyd family following the marriage. Thomas Boyd fled Scotland with Mary, but the marriage was later declared void in 1473. Another member of the Boyd family was executed by James.

James was also in constant conflict with his two brothers, Alexander and John. John, also known as the Earl of Mar, died suspiciously in Edinburgh in 1479 or 1480. Alexander, also known as the Duke of Albany, fled to England and France. He died in exile in France in 1485. At one point Edward IV of England recognised him as Alexander IV of Scotland.

James was also in conflict with many of his nobles throughout his reign. Matters came to a head in 1488 when he faced an army raised by them at the Battle of Sauchieburn. His heir, the future James IV of Scotland, took arms against his father on condition that he not be harmed.

However, James III was assassinated at Milltown, near Bannockburn, after the battle. His assassin, who had apparently impersonated a priest in order to approach James, was never identified. James was buried at Cambuskenneth Abbey[?].

He was succeeded by his son, King James IV of Scotland.

Preceded by:
James II
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
James IV



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James III of Scotland

...     Contents James III of Scotland James III of Scotland (1452? - June 11, 1488), born Duke of Rothesay, was king of Scotland from 1460 to ...