James II, Blood on the Page

The life of James II King of Scots (1430-1460) was punctuated by murders so bloody they’ve passed into legend. After his father was stabbed to death in a sewer, young James was taken from his mother’s custody and put under the ‘care’ of self serving guardians. They slaughtered a pair of teenage dinner guests, perceived as rivals for the throne, in front of seven year old James, despite his cries for mercy. Years later history was to repeat itself in the notorious black dinner, but this time it was James who was wielding the knife.

My fifteen minute essay on James II was broadcast on Radio 3, on Tuesday 5th October at 11pm. You can listen again here

The essay is one of three on the Stewarts produced by Louise Yeoman for BBC Radio 3 and which will be broadcast next week.

James’ story helped inspire Sir Walter Scott in Tales of a Grandfather. You might also like to check out Allan Massie’s recent book, The Royal Stuarts




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