The Lost King of Scotland

During his brief lifetime, James V was a popular ruler who aimed to maintain Scotland’s independence and safeguard its place on the European stage. Linda Porter describes his reign and the fraught relationship between the young king and his English uncle, Henry VIII.

James V was a handsome man who strongly resembled the youthful Henry VIII. He was half a Tudor, though this was not a part of his heritage that he sought to exploit. Throughout his adult life James was keen to emphasise and advance his Stewart lineage and to continue the attempts of his father, James IV, to enhance Scotland’s prestige in Europe. Unlike his daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, James V kept his own counsel when it came to his proximity to the throne of England. Any ambivalence he may have felt is unsurprising. The relationship with his uncle was never going to be easy and, as the years passed, James’ misgivings and Henry’s suspicions grew. James endured the most difficult of childhoods and for much of the disruption of this formative period he could blame his uncle. It was an English army that outmanoeuvred and cut down his father’s larger but less flexible force at the Battle of Flodden in September 1513. Fighting to the last, James IV died alongside the flower of the Scottish nobility. The little boy he left behind became King of Scots at the age of 17 months. James V was crowned at Stirling within two weeks of his father’s death.

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