Alexander Stuart

(1st (or 3rd) Duke of Albany)

c.1454 - 1485

Noble. The second son of King James II (1430-60) and elder brother of John Stuart, Duke of Mar (c.1458-79). He was created the 1st Duke of Albany in 1458 (the previous Duchy of Albany having been forfeited in 1425). He was captured by the English in 1463 while en route to the continent to complete his education, but soon released. Stuart was appointed High Admiral of Scotland and Warden of the Marches.

Distrusted by their elder brother King James III (1452-88), and his nobles who held much power and influence, both Stuart and his younger brother were imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle in 1479. However, Stuart killed the Governor of the castle and slid down the castle rock on tied bed-sheets and escaped to France via a ship at Newhaven. He lost his estates, but in 1481 made a pact with the English King Edward IV to attack Scotland. Edward had agreed that Stuart could take the crown in return for a tract of land in the Scottish Borders and in 1482 an English army invaded.

James III set out to meet this army, but was held back by his nobles, including Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus (c.1449 - 1513) who hanged nobles who they thought had had an undue influence on the King. They took James into custody and hastily concluded a truce with the English. In a complex political climate, Albany effectively took power, but was soon accused of treason, gave his castle at Dunbar to the English and fled south.

Albany's last action was to invade Scotland once again, with James, 9th Earl of Douglas (1426-88), in 1484. Defeated at Lochmaben, Stuart only just managed to make his escape. He died in France the following year, having been fatally wounded in a tournament.

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