Above: Margaret's younger brother, Henry VIII, king of England.
Conflicts between Albany and the Scottish nobles persisted, especially due to Albany's detainment in France. In December 1521, Albany returned to Edinburgh and was warmly welcomed by Margaret, who hoped that he would restore her revenues and help her obtain an annulment of her unsuccessful marriage to Angus. Henry VIII became aware of rumours that his sister was Albany's mistress and rebuked her in a letter, causing the indignant Margaret to write an emotional reply to his 'sharp and unkind letter'. Albany banished Angus and his brother George to France, and even gathered an army in September for the purpose of invading England; although the memory of Flodden deterred him from pursuing this course. Eventually, a truce was achieved.
When Albany left again for France in 1524, Margaret won the support of the Hamiltons, a powerful Scottish noble family, headed by the second earl of Arran. A coup was achieved which brought to an end Albany's regency and on 26 July of that year, invested Margaret's twelve-year old son James with full royal authority. Margaret's government met with hostility and suspicion, however, for it was perceived that the queen lacked good counsel, and the duke of Norfolk wrote to Wolsey of how unpopular Margaret had become, as a result. Margaret continued to urge Albany, who resided abroad, to help her seek a divorce from Angus, who troubled her. She had determined to marry Henry Stewart, her treasurer. The Pope finally annulled the marriage in March 1527, on the grounds of Angus' pre-contract to Lady Jane Stewart. Soon afterwards, the infatuated Margaret married Henry Stewart, and acknowledged him as her husband for the first time about April 1528. Angus retaliated by arresting Stewart and confining him, but James V expelled not just Angus, but his own family, from government. Henry was created Lord Methven and the Douglases were found guilty of treason. Margaret, however, was furious when her brother sheltered Angus in England.
Margaret's relations with her son were complex, especially because of conflict regarding foreign policy. Margaret favoured closer relations with her home country, England, and encouraged her son to marry his cousin, Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. James, however, renewed the French alliance. The queen's hopes of an Anglo-Scottish alliance were dashed when her son married Madeleine of Valois in 1537.
Above: James V of Scotland, son of Margaret Tudor.
Margaret's personal difficulties with her husbands continued, for Lord Methven had taken a mistress by the mid-1530s, causing her to send a stream of letters to Henry VIII and his ministers complaining. He had so wasted her revenues that she was 8000 marks in debt. She sought to divorce him but was unsuccessful, although she did try to escape to Berwick in autumn 1537 before being intercepted. Queen Madeleine had died in July of that year, and her son, who continued to favour an alliance with France, married Marie of Guise, whom Henry VIII had shown some interest in as a prospective bride after the death of his third consort, Jane Seymour.
Margaret's final years were unsuccessful, lonely and unhappy. On 18 October 1541, aged fifty-one, she died after experiencing a stroke at Methven Castle. Her son did not arrive in time, although his mother had requested his presence at her deathbed. She was buried in St John's Abbey in Perth.
Richard Glen Eaves writes of Margaret thus:
'It is difficult to gain a clear impression of Queen Margaret, in terms either of her personality or of her impact on events... It seems clear that her years in Scotland were generally unhappy. She was only twenty-three when her first husband was killed, her two subsequent marriages both failed utterly, and she had limited contact with both her son in Scotland and her daughter in England... But in one respect she was undeniably a successful queen, for it was from her first marriage that there sprang the line that eventually united England and Scotland'.