The History of Leith

May 11, 2011

The Escape of Arran

During the minority of James III. the country was undisturbed by foreign invasion, for England was distracted by the Wars of the Roses, and Scotland was thus left in peace. That is why trade and commerce still made some progress in spite of James’s weak rule, for he was neither a soldier nor a statesman. As he grew to man’s estate strife and lawlessness continued, for he developed all the Stuarts’ love for favourites, and thus set the nobles against him. One -of his early favourites was Thomas Boyd, a man of great charm of manner, whom the king had created Earl of Arran, and had married to his sister Mary. It was this Arran who sailed from Leith on an embassy to the Court of Denmark to arrange a treaty of marriage between King James and the saintly Princess Margaret of that country. His embassy was successful in its mission. By the terms of the marriage treaty, which is still preserved in the Register House, the Orkney and Shetland Islands came to Scotland as Margaret’s dowry, for her father had no money to spare her. Arran conducted the princess from Denmark to Leith in July 1469, where her landing rivalled in pomp and splendour that of Mary of Gueldres some twenty years before. But in the pageantry of this gala day the brilliant Arran had no share. During his absence his many enemies had poisoned the mind of the king against him, and his life was forfeit. Anxiously and in secret, somewhere near the Shore, his devoted wife, the Princess Mary, awaited his arrival with the Danish fleet in Leith Roads, and, stealing aboard, warned him of the fate awaiting him. He had sail immediately hoisted on one of the Danish convoy ships, and, accompanied by his wife, at once returned to Copenhagen.

source-The Story of Leirh

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