Portrait of James IV (1473-1513), King of Scotland (1488-1513), Regency (1488-1494)
James IV (17 March 1473 – 9 September 1513) was the King of Scotland from 11 June 1488 to his death. He assumed the throne following the death of his father, King James III in the Battle of Sauchieburn, a rebellion in which the younger James played an indirect role. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended in a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden, where he became the last monarch not only from Scotland, but from all of Great Britain, to be killed in battle. James was the son of King James III and Margaret of Denmark, probably born in Stirling Castle. As heir apparent to the Scottish crown, he became Duke of Rothesay. In 1474, his father arranged his betrothal to the English princess Cecily of York, daughter of Edward IV of England. His father was not a popular king, facing two major rebellions during his reign, and alienating many members of his close family, especially his younger brother Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany. His pro-English policy was also unpopular, and rebounded badly upon him when the marriage negotiations with England broke down over lapsed dowry payments, leading to the invasion of Scotland and capture of Berwick in 1482 by Cecily's uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in the company of the Duke of Albany. When James III attempted to lead his army against the invasion, his army rebelled against him and he was briefly imprisoned by his own councillors in the first major crisis of his reign. James IV's mother, Margaret of Denmark, was apparently more popular than his father, and though somewhat estranged with her husband she was given responsibility for raising their sons at Stirling Castle, but she died in 1486. Two years later, a second rebellion broke out, where the rebels set up the 15-year-old Prince James as their nominal leader. They fought James III at the Battle of Sauchieburn on 11 June 1488, where the king was killed, though several later sources claimed that Prince James had forbidden any man to harm his father. The younger James took the throne and was crowned at Scone on 24 June. However he continued to bear intense guilt for the indirect role which he had played in the death of his father, he decided to do penance for his sin. For the rest of his life, he wore a heavy iron chain cilice around his waist, next to the skin, each Lent as penance, adding extra ounces every year.
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