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King James III of Scotland (1460 - 1488)

Name: King James III of Scotland
Father: James II, King of Scotland
Mother: Mary of Gueldes
Relation to Charles III: 14th great-grandfather
House of: Stewart
Born: May, 1452 at Either St Andrews, Fife, or Stirling Castle
Ascended to the throne: August 3, 1460 aged 8 years
Crowned: August 10, 1460 at Kelso Abbey
Married: Margaret of Denmark, July 13, 1469
Children: 3 sons
Died: June 11, 1488, assassinated at Milltown near Bannockburn, aged 36 years, 1 month, and 10 days
Buried at: Cambushkenneth Abbey, Stirlingshire
Succeeded by: his son James IV

James III was 8 years old when he became king on the death of his father and was crowned at Kelso. His mother Marie of Gueldes ruled in his minority until her death in 1463. He married Margaret of Denmark under whose dowry Orkney and Shetland were ceded from Danish rule to Scotland. James also had several close male friends.

James was weak and unpopular. He faced several challenges including the Boyds of Kilmarnock who were eventually exiled to Holland, and from his brothers Alexander of Albany and John Earl of Mar whom he had arrested in 1479 on charges of treason. Mar died in suspicious circumstances but Albany escaped from Edinburgh castle to England.

With support from Edward IV of England, Albany twice invaded Scotland however the expeditions turned into a farce and Albany was exiled to France. Berwick was finally ceded to the English having changed hands many times over the previous centuries.

The Scottish nobles became increasingly disaffected by James’ weakness and bisexuality, and when he conferred an earldom on his boyfriend John Ramsay they called for James’ 15 year old son James to be proclaimed king. Those who remained faithful to James III were routed at Sauchieburn near Bannockburn and James fled to Milltown where he was fatally stabbed by a man dressed as a priest.

Timeline for King James III of Scotland

Year Event
1460James III becomes king at 8 years old
1472Denmark cedes Orkney and Shetland to Scotland.
1482Berwick on Tweed finally ceded to King Edward IV of England after changing hands 12 times
1488Battle of Sauchieburn, and the assassination of James III. He is succeeded by his son, James IV