[State Papers, Hen. VIII; Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland; Pitcairn's Criminal Trials; Fraser's Douglas Book.]
DOUGLAS, ARCHIBALD, sixth Earl of Angus (1489?–1557), was grandson of Archibald, fifth earl [q. v.], by his eldest son, George, master of Douglas. He married in 1509, during his father's life, when not yet of age, Margaret, daughter of Patrick Hepburn, first earl of Bothwell. His wife died in 1513 without children. The same year he lost his father at Flodden, and his grandfather, old ‘Bell-the-Cat,’ dying before the end of January 1514, he succeeded to the earldom. The handsome person and agreeable manners of the young earl gained him the hand of the queen dowager, Margaret Tudor, who, though she had been married eleven years before, was still only about his own age, possibly a few years older. Rejecting the idea of a more brilliant alliance with the Emperor Maximilian, which Wolsey favoured, or with Louis XII, which her brother, Henry VIII, is believed to have desired, Margaret determined to choose her own spouse. On 6 Aug. 1514, within four months of the birth of her posthumous son, Alexander, duke of Ross, she married Douglas at the church of Kinnoul. The ceremony was performed privately by Walter Drummond, dean of Dunblane, nephew of Lord Drummond, justiciar of Scotland, the maternal grandfather of Angus, who had promoted the match. Such a secret could not be long kept. Margaret had already shown her inclination by the eagerness with which she pressed the claims of Gavin Douglas [q. v.], the uncle of Angus, to preferment, until he ultimately became bishop of Dunkeld. She induced Henry VIII to write in his favour to the pope. Henry accepted the marriage after the fact, as Angus was in the English interest, but he did not consent beforehand. The queen by her rash marriage with Angus alienated the other nobles, and the well-founded suspicion that she and her new husband would support the influence of England, strengthened the party led by Beaton, the archbishop of Glasgow, and Forman, the new archbishop of St. Andrews, who regarded France as the natural ally of Scotland. The privy council met and declared Margaret had forfeited the regency by marrying Angus. Lyon king-at-arms was sent to Stirling, where the queen was, to announce the forfeiture and summon Angus before the council for marrying without their consent. The Lyon's request for an audience with ‘my lady the queen, the mother of his grace our king,’ was deemed an insult, and Lord Drummond struck him in the presence of the queen and Angus. Instead of obeying the summons of the council, Angus forcibly deprived Beaton of the great seal. Gavin Douglas had taken possession of the castle of St. Andrews, where he was besieged by Hepburn, the prior, one of his rivals for the see, and Angus went to his relief, but was compelled suddenly to return to the queen, who had been forced by the Earl of Arran and Hume, the chamberlain, to attend the council in Edinburgh. Although Angus maintained a nominal friendship with Arran and Hume, and even signed along with them on 15 May 1515 the new treaty of peace with England and France which Francis I had effected, the nobles were in reality as bitter rivals as the churchmen. It is reported as certain, says Hume of Godscroft, that Arran rejected the proposal of Angus that they should divide the government of Scotland between them, and urged him not to recall Albany [see STEWART, JOHN, fourth Duke of Albany]. Albany landed at Dumbarton on 18 May 1515, and was installed as regent in Edinburgh in the following July. Angus and Argyll placed the ducal coronet on his head. He was declared protector of the kingdom till the king attained his eighteenth year, and invested with the sceptre and the sword. The new regent at once used his power to curb the influence of the Douglases. He threatened to deprive the queen of her children, and Margaret wrote indignantly to her brother that ‘all her party had deserted her except her husband Angus and Lord Hume.’ Both Albany and the French party, and Henry VIII and the Scottish nobles inclined to him, were intent at this time to obtain possession of the young king. Albany sent four lords for this purpose to Stirling, where the queen was, but Margaret, attended by Angus and leading her children, came to the gate and refused them admission until they told their message, and when they asked for the children dropped the portcullis. According to Albany, Angus had desired her to surrender them, fearing to lose his life and lands, and even signed a written protest affirming this. The queen herself offered that their custody should be committed to four guardians of her own choice, of whom Angus and Lord Hume were to be two, but this offer was declined, and Albany laid siege to Stirling. It seems improbable that the rupture between Margaret and her husband had yet reached the point of divided counsels as to the guardianship of the king, though it is not unlikely that Angus made a formal protest to preserve his freedom of action should events be adverse to the queen. His conduct at this juncture was ambiguous.