Lord Archibald (Stewart) Douglas

When the Duke of Douglas named his nephew, Archibald Stewart, his successor, young Archibald was pulled out of great poverty to great wealth in a very short period of time. He also found himself embroiled in a prolonged lawsuit with the Douglas-Hamiltons which called into question the legitimacy of his birth. 

Archibald did come into this world under suspicious circumstances. At the time of his birth his mother, Lady Jane Douglas, was 50 years of age. At that point in history it was quite unusual for a woman of 50 to give birth, much less to twins. She had not married until quite late in life and when she did so it was only for the stated reason of giving an heir to the House of Douglas. 

She and her husband, Sir John Stewart, moved to Aix-la-Chapelle, France soon after their marriage and there Lady Jane found herself to be pregnant. It would be assumed that a woman of such advanced years, pregnant for the first time, would take great care and settle down in comfort to await the birth. Lady Jane, however, abruptly moved from Aix-la-Chapelle to Paris in the eighth month of her pregnancy accompanied only by her husband and a maid. Supposedly this was to place her under the care of the best doctors in France. In the end the doctor who delivered the babies could never be found nor could the woman who was purported to have owned the house in which the births took place. 

Even though twins were reported in letters, the couple returned to Rheims in July, 1748 with only one infant. When questioned about the other baby it was said he was left in the care of the doctor. It wasn't until November, 1749 that the couple, again in the company of the same maid, returned to Paris to retrieve their son. 

Interestingly, it was later found that there had been two kidnappings in Paris in that period of time, one in July, 1748 and another in November, 1749. Witnesses claimed, in both cases, that the baby boys were carried off by a Lady, a Gentleman and their maid. This was enough to convince the court, albeit in a very close decision, to award the Douglas properties to the Duke of Hamilton. Archibald appealed to the British House of Peers who overturned the court's decision on the basis of the deed drawn up by the late Duke of Douglas and awarded Archibald the Douglas estates. The marquessate, however, stayed with the Duke of Hamilton. Archibald took the name of Douglas and married the daughter of the Duke of Montrose. 

In 1796 he received the title Lord Douglas from King George III.