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Madeleine of Valois
Madeleine de Valois by Corneille de la Haye
Queen consort of Scots
Tenure 1 January - 7 July 1537
Spouse James V of Scotland
Father Francis I of France
Mother Claude, Duchess of Brittany
Born 10 August 1520(1520-08-10)
St. Germain-en-Laye
Died 7 July 1537 (aged 16)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Burial Holyrood Abbey

Madeleine of Valois (also known as Magdalene of Valois; 10 August 1520 – 7 July 1537) was a French princess who became Queen consort of Scots as the first spouse of James V of Scotland.

Madeleine was born at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, the fifth child and third daughter of King Francis I of France and Claude, Duchess of Brittany (daughter of King Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany). Very frail from birth, she grew up in the warm and temperate Loire Valley region of France, rather than at Paris, as her father feared that the cold would destroy her delicate health. By her sixteenth birthday, she had contracted tuberculosis.

Despite this, she sparked the interest of the visiting Scottish King, James V, who arrived in France in 1536, seeking a bride who would both strengthen political ties between Scotland and France and would also bring a large dowry that would help the virtually bankrupt Scottish coffers. James V, smitten with the delicate young princess, asked her father for her hand in marriage. Citing her illness and the harsh climate of Scotland, which he feared would prove fatal to be his daughter's already failing health, Francis I initially refused to permit the marriage. James V then temporarily turned his attention to another potential bride, Marie de Guise, but abandoned his courtship of her when he saw Madeleine again at a court ball.

He approached Francis I for Madeleine's hand again, and despite his reservations and nagging fears, Francis I reluctantly granted permission to the marriage when Madeleine made her interest in marrying James very obvious. The pair married on 1 January 1537 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in an act which Francis I and James V hoped would renew and strengthen the "Auld Alliance" between Scotland and France [1]. Francis I also provided Madeleine with a very generous (and much needed) dowry, which considerably boosted the Scottish treasury.

After months of festivities and celebrations, the couple left France for Scotland in May 1537. By this time, Madeleine's health had deteriorated even further and she was very sick when the royal pair landed in Scotland. On 7 July 1537, a few short weeks later (and a month before her 17th birthday), Madeleine died in her husband's arms at Edinburgh, Scotland.

Queen Madeleine was interred in Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh. Less than a year after her death, her husband married the widowed Mary of Guise, the woman he had previously wooed and who had attended his wedding to Madeleine.


Scottish royalty
Preceded by
Margaret Tudor
Queen consort of Scots
1 January - 7 July 1537
Succeeded by
Mary of Guise


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