Janet Kennedy

Janet Kennedy (c. 1480 – c. 1545), was a Scottish noble, the first daughter of John Kennedy, 2nd Lord Kennedy and Lady Elizabeth Gordon. She is best known as the mistress of King James IV of Scotland.


Janet came from Scottish nobility: through her father, she was a great-great-granddaughter of King Robert III wheres her mother was the daughter of Alexander Gordon, 1st Earl of Huntly. She is believed to have first been married to Alexander Gordon circa 1493. They may have had a daughter.

By 1497, Janet was the mistress of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus ("Bell the Cat"), with whom she had a daughter, Mary. They also may have been married, though she was never described as his Countess.

She attracted the attention of King James IV around 1497. She had three children with the king. They included James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, Margaret and Jane Stewart.

The King had a number of mistresses, but this appears to have been his longest relationship, which continued even after his marriage to Margaret Tudor. After James IV's marriage by proxy, he met Janet at Bothwell Castle in April 1503, then she was sent to Darnaway Castle in August just before Margaret arrived.[1]

It is not clear whether she is the same as the "Janet bair ars" who received gifts from the king in 1505–12.[2]

She also had relationships with two other men, one of whom was John Ramsay, 1st Lord Bothwell whom she married in 1505. Two of her partners died at the Battle of Flodden.

  1. Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 2 (1900), xxxiii, 297
  2. McDougall p 286
  • Lundy, Darryl (7 May 2008). "Janet Kennedy". thePeerage.com. pp. Person Page – 10937. Retrieved 2 September 2008.


Barnes, Ishbel Janet Kennedy Royal Mistress
MacDougall, Norman James IV of Scotland

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