Margaret Tudor: The Truth About Henry VIII's Sister

Born at Westminster Palace in 1489, Margaret Tudor didn't need a silver spoon in her mouth because, according to biographer Sarah-Beth Watkins, the infant princess was baptized in a silver font "lined with fine linen cloth of Rennes." While it takes a village to raise most children, for Margaret, it took a villa. She slept in an oak cradle with a "canopy of cloth and gold." Her caretakers included a personal governess, a nurse, two women tasked with rocking her cradle, and a "day-wife."

Of course, having a single day-wife sounds like nothing compared to the excesses of Margaret's younger brother, Henry VIII, who had six wives and four dudes whose job description included wiping the non-baby Henry's soiled butt. Her spoiled brat of a brother not only went overboard at the altar; he also spoiled Margaret's marriage by killing her husband.

Henry trimmed the family tree

According to Town and Country, at age 14, Margaret married the 30-year-old James IV of Scotland because the past was a minefield of nightmares. She would give birth to six of his children, five of whom didn't live to see their second birthday. She would experience more loss at the hands of Henry VIII, who had a penchant for bloodshed that took the form of tens of thousands of executions and a series of expensive wars. Scotland was supposed to be on the Do-Not-Brawl list. Per the BBC, in 1502 England and Scotland signed the Truce of Perpetual Peace, and when Margaret and James exchanged vows, that should have strengthened the bond between the two lands.

However, James landed himself in hot water — possibly even a lake of fire — by backing Scotland's centuries-long ally France during war with the Papacy. James ended up being excommunicated and Henry, still a staunch ally of the Catholic Church at the time, ended up invading France in 1513. James died fighting his brother-in-law's forces, and his body was left to rot in a monastery.

When the cat's away, the mice will play kingmaker

After the death of her husband Margaret spent a brief stint as the Queen Regent of Scotland, per Town and Country. But then she secretly married the Earl of Angus, angering the Scottish Parliament. She and her new hubby, Archibald Douglas, were considered England-loving traitors, a perception that wasn't helped by Margaret sharing state secrets with Henry, according to Britannica. In 1514, Margaret was deposed and replaced by John Stewart, the Duke of Albany. She would maneuver her way back from exile about 11 years later.

Margaret and James' only surviving child, James V, was the heir to the Scottish throne. In 1525, she made her move. While Stewart was away, she played kingmaker, having her son instated as reigning king. A power struggle with her husband, Douglas ensued, but the shrewd Margaret won. She died in 1542. Decades later, her grandson James VI would unite Scotland and England.