In the early hours of 10th September 1513, the battle weary English soldiers awoke amongst the dead on Branxton Hill. Around them were strewn the bodies of over 7,000 Scots and amongst them lay King James IV of Scotland. On the small eminence that marked the Scottish right called Pace Hill lay the bodies of Earls of Lennox and Argyll surrounded by their retinue. They counted amongst the nine earls, fourteen lords of parliament and seventy nine gentry that had been killed. The majority of the ruling class of Scotland lay awaiting burial. Another 20,000 frightened fugitives choked the roads back to Edinburgh where the people of the city prepared to face the English onslaught. The council ordered the streets to be cleared of mourners and suggested they go to the kirks to pray for the safe return of their King. They then made plans to build new defences  (later to become known as 'The Flodden Wall') around the unprotected part of the city and prepare for the inevitable English arrival.

Legend has it that Queen Margaret heard news of the defeat whilst keeping watch for her husband's return from the Bower at Linlithgow Palace. She felt no shock or remorse on the news of the defeat as she had already predicted her husband’s death some months before. Now was time to act to ensure the safety of the new king. She was 23 years old, a relatively mature age to take on the role of her husband yet her foresight had given her time to plan. Her first thoughts were to move the court from the path of the oncoming English. She arranged for her belongings to be loaded into carts and then before they were ready to go, she rode to Stirling. With her was her 17month old son James, soon to be crowned James V

She wasted no time in calling together the remains of the Scottish council on the 19th September, declared herself the King’s lawful guardian in accordance with her husband’s wishes and set the date for James’s coronation for the 21st September in the Chapel Royal in Stirling Castle. She also called for a general council to arrange for the defence of the country and by 26th November they met again to invite John Stuart , Duke of Albany, son of James III’s younger brother and convicted traitor, to be Governor of Scotland in the King’s minority. Messengers were immediately sent to France to recall Albany.