Joan Beaufort

Queen Mother of James II of Scotland

Joan was the eldest daughter of John Beaufort, Earl of Kent. She was seen by James, son of Robert III, king of Scotland, while he was detained a prisoner in the Tower of London, and he fell passionately in love with her. On his release in 1423, after nineteen years’ captivity, he married Joan and went with her to Edinburgh, where they were crowned, May 22, 1424. James then immediately commenced that vigorous administration which had become necessary through the bad government of his predecessors. In 1430, Joan became the mother of James, afterwards James II of Scotland.

Joan possessed a strong influence, which she always exercised on the side of mercy and gentleness. In 1437, the queen received information of a conspiracy formed against the life of her husband, the head of which was Sir Robert Graham, and hastened to Roxburgh, where the king then was, to warn him of the danger. Not being well supported by his associates, Graham, who was actuated partly by personal and partly by political motives, was baffled, imprisoned and banished and his estates seized. In the highlands, whither he had fled, he formed new plans. The king immediately took refuge with his wife in the Dominican abbey near Perth; but the conspirators, having bribed a domestic, found their way into the room. The queen threw herself between then and her husband, but in vain; after receiving two wounds she was torn from James I, who was murdered February 21, 1437. James had made an heroic resistance, though at last he begged his life of the assassin, Graham.

Joan married a second time, James Stuart, called the Black Knight, son of Lord Lorae, to whom she gore a son, afterwards Earl of Athol. She died in 1446, and was buried in Perth, near the body of the king, her first husband. Her life exemplified many womanly virtues, a serene dignity, and a surpassing courage.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.