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The Attempted Divorce of James Hamilton, earl of Arran and Governor of Scotland

Blakeway, Amy (2010) The Attempted Divorce of James Hamilton, earl of Arran and Governor of Scotland. Innes Review, 61 (1). pp. 1-23. ISSN 0020-157X. E-ISSN 1745-5219. (doi:10.3366/inr.2010.0001) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:52375)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/inr.2010.0001

Abstract

This article examines the little-known 1544 attempt by James Hamilton, earl of Arran and then Governor of Scotland (future duke of Châtelherault) to divorce his wife, Margaret Douglas, eldest daughter of James Douglas, earl of Morton. It is concluded that Arran's failed divorce does not provide an explanation for his ‘godly fit’ of 1543, and that his actions were not motivated by the desire for an heir. Rather, Arran sought to maintain his children's legitimacy whilst gaining the freedom to take a new wife. The article explores the possibility that in this context, Margaret Douglas's poor mental health may have been a motivating factor behind the divorce attempt. Taking the failed divorce attempt as a starting point, the article moves on to re-consider the subsequent relationship between Arran and his wife's kin. It is argued that the marriage of Margaret's youngest sister, Elizabeth, to James Douglas, the nephew of the earl of Angus and future regent Morton, placed Arran and his brother-in-law in a position of heightened competition. This rivalry over landed interests underscored and exacerbated political tensions between the two men, serving to fuel one of the most potent noble rivalries in sixteenth-century Scotland.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3366/inr.2010.0001
Uncontrolled keywords: James Hamilton [earl of Arran/duke of Châtelherault, Governor of Scotland], Margaret Douglas [countess of Arran/duchess of Châtelherault], James Douglas [Regent Morton], marriage, divorce, sixteenth century
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: M.R.L. Hurst
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 16:13 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:31 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52375 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Blakeway, Amy: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1239-8768
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