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Queen Joan Beaufort, 5th Great-Grandmother of my Uncle Thomas R. Rattray (by marriage)

My 11th Great Aunt, Margaret Galloway's husband, Thomas R. Rattray's 5th Great Grandfather was Sir John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Atholl. His mother was Joan Beaufort and his father was Sir James Stewart, The Black Knight of Lorn. Joan Beaufort was married once before to King James I of Scotland. With this marriage Sir James Stewart became step father to King James II.


Joan Beaufort was the daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Sommerset (and grandson tof King Edward III of England) and Margaret Holland (daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent who's mother was also the mother of King Richard II of England). Joan was also half-niece of King Henry IV of England. King James I of Scotland met Joan while he was a prisoner in England and knew her from at least 1420. King James wrote a poem, allegedly inspired as he saw Joan through the window while Joan was in the garden; the poem was called "The Kingis Quair". Although James I may have been taken with Joan, their wedding was at least partially politically motivated as their union would strengthen relations between Scotland and England, rather than allow a stronger alliance between the Scots and French. 


On February 12, 1424, King James and Joan were wed at St. Mary Overie Church in Southwark, London. Joan returned to Scotland with her new husband. It is said that Joan, as Queen, often pleaded with the King on behalf of those to be executed.


King James I and Queen Joan had 8 children:


Margaret Stewart, Princess of Scotland who went on to marry Prince Louis, Dauphin of Viennois who was later crowned King Louis XI of France.


Isabella Stewart, Princess of Scotland who married Francis I, Duke of Brittany.


Mary Stewart, Countess of Buchan who married Wolfart VI van Borsselen


Joan of Scotland, Countess of Morton who married James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton


Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay and twin of James II


James II, King of Scotland


Annabella Stewart, Princess of Scotland who married Louis of Savoy and then divorced him; married secondly George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly


Eleanor Stewart, Princess of Scotland who married Sigismund, Archduke of Austria


On February 21, 1437, King James I was assassinated in Perth by Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl.  Joan, who was with her husband at the time, had also been targetted for assassination but she managed to escape with injuries. Although Joan identified the Earl of Atholl as the assassin, and successfully encouraged her supporters to attack him, she had to give up power 3 months later due to the unpopularity of Joan being English, and the Scots did not want an Englishwoman as ruler. Subsequently the Earl of Douglas was appointed to power although Joan maintained control of her son, James II, the King of Scotland.


In late July, 1439, Joan married James Stewart, The Black Knight of Lorn, an ancester of my 11th Great Uncle by marriage, bringing our family directly into the nobles houses of Europe.


Here is an article about James Stewart from Wikipedia:


James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn (c.1399–c.1451):


The Black Knight of Lorn was born at Innermeath, Scotland. His father, Sir John Stewart (d. 26 Apr 1421), was ambassador to England and was married to Isabel MacDougall (d. 21 Dec 1439), heiress to the House of Ergadia, the senior line descending from Somerled, King of Mann and the Isles. He was a direct male line descendant of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland, through his second son Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, who was killed at the Battle of Falkirk. His mother was also a descendant of Robert I of Scotland through his second marriage to Elizabeth de Burgh.


James was a younger brother of Robert Stewart, 1st Lord Lorne (1382-1449), whose descendants bore this title. He was an ally of the Black Douglases, Earls of Douglas. After the murder of James I of Scotland in 1437, power was held by Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas as regent for the underage James II of Scotland. The Stewarts of Lorne were amongst his most trusted supporters, and their power greatly increased while the Douglas family controlled Scotland and the king was a mere 7 years of age. However the unexpected death of the 5th Earl of Douglas from a fever in 1439 saw power now being uneasily shared between William, 1st Lord Crichton, Chancellor of Scotland and Sir Alexander Livingston, Governor of Stirling Castle.

