STEWART, Annabella Princess of Scots 2 3
- Born: About 1427
- Marriage (1): GORDON, George 2nd Earl of Huntly, Chancellor of Scotland before 10 March 1460 1
- Marriage (2): Louis of Savoy in 1447 1
- Died: 27 June 1509, Roxburgh Castle, Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland 1
Annabella married George GORDON 2nd Earl of Huntly, Chancellor of Scotland, son of Alexander GORDON 1st Earl of Huntly and Elizabeth CRICHTON, before 10 March 1460.1 (George GORDON 2nd Earl of Huntly, Chancellor of Scotland was born about 1439 and died on 8 June 1501 in Stirling Castle, Scotland 3.)
SECOND MARRIAGE AND OFFSPRING OF GEORGE GORDON
J.M.Bulloch outlines the traditionally held view about the marriages of the 2nd Earl of Huntly:
"Sir William Gordon, first of the House of Gight, was the third son of George, second Earl of Huntly (died 1500), by his second wife, Princess Annabella Stuart, daughter of James I. of Scotland. She had been married to Lewis, Count of Geneva, son of Lewis, Duke of Savoy, but the marriage was dissolved owing to the intrigues of the French King. She married Huntly in 1459, and was divorced from him under Papal law in 1471." (Gight)
George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly, obtained a divorce from Annabella Stewart, his high-born second wife, about 1466, and then an annulment on 24 July 1471 on the basis of Annabella of Scotland's consanguinity with Elizabeth Dunbar.
Before her marriage to George Gordon Annabella was married to Louis of Savoy, Count of Geneva in 1447. In 1456 this marriage was annulled, it is said at the request of Charles VII of France. there were no children.
Some authorities credit as many as nine children to Annabella Stewart and George Gordon. Given Annabella's history, briefly outlined above, and in particular the relatively short number of years the couple were married before divorce, it is difficult to accept this scenario. The mores of the time, fixated on male heirs ensuring succession, would hardly have led to great anxiety about mere consanguinity to end a very fertile marriage that was politically advantageous. The aim surely was to legitimate sons already born outside of marriage?
From secondary sources, it seems Elizabeth Hay was the mistress of George Gordon during his marriage to Annabella Stewart.
"He then married, thirdly, his mistress, Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of William Hay, 1st Earl of Erroll, and swore a solemn oath to have no 'actual delen' with the lady until after they were married."
The ostensible reason for annulment of Gordon's marriage to Annabella may have been consanguinity or affinity, but this does not necessarily mean the actual reason was such. More likely might be either Annabella's infertility, or her failure to provide a male heir. In addition, the scandal of Gordon's unfaithfulness to a wife so close to the Scottish throne, possibly running a second household and family that embarrassed her, would determine that serious action needed to be taken.
If Elizabeth Hay actually had produced male children during her time as mistress, George Gordon would have had an incentive to have his marriage to Annabella annulled. The birth dates, therefore, of the children born to Elizabeth Hay while George Gordon was still married to Annabella, would be within the years of his marriage to the Scottish princess. This obviates the objection, for example that Alexander would have been too young to hold positions as a member of parliament as well as being one of the Lords of the Articles in 1485.
What has not been considered by some in this discussion is the status awarded to such children by Canon Law. Canon Law still considered any children born within the period of the marriage to be legitimate, even after their parents' marriage was annulled. In addition, unlike common law, it legitimated children born before their parents' marriage once the marriage took place. Thus all of George Gordon's children were legitimate. This fact would, no doubt, have increased Gordon's desire to legitimise his sons by marriage to Elizabeth.
Finally, no doubt many descendants of the 2nd Earl of Huntly, George Gordon, would be inclined to minmise the 'scandal' surrounding their ancestors' living arrangements, and claim high birth where they could.
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Annabella next married Louis of Savoy in 1447.1 (Louis of Savoy was born about 1425.)
"She married, firstly, likely very young, Louis of Savoy, in 1447. In 1458 they separated, divorced and the marriage was annulled. There were no children recorded from this marriage."
from Wikitree 1