Portrait of James Douglas (1516-1581), 4th Earl of Morton (1553), Regent of Scotland (1572-1580), Lord Chancellor of Scotland (1563-1566; 1567-1573), Lord High Admiral of Scotland (1568-1581), 1578
James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton (c. 1516 – 2 June 1581) was the last of the four regents of Scotland during the minority of King James VI. He was in some ways the most successful of the four, since he won the civil war that had been dragging on with the supporters of the exiled Mary, Queen of Scots. James Douglas was the second son of Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich, Master of Angus, and Elizabeth Douglas, daughter David Douglas of Pittendreich. He wrote that he was over 61 years old in March 1578, so was probably born around 1516. On 24 November 1572, a month after the death of Regent Mar, Morton, who had been the most powerful noble during Mar and Lennox's rule, at last reached the object of his ambition by being elected regent. As Regent of Scotland, Morton expected the support of England and Elizabeth I. On 31 December 1580, an associate of Lennox, James Stuart, Earl of Arran, son of Lord Ochiltree and brother-in-law of John Knox, had the daring to accuse Morton at a meeting of the council in Holyrood of complicity in the murder of Darnley, and he was at once committed to custody in Holyroodhouse and taken to Dumbarton Castle in the Lennox heartland. He was executed on 2 June 1581.
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