Stewart married the Dowager Queen, Joan Beaufort, and became stepfather to James II. Stewart and his Douglas allies planned to remove the young James II who was being held by Livingstone in his stronghold of Stirling Castle. However, Livingston arrested Lady Joan on 3 Aug 1439, imprisoning her in Stirling Castle, while throwing Sir James and his brother Sir William into its dungeon. They were later released on good behaviour. He was given safe conduct to England in 1445, 1447, and 1451. He was supposedly captured at sea by Flemish pirates and put to death after 1451.


He married, before 21 Sep 1439, Joan Beaufort, Dowager Queen of Scotland and widow of James I of Scotland. They had a papal dispensation. Joan was a daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset (son of Katherine De Roet/Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the son of Edward III of England) by his wife Lady Margaret Holland, daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and Joan 'The Fair Maid' of Kent.


James Stewart and Joan Beaufort had 3 children:


John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl
James Stewart, Earl of Buchan, d. 1499. Married 27 Mar 1459, to Margaret Ogilvy, daughter of Alexander Ogilvy of Auchterhouse.
Andrew Stewart, c. 1443-1501. The Bishop of Moray from 1483-1501.


James Stewart was an ally of the Earl of Douglas and plotted with him to overthrow Alexander Livingstone, the Governor of Sterling Castle. Livingstone arrested Joan in August of 1439, shortly after her marriage to James Stewart, and forced her to relinquish control of James II to him. In 1445, with the battle still continuing between Livingstone and Joan, she fell under siege at Dunbar Castle. On July 15, 1445, Joan died at Dunbar Castle and was buried in the Carthusian Priory at Perth.


While Joan was held prisoner at the castle, her husband James Stewart and his brother, Sir William Stewart, were thrown into the castle's dungeon. They were held in the dungeon and later released in 1445. After 1451, James Stewart was supposedly caught at sea by Flemish pirates and put to death.



Through Joan's bloodline she is related to many notable ancestors:

King Henry II of England

King William I of England


Hugh Capet


Alfred The Great


Joan's children are also historically significant, tying our family directly into:

King James II of Scotland and his wife, Mary of Guelders

King Louis XI of France through his marriage to Margaret Stewart, Princess of Scotland


Through King James II's marriage:

King James III of Scotland and his wife, Margaret of Denmark (daughter of King Christian I of Denmark)


Through King James III's marriage:

King James IV of Scotland and his wife, Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII of England


Through King James IV's marriage:

King James V of Scotland and his wife Madeliene of Valois who died shortly after they wed and then his 2nd wife, Mary of Guise.


Through King James V's marriage to Mary of Guise:

Mary, Queen of Scots who first married Francis, Dauphin of France (later King Francis II unti his death 2 years after their marriage; her second husband was her first cousin, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley who was murdered in the garden of his residence and his residence destroyed by an explosion; her final husband was James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell whom many suspected had murdered Lord Darnley. (Mary was forced to abdicate her thrown to her 1 year old son, James VI, and headed to England seeking the protection of her 1st cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England - we all know how badly that turned out for Mary!)


Through Mary, Queen of Scot's marraige to Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley:

King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England who married Anne of Denmark, daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark and his wife, Sophie of Mecklenburg- Gustrow.


Through the marriage of King James VI of Scotland, I of England and Anne of Denmark:

King Charles I of England who married Henrietta Maria of France, daughter of Henry IV, King of France and his wife Marie de' Medici


Through the marriage of King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France:

King Charles II of England

King James II of England and VII of Scotland who married Anne Hyde, Duchess of York


Through the marriage of King James II and Anne Hyde:

Queen Mary II of England who married her first cousin, William III and II

Queen Anne of Great Britain who married Prince George of Denmark


Queen Anne of Great Britain and Prince George of Denmark had one child, Prince William of Gloucester, died at age 11.


At this point the British Monarchy passed to Queen Anne's eldest living relative, King George I and the monarchy was turned over to the House of Hanover.











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