Most important and powerful Douglases in History

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Archibald Margaret, Countess of Lennox  Sir Alec Douglas-Home   


Who were the Most important and powerful Douglases in History?


1.  Sir James Douglas - the Good Sir James. (The real creator of the dynasty - Bruce’s most important lieutenant – Barbour considered that after Bruce and Wallace he was the most important historical Scot).  These three, restored Scotland as a nation).


2.  Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas  Duke of Touraine  (French Royal Dukedom).  He had more power than the Scottish King.  He was awarded the Duchy of Touraine at a time when France was 4 times the size of England!. Douglas power was now on a European scale. A Douglas marriage outranked that of a Royal Stewart.


3.  Lady Margaret Douglas – only legitimate child of 6th Earl of Angus (She should have inherited the English Throne in her own right instead of Elisabeth 1st, who was illegitimate).  She was born in England and thus was eligible.  Mary Queen of Scots, the other claimant (who was both Margaret’s daughter in law and niece), was born in Scotland and was therefore a foreigner and ineligible.  Margaret’s grandson (Mary Queen of Scots’ son), did become James 1st of England (6th of Scotland).  Margaret’s husband’s family (Lennox) were in close line of succession in Scotland.


4.  George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus (The Stewart line of Kings would likely have fallen and been replaced by 9th Earl of Douglas had he given the Douglas Earl his support.  He and his allies defeated the 9th (last ) Earl of Douglas’s brothers at Arkinholme.  Consolidated the Red Douglas dynasty. Replaced Black Douglases and succeeded as Chief of the House).


5.  James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensbury  Lord High Commissioner (brought about Union between Scotland and England).  Awarded an additional Dukedom by his grateful Monarch – Queen Anne.


6.  James Douglas-Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton. (Led opposition to Union and possibly might have become a protestant King of Scotland, if the Union had not taken place).


7.  Sir Alec Douglas-Home  (Lord Home of the Hirsel, formerly 14th Earl of Home and Lord Douglas of Douglas).  UK Prime Minister 1964.  His son holds his ancient titles.


8.  James Douglas -The Regent Earl of Morton (An Angus Douglas – a Morton only through marriage). Controlled Scotland and helped overthrow Mary, Queen of Scots. Executed for involvement in Darnley’s death.


9.  Archibald the Grim - 3rd Earl of Douglas  (Consolidated Black Douglas power – father of Duke of Touraine – Royal marriages for his son and daughter).


10. Archibald Douglas - Bell the Cat 5th Earl of Angus (broke the power of King James 3rd when he hanged his favourites).


11. Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.  Married  Margaret Tudor, (oldest child of Henry 7th of England), Dowager Queen of Scotland.   Father of Lady Margaret Douglas.  Controlled Scotland during childhood of James 5th.


12. James the Gross - 7th Earl of Douglas (retrieved the family’s fortune after the disaster of the murder of the 6th Earl of Douglas and his young brother. Had 5 sons who had the power and capability for one of them to have become King).


13. William Douglas,  1st Earl of Douglas and Mar (consolidated The Good Sir James’s power.  He controlled 3 Earldom’s and was an outside contender for the Crown after the death of King David Bruce).


14. William, 8th Earl of Douglas  Lieutenant General of Scotland.  Murdered by King James 2nd.  He (or his brother James 9th Earl), might have replaced King James 2nd.


15. James, 9th (and last) Earl of Douglas (See George Douglas 4th Earl of Angus above).  Found exile in England after  Battle of Arkinholme was lost.  His ultimate death, after capture in Scotland, (surprisingly in his bed) marked the end of the direct line of Black Douglases.


16. Archibald Douglas, Guardian of Scotland (The Good Sir James’s brother). Killed leading Scottish Army at Halidon Hill.


17. William Douglas,  Lord of Liddesdale  (Founder of the Dalkeith/Morton Douglas dynasty). Prominent in restoring Scottish independence after Edward Balliol invasion..


18. Sholto Douglas,  Baron Douglas of Kirtleside - Marshal of the RAF.  Commander, the British Zone of Occupation in Germany after World War 2. (Ultimately of Queensberry descent).


19. Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton.  At height of 2nd World War, Hitler’s Deputy - Rudolf Hess flew to Scotland to try to meet the Duke who he thought could arrange Peace Talks.  The Duke was the joint first man to fly over Everest.


20. William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry.  Raised to a Dukedom by his own ability.  Lord High Treasurer of Scotland.  Built Drumlanrig Castle. He and his son superseded the Angus Douglases (Marquess of Douglas and finally Duke of Douglas, who were the Heads of the House of Douglas) in real power.



Contributed by Norman Douglas



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Last modified: Sunday, 02 June 2019