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King James II of Scotland (1437 - 1460)

Name: King James II of Scotland
Father: James I, King of Scotland
Mother: Joan Beaufort
Relation to Charles III: 15th great-grandfather
House of: Stewart
Born: Oct 16, 1430 at Holyrood
Ascended to the throne: February 21, 1437 aged 6 years
Crowned: March 25, 1437 at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh
Married: Mary of Gueldres, July 3, 1449
Children: 4 sons & 2 daughters
Died: August 3, 1460, killed in a cannon explosion at the siege of Roxburgh, aged 29 years, 9 months, and 17 days
Buried at: Holyrood abbey, Edinburgh
Succeeded by: his son James III

James II was just 6 years old when he succeeded to the throne following the murder of his father. He was nicknamed ‘Fiery Face’ after a large birthmark on his face.

He was crowned at Holyrood Abbey ending the tradition since Kenneth MacAlpin of crowning at Scone. During his minority three rival families, William Crichton of Edinburgh, Alexander Livingstone of Stirling and William Douglas, fought for control. When James took over power of king he had Livingstone arrested, and is said to have personally killed William Earl of Douglas when he invited him in February 1452 for negotiations at Stirling castle.

Having taken control of the warring factions, James created new earldoms and set about organising central government and introduced central taxation. The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451.

He successfully played the Lancastrians and Yorkists in England against each other, and in 1460 besieged Roxburgh with a large army and iron cannons newly imported from Flanders. Standing too close to a cannon which exploded he was fatally struck and killed by flying metal.

Timeline for King James II of Scotland

Year Event
1437James II becomes king aged 6 years
1440Regents Douglas and Livingston struggle for power culminating in the 'Blach Dinner' at Edinburgh Castle during which William 6th Earl of Douglas was dragged out and executed.
1449James marries Mary of Gueldres, niece of the Duke of Burgundy
1451Establishment of the University of Glasgow.
1457James II decrees that football and golf are banned to encourage archery practice
1460King James II killed by an exploding cannon at the siege of Roxburgh Castle