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The minority of King James V, 1513-1528
By William Emond
PhD Dissertation, University of St Andrews, 1998
Abstract: The thesis is a detailed study of Scottish central government institutions, personnel and policies during the long and politically complex minority of James V 1513-1528. Research has been undertaken principally in the records of the Lords of Council which have never been published nor examined intensively for this period. Documents from various family collections further supplement the wide range of record sources which have been published, particularly the Letters and Papers…, and State Papers of Henry VIII. The contribution ma4g by contemporary and later chroniclers has also been examined with the conclusion that their contributions are of some value, provided that due recognition is given to their motivation for writing history.
Examination of the role and influence of faction at Court, pro-English against pro-French, has broadened the scope of the thesis to include discussion of the wider themes of Scottish foreign policy in the early sixteenth century. Consideration is also given to the effect of the unprecedented opportunities presented to England and France for interference through the rival claims to authority made by Queen Margaret Tudor, mother of James V, and John, Duke of Albany, the nearest male relative of the young King. The complex political machinations following Albany’s final departure in 1524, which led to the domination of the Scottish government by Archibald, 6th Earl of Angus, during the final years of James V’s minority are discussed at length.
The conclusion is that the development of royal autocracy was hindered by the King’s youth and that this minority contributes to the evidence that, in general, minorities acted as a safety-valve in the development of Scottish government, preserving a balance between the interests of crown and magnates. Nevertheless, there was a genuine desire shown by the magnates to have a Governor able to act as if he was a-king of full age because of the advantage such a position could bring, especially in foreign relations. Government did not stagnate because there was no adult king